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A few weeks ago I shared an experience I had at a local yoga studio here, where a (new) teacher was ninja adjusting me. You know, where they come up outta no where and are super aggressive about the adjustments, so I wanted to share my tips for adjustments if you're a teacher, or a student wanting to know what a good adjustment feels like. Feel free to leave your tips below in the comments!
- Leave your drama at the door. I am a firm believer that energy is contagious. I also believe that teaching yoga is so much more than sharing a sequence, but rather an exchange of energy and intentions. So before entering the studio, I take a few minutes to clear whatever I've got going on in my life that might distract from my teaching.
- Let people know at the beginning of class that you may adjust or assist. Often times there are people who are new to the yoga class environment and may not even know what an adjustment or an assist is, so it's nice to let people know what they are and that you may be giving them. Give people the option to non-verbally tell you they don't want to be adjusted. I like this because it takes the pressure off. Sometimes people just don't want to be touched. The reason doesn't matter of course, but people panic and then you've got students' who are a bit on edge about having to come up with a good reason for why they don't want your hands on you. I always said if I ever opened my own studio I would offer coasters that on one side or the other would indicate the student welcomes assists and adjustments.
- Talk it out. This goes hand in hand with number two, but if the student prefers not to be physically adjusted, you can verbally give them cues to help them out. That should work beautifully.
- Don't let ego get in the way. If a student prefers not to be adjusted, just let that go- who cares?! They're practicing the highest form of yoga which is honoring what they need. Their choice has nothing to do with you. (Unless you are a ninja adjuster, haha!)
- Step on the mat with love. Before I step on a student's mat, I acknowledge I'm entering a sacred space. This might be totally weird, but to me, walking on a student's mat is like entering a temple or a church. So I never want to just barge in. This goes back to that idea that energy is contagious.
- Make your presence known. And I don't mean pulling out your trumpet and announcing your presence like royalty. But be sure the student knows you're there by either quietly letting them know (if they aren't able to see you), or being in their peripheral line of vision. The last thing we want is to startle anyone. I actually have a very funny story about this that I'll share soon. Stay tuned. It is pee your pants funny.
- Warm up. Literally. Warm up those hands before placing your hands on a student because very little is worse than ice cold mitts on the ol' bod!
- Leave them better than you found them. This goes back to that idea that energy is contagious. Whenever I finish an adjust or an assist, I send a little love their way before I back off. I know that sounds crazy but it is what it is. I visualize a transfer of good vibes, compassion, love, whatever it is I feel like they could use more of, and then I step off the mat.
- Ask for feedback. "Let me know how this is," or "How does this feel?" are things I like to ask. I try to avoid, "Is this ok?" because it's a leading question. Of course they will say yes.
- Soak up more. The best teachers are the ones who keep learning, so whenever you can, attend classes and take note of how you're adjusted or how the others around you are adjusted or assisted. When you can, take a master class on adjustments and assists.
I'd love to know what your tips are! Let me know down in the comments below.
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