Tips for Observing and Assisting Yoga Students - Aura Wellness Center

Tips for Observing and Assisting Yoga Students

assisting yoga studentsBy Avalon Hicks, Sangeetha Saran, and Faye Martins

How can we improve our skills in assisting yoga students? The first step is to reach a student where there is a fundamental need. Each student has unique reasons why he or she is in your class. The practice of yoga is useful for many aspects of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.


What are Students Looking For?

Yoga is known as a healthy and holistic practice. This ancient practice includes controlled breathing, meditation, and mantras. Students look forward to holding many different body postures to aid in relaxation and promote health benefits. Most importantly, students look for a place to belong. Teachers must make students feel welcome.

Bringing Benefits to the Public

Many benefits of yoga can include self-awareness, mental calmness, and even strength and flexibility. If you have been practicing yoga for some time and want to teach others there are some points that you need to keep in mind while you begin the road to teaching others about your practice.


Effective Teaching 

If you are new to teaching yoga there are several things to make note of in order to be an effective and helpful teacher. Firstly, you should realize that not everyone will absolutely love practice the way you do. Everyone learns the practice at their own pace.

Student Mindset

You know where the class is going, but students have no idea. In fact, students are trying to detox from a pressurized day. While you may teaching Vinyasa yoga, some students may wonder if they are in the right class, should they do laundry, or did they forget something else.


Your Approach

How you approach students’ learning is an important aspect to developing a relationship with them that you can build on as you go through the classes.  Assisting yoga students is not just making physical adjustments. You might be helping them in a conversation that takes place before, during, or after a class.

Verbal Guidance

Keep your vocabulary simple and speak slowly. Often students will be new to the practice. New students need to process techniques in simple terms rather than Sanskrit references. Speaking slowly and clearly will help your students remember what you are saying. Additionally, patient explanations aid students in performing the poses that they want to complete.

Work the Room

Leave your own mat when possible. Do not stay at the front of the class the entire time, but rather walk through your class. Offer suggestions to your students’ poses such as modifications or advanced moves when the poses allow. Remember that all of your students will progress through the poses at their own pace and may require modifications based on their own needs. Your students will thank you for the individualized attention you can give them during the class.


Teacher Preparation

Be sure to thoroughly practice new sequences that you want to do in class beforehand. You will want to be able to show the flow of movement properly and effortlessly for your class rather than not being prepared enough. Every teacher no matter what class they teach should be prepared. Part of being a yoga teacher is having your lesson plan, sequences, and poses determined before class.

Continue to Learn

Remember that even though you are the teacher, you will never stop learning. Keep in mind that your students can teach you something in every class. Be open to learning from them as often as they learn from you. Take other classes to learn from other teachers as well as teaching your own students. Try to learn about many different types of yoga so that you are open to many different styles for your students. Assisting yoga students is not a one way street, because you learn something in every class you teach.


Adjustments Require Practice

Practice up on your adjustments so that you are able to help your students no matter how seasoned they are at their practice. You will need to study anatomy more closely in order to understand them better for your students. Pair up with another teacher and perform adjustments on one another so you become familiar with hands-on experience before you begin classes.

Honest Relationships

Be open with your students. Try to help them learn how to connect with their inner-selves and find inner peace through yoga. Explain to them about your own practice and talk them through your own journey so they can see how you progressed as a student to teacher. Build up a rapport with them by letting them in and expressing your love for the practice. Let them know that yoga is an on-going journey. All teaching skills like assisting yoga students evolve over time.


© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

To see our selection of Yoga instructor courses and continuing education courses for specialized Yoga certification, please visit the following link.

Do you want to become a mindfulness meditation teacher?

Click here to see our online Yoga Nidra teacher training course.

Are you an experienced teacher looking for YACEP credits or continuing education?

Subscribe to Our Newsletter for Special Discounts and New Products

Related Resources


52 Essential Principles of Yoga Philosophy to Deepen your Practice

by Rina Jakubowicz


A Relaxing Way to De-stress, Re-energize, and Find Balance

by: Gail Boorstein Grossman


by B.K.S. Iyengar

TEACHING YOGA: Essential Foundations and Techniques

By Mark Stephens

Yoga Instructor Training: The Teacher Within

Four More Yoga Posture Safety Tips

Five Tips for Teaching Pregnant Yoga Students


Assisting Yoga Students Today

By Faye Martins and Jenny Park

Let’s explore the art of assisting yoga students. Whether you’re a seasoned teacher or just starting out on your yoga teaching journey, this is an essential skill that can take your practice and teaching to the next level. Assisting not only helps students deepen their poses but also builds trust and connection between you as a teacher and them as a student.

What is Assisting in Yoga Classes?

When it comes to yoga, there are many different ways that people can choose to get involved. For some, this means taking classes on a regular basis in order to perfect their practice. For others, this may mean teaching classes or working one-on-one with students in order to help them improve. In large classes, assistant teachers may be present for verbal or physical assists.

If you’re interested in becoming an assistant teacher, there are a few things you should know. First and foremost, assisting in yoga classes is all about helping the teacher create a safe and supportive environment for students to practice in. This means being attentive and aware of what’s going on around you at all times, and being able to step in when needed (whether that’s physically adjusting a student’s posture or simply offering words of encouragement).

Of course, being a good yoga assistant also requires having a strong understanding of the lesson plan, techniques, poses, and transitions used in class so that you can effectively assist students with them. This is an apprenticeship position for new teachers or interns. Most teachers are happy to provide guidance and support as you learn the ropes.


The Benefits of Physical Yoga Adjustments

There are many benefits of physical yoga adjustments for both the student and the teacher. For the student, it can help to improve alignment, increase range of motion, and deepen the breath. For the teacher, it can provide insight into how the student is moving and progressing in their practice.

