"Without touch, progress is very slow." - Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
- Always ask permission to touch.
- Offer verbal and visual cues prior to offering hands on.
- Consider asking the student to come partially/fully out and reset, rather than adjusting the whole.
- When offering hands on, ensure your posture is stable and comfortable.
- Work as proximally as appropriate.
- Pay attention to and reinforce the foundation of the asana.
- Explain what you are looking for and doing when giving assistance.
- Stay attuned to the students breath, stability and ease.
- Offer the assistance without attachment to a preconceived outcome. Adapt if necessary.
- As you give the adjustment keep checking back in with the student.
- Watch the response, including shifts in other parts of their body and signs of increased tension.
- Don't apply pressure to vulnerable joints, organs or injured areas.
- Synchronise your breath with student or cue breath with assist.
- Concentrate on what you are doing while staying attentive to the larger class.
- Release physical contact gradually to ensure the student is stable, especially in standing balances.
TYPES OF TOUCH
There is a magic to touch that is the very thing that draws many people to a yoga class in the first place. Through hands-on assists we have the potential to convey information clearly, directly, without words. Touch can accelerate progress. Types of touch which to use or avoid.
Directive / Emphasising
DEPTH OF TOUCH
Gentle, medium and strong touches all have their unique applications. Gentle touch moves the skin and provides clear and precise directional cues that indirectly guide the underlying tissue and muscles. The quality of touch must be direct, purposeful and clear, not distracting, confusing, annoying, or susceptible of misinterpretation as an uninvited caress. Gentle assists can give information, focus awareness, release skin tightness and impart confidence without intimidation. Medium touch moves not only skin, but also directly moves underlying muscle and tissues. Medium assists can provide a sense of support and thereby relax psychological and physical resistance. Strong touch moves skin, fascia, muscle, bone, organs and perceived limitations. Strong assists can guide skeletal alignment, inspire, create space and open up new physical and psychological range.
STYLES OF HANDS ON
PASSIVE - Allowing a student to find more ease, through massage / to help them find more of a passive stretch allowing them to deepen further into the pose.
ACTIVE - Manipulating or moving a student. Helping them rise into handstand by supporting their hips / placing their arm in a certain alignment.
RESISTANCE - You are used to offer them resistance allowing them to be more active in the pose. Ie in Warrior 2, they push their outside front knee into your hand opening the inner thigh.
PARTNER - Both get something out of the exercise ie. Partner A lies over Partner B's back in Childspose. Partner A gets a chest opener and Partner B gets the pressure and the deepening of the childs pose.
PRACTICE : (A 30MINS) Practice the different types of assists. (B 30MINS) Learn to feel how different bodies respond to your hands under various conditions relating to gravity, resistance and positioning. ie - Standing Fold, Seated Fold, Reclined Fold (legs in the air) / Reclined Pigeon, Pigeon, Standing Figure 4 Balance. (C 15MINS) Use varying amounts of pressure to understand unique application.
Discussion (D 15MINS) Working with new/experienced yogis / the opposite sex / trauma / injured / age groups.