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In my teaching, I find that the hands-on adjustment is one of the most magical parts of the yoga practice. Generally speaking, adjustments are the game of seasoned teachers, confident in their abilities, knowledgeable about anatomy, and studied in the delicate nature of subtle energetics. And this is how it should be. That said, by respecting a few basic principles, the non-teacher can begin to conjure the magic, simply and safely using adjustments to deepen their own understanding of each asana and to support their friends and family.
Touching someone is intimate! How you approach adjustments and assists is everything. The adjuster must be coming from a place of wanting to support and create ease in the practitioner. Get away from the judgmental mindset that you are fixing them, that they need your help, that they are wrong, and think more about how you can support their experience and take it to the next level. Err on the side of safety and ask for feedback. If you’re practicing on a friend, have them let you know how it felt, what could’ve felt better, and anything else they noticed about the experience. Slowly but surely, you’ll gain confidence in your hands and touch; what’s more, you’ll have a whole new point of view on your own practice. Here are some basic principles to keep in mind as you start to play around with a hands-on practice.