Physical adjustments can also help to release tension in the body and allow for a deeper sense of relaxation. When students feel more comfortable in their practice, they are more likely to come back and continue their journey with yoga.

The Different Types of Student Learning Methods

There are three primary types of student learning methods: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Each type of learner requires a different type of instruction in order to be successful.

Visual learners need to see information in order to learn it. They often benefit from charts, graphs, and other visual aids. Auditory learners need to hear information in order to learn it. They often benefit from lectures, discussion groups, and audio books. Kinesthetic learners need to experience information in order to learn it. They often benefit from hands-on activities, field trips, and simulations.

It is important for instructors to be aware of the different types of learner so that they can provide the best possible instruction for each individual student.


How to Give Verbal Assists to Students

When you see a yoga student struggling with a pose, it can be tempting to just go over and adjust them into the correct position. But before you do that, it’s important to give them a verbal assist first. Here’s how:

1. Describe the correct alignment for the pose.

Before you adjust a student, take a step back and describe the correct alignment for the pose they’re struggling with. This will help them understand what they should be aiming for and give them a reference point to work from.

2. Offer specific suggestions.

Once you’ve described the correct alignment, offer specific suggestions on how they can adjust their own body to achieve it. For example, if they’re struggling with keeping their balance in tree pose, you might suggest that they shift their weight onto their left foot and bring their right foot up to rest on their ankle or calf.

3. Use positive language.

It’s important to use positive language when giving verbal assists, so that students feel encouraged rather than discouraged. For example, instead of saying “don’t fall out of the pose,” say “keep your core engaged.”

4. Be mindful of students’ individual needs.

Some students may need more or less guidance than others, so be mindful of each individual’s needs when giving verbal assists. If a student seems lost or frustrated, don’t hesitate to give them more detailed instructions or come over and physically adjust them into the best possible posture.

The Importance of Assisting Students

There are many reasons why assisting yoga students is important. For one, it helps the student to feel comfortable and to understand the poses and movements. It also helps the teacher to ensure that the student is doing the poses correctly and safely.

Additionally, assisting can help to build trust between the teacher and student. And finally, when students feel supported and cared for, they are more likely to continue practicing yoga and to recommend it to others.


Tips for Assisting Yoga Students

There are a few key things to remember when assisting yoga students in class. First, be sure to give instructions that are clear and concise. It can be helpful to demonstrate the pose before asking students to try it themselves. Secondly, be sure to offer modifications or variations for each pose, so that all students can find a way to practice that is comfortable for them. Finally, always be supportive and encouraging – let your students know that you believe in their ability to grow and change through their yoga practice.

Why Health Clubs Have Hands-Off Students Rules

There are several reasons for why health clubs have hands off students rules. The first reason is for the safety of the students. If a student were to get injured, it would be the health club’s responsibility to ensure that they are properly taken care of. Secondly, these policies protect the instructors from any potential liability. If an instructor were to touch a student inappropriately, it could open up the club to a lawsuit. Finally, these policies help to create a professional environment in which everyone can feel comfortable and respected.


Physical Assists and Sexual Harassment

Physical assists are an important part of many yoga classes, but they can also be a source of sexual harassment. It is important to be aware of the power dynamics at play when you are physically assisting someone, and to make sure that your actions are welcome and consensual.

There have been many reports of yoga teachers using their position of power to sexually harass or assault students. In some cases, this has happened during physical assists, when the teacher takes advantage of the student’s vulnerability.

If you are a yoga teacher, it is important to be aware of these issues and to create a safe environment for your students. Make sure that you only give physical assists when they are welcome and consensual, and that you respect your students’ personal boundaries. If you are a student, trust your instincts and speak up if you ever feel uncomfortable with the way a teacher is touching you.

Are Physical Assists Worth the Liability Risk?

There are a lot of different opinions on whether or not physical assists are worth the liability risk. Some people feel they are an essential part of the yoga experience, while others believe the risks outweigh the benefits.

Those who feel that physical assists are worth the risk typically believe they can help students improve their practice and deepen their understanding of yoga poses. When done correctly, physical assists can be a valuable tool for teachers to use with their students.

However, there is always the potential to go wrong when providing physical assistance. If a teacher is not careful, they could end up causing an injury to their student. This is why it’s crucial for teachers to know what they’re doing and only to provide assistance when it is genuinely needed.

It’s up to each teacher to decide whether or not they want to offer physical assistance to their students. There are pros and cons to both sides of the argument, so it’s ultimately a decision that each teacher will need to make based on their personal beliefs and experiences.



Adjustments and asanas have evolved over time. Assisting yoga students today can be a great way to support the growth of others while also deepening your own practice. Not only do you get to experience what it is like to share your passion with others, but you will also become more knowledgeable and confident in helping people reach their goals. If you’re interested in becoming an assistant for yoga classes, start by finding a studio or group that aligns with your style and values for a comfortable learning environment. With patience and commitment, you can become an invaluable part of any class or session!

5 thoughts on “Tips for Observing and Assisting Yoga Students”

  1. To assist effectively for yoga student you should try to learn about many different types of yoga so that you are open to many different styles for your students.

  2. Hi Dr Paul,
    I am a Yoga teacher/therapist and have read with interest some of your blogs.
    I live in the uk and work in palliative care…I would really like to start working more with our patients.. With issues such as fear..anxiety..pain..etc.

    • Hi Jerry, You should reach out to hospitals, physicians, and medical facilities in your area. They will be able to point you in the best direction for reaching out to patients. All the best, Paul

Leave a Comment

Your Cart