When holding postures for a relatively long duration, you can introduce a variety of instructions to cue a deeper refinement. In our Asana Labs, we will cover specific alternatives you can offer to students in modifying asanas, including adaptations and use of props to accommodate physical limitations and injuries as well as exploration of more challenging variations.
DEEPER REFINEMENT CUES
Once students are in an asana, observe and instruct from there, based on what they are doing. Whenever possible, offer your assistance with sensitivity to why the students may not be achieving what you are asking them to do. Remember the students relative attentiveness, understanding, body intelligence, muscle strength and flexibility, bone structure, and other factors will result in tremendous variation in how different students appear in the same asana.
If a student/s is doing a pose in a way that might hurt them, give a general verbal correction first. You may need to give the same instruction in different ways. Get them to wiggle, move around to see whether some slight or greater adjustment creates the sensations they are after. Remember, it doesn’t matter what they look like, as long as they’re experiencing no pain.
Hopefully most of the students will adjust. If the instruction doesn't result in the changes you want to see, give more specific instructions, being clear in directing instructions to the whole class or individual student. If individual, either move to a closer proximity to the target student, try to make eye contact with them or say their name from a distance to ensure the specific instruction is for that student only. Ideally, you would give more individualised verbal cues quietly to just that student.
Practical : adjust students verbally
BALANCED ALIGNMENT CUES
Asanas are always alive, evolving with every breath. As you guide students to tune in to what they feel in each asana, they have the opportunity to explore the deepening of their experience in it. Encourage and guide this self reflective process - micro moving, incorporating different parts of their bodies in varying ways, stretching more or less, applying more or less effort, calming the breath, consciously awakening and moving energy.
When we offer cues such as; lengthen the tail bone under, some students will throw themselves out of alignment by overly tucking. We can help rectify this by offering cues that lead to balanced alignment considering both sides of the body.
Practical : give deeper refining instruction based on your intention
You can individualise instruction by adding touches of your personality, your likes/dislikes, tips on how you found most steadiness and ease. Use your own language, wether you use descriptive metaphors, add philosophy, explain the background of the pose.
Practical : Explore/Discuss how you like to do various postures and what you feel.