Hands on/off Adjustments

Turns out people notice what you don’t do.

A regular to one of my yoga classes recently had knee surgery and when I asked how they’re feeling in their practice they said, “great, except in child’s pose... I didn’t mention it to you since you don’t give assists like that (deepening assists e.g. pushing on low back in child’s pose).”

Hands on adjustments in yoga or the lack there of is a form of communication and I think it’s important to know what you’re saying with them if you give them.

When I use to let people adjust me the assists we’re always about deepening the pose I was in - whether I needed/wanted it or not. Sometimes they were too much and I injured myself. As a teacher, I deemphasize going deeper so there’s nothing for me to push on. I don’t emphasize an aesthetic so there’s nothing for me to correct. I do focus on and foster things like interoception, finding, allowing and the personal power to arrive in your signature alignment. More studios are taking notice with some offering (yes/no) consent cards so students have a say in their experience on the mat. It was after learning more about adjustments and the complexities of consent culture that I decided they’re not central to my teaching. Touch can of course be healing and I realize some people love hands on adjustments. That’s great. I’m not trying to be your everything in the yoga studio. As I continue to redefine yoga with sustainable movement the less I need to “fix” or change someone’s yoga pose. My approach is to make more space for movement diversity.

Rare photo of me giving a down-dog push to a fellow yoga teacher friend who also knows her body very well.

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