500-hour yoga certification intensiveBy Faye Martins

Teaching yoga is an art. Your techniques will set you apart from others. You can endear yourself to your students with small details like your selection of music or the use of fragrant aromatherapy sprays or essential oils. However, your ability and the techniques used to engage students into improved postures is a way to create better classroom relationships. 

Debate over Teaching Yoga and Posture Awareness

Hands on or hands off assisting is another area where yoga instructors agree to disagree. Even though the majority of teachers participate in some sort of hands on interaction with students, others advocate shying away from adjustments. Proponents of hands off say that touching your students provides an external distraction, which prevents students from experiencing full awareness of their bodies.

Nevertheless, hands on yoga posture assisting is the most popular method used by teachers, and it does present an opportunity to interact with students.

Before putting hands on a student, always remember a few guidelines:

1. Ask if anyone has an injury or weak spot.

2. Never be overzealous. Adjustments should be gentle and slight.

3. Be clear what you are attempting to accomplish in the pose at the onset.

4. Make sure you are firmly anchored before engaging in an adjustment.

Reasons you may want to adjust a student:

1. You notice a student having difficulty moving into a pose.

2. A student looks wobbly and needs help finding their point of balance.

3. You see a hyperextended knee or elbow and want to help the student avoid injury.

4. A student appears to need emotional support and encouragement.

If you are new to teaching yoga, you should ease into physical adjustments. Start with small corrections, like turning a foot in that is pointing outward or slightly moving hips forward. You may gently help a student push their heels to the floor. If you have new or injured students in a class, you may assist them by offering them props and showing them how to engage in modified postures.

As a rule, most yoga students welcome slight adjustments. Still, you should be fully aware of their body language. If you feel them tense up or they seem uncomfortable, then ask them if the adjustment feels better or worse.

Never forget what is good for one is not good for all. By tuning into students on an individual level, you will be able to ascertain those who want to proceed on their own and those who would enjoy a little help.

© Copyright 2009 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

Faye Martins is a certified Yoga teacher and an exclusive author for Aura Wellness Center.

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