Hands-On Adjustments in Yoga Classes- Good or Bad?

Jan 4, 2024 | Yoga, Yoga Teacher | 0 comments

Hands-on adjustments in yoga are a controversial topic in yoga classes and teachers need to decide whether they will benefit their students.

Are hands-on yoga adjustments good or bad? Hands-on yoga adjustments are a controversial topic, some people love them & some people highly dislike them, both for good reason!

I personally love adjustments and thankfully have not been subjected to inappropriate touch in the yoga room. I know some people just don’t like to be touched for various reasons- past traumas, injuries, or they just plain don’t want someone else’s energy in their field. I get it!

Adjusting as a Teacher in Yoga Classes

Sometimes I even feel the same way as a teacher- I don’t want to adjust. In some classes, I adjust more than in others. It all depends on set, setting, & style. If it’s a crowded class with a lot of beginners, my goal is always to correct any unsafe alignments first. However, it’s also important for beginners to understand their mistakes and not feel singled out, so I try not to over-adjust them either.

If the class is smaller, chances of receiving adjustments are much more likely, but at the same time- I also have to be willing. I always check in with my energy before class. Touching other people has always made me a little nervous and it’s taken me years of practice as a yoga teacher to do what I do now- adjust others skillfully and teach them to do the same. Because let’s face it, if you adjust wrong, you can hurt someone or even yourself! Yes, even your posture is important when you adjust someone else!

I had to do a lot of mindset work to get out of my own way and become skillful at adjustments. First, I sought out teachers who adjust so I can receive adjustments regularly. Second, I watched countless videos, purchased books, and took courses on how to adjust. And then, in every class, I challenged myself to focus on 1-2 new adjustments every time until I got comfortable with them.

Challenge Yourself if You Want to Give Hands-On Adjustments in Yoga Classes

Learning to incorporate adjustments into your class flow is an art and takes practice. I also used to do this with the names of yoga poses in Sanskrit- challenge myself to say 1-2 new poses each class until I became fully competent.

Is adjustment less common in the West these days? I can’t say for certain since I’ve been living overseas for years now. I find it most often in the Ashtanga Mysore-style method which I mainly practice these days after spending 18 months in Mysore, India during the pandemic.

I am just curious as I teach so many Westerners in Asia, and I wonder how much they put adjustments to use. Regardless, adjustment is alive & well in Asia, and for every person who dislikes them, there is another having a breakthrough. I do think it is important as the teacher to let students know you will be adjusting & to honor those who do not wish to be touched/adjusted. All too often I have heard of teachers overstepping their boundaries on a power trip. I always keep my lines of communication open with my students and think of our relationship as like a conversation.


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