As part of teacher training, we are expected to do physical adjustments in each pose, preparing us for working with students in our classes. A lot of time is spent determining which adjustments are “appropriate” in every pose. Any discomfort one may feel with touching others or being touched was not considered, as this was a significant part of our training experience.
Throughout my personal practice of Yoga, I have suffered injuries from instructors doing these adjustments, as well as from other students who were put in a position to do partner poses and make physical adjustments to another student. To be fair, I have also received very helpful adjustments that gave me a better understanding of my alignment and extension.
Each instructor is different. At Simple Abundance Yoga, you will find some instructors who do quite a few physical adjustments throughout the class and others who rarely if ever do them. As for me, I will occasionally give students adjustments in child’s pose or savasana when I feel they need to bring breathing back to an even flow and relax. Once in a while, if a student does not fully understand my verbal adjustment, I will come by to do a physical adjustment to help the student understand the basic alignment in that pose, or if a student is in a dangerous position, I will personally come by to pull him/her out of the pose. Mostly, I feel that students know their bodies better than I and can determine, based on my verbal instruction and demonstration, where they feel most comfortable in each pose. In our Foundations classes, we discuss alignment in great detail and focus on finding “your pose” each time you practice, making self-adjustments based on your needs from moment to moment.
There are times and circumstances that you simply do not wish to be touched. At Simple
Abundance Yoga we honor your space and hope that you will place a pebble from the basket on the prop shelf in front of your mat to let the instructor know that you would prefer not to be adjusted in any physical way during your practice.
As you attend classes and workshops at other studios, you will encounter various styles of adjustments. Be sure to let the instructor know if you have any physical or emotional issues making touch uncomfortable or painful for you. Always remember, this is YOUR practice.
Wendy Gilliland, E-RYT
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(As taken from the Simple Abundance Yoga March Newsletter)