While physical adjustments are a very direct way to correct your students’ alignment and help them find more opening or release in a posture, they’re also a very personal experience. And because it’s downright impossible to know all of your students’ personal, cultural, and other boundaries when it comes to touch (not to mention the physical limitations that can potentially make your touch injurious), a number of teachers are taking a hands-off approach to adjustments in asana classes. Here, top yoga teachers share their go-to noncontact strategies.
1. Have your students use their own hands.
Getting familiar with our bodies’ imbalances and quirks can better inform our practice. “When I first started practicing Iyengar Yoga, the cues were so precise and detailed that I literally didn’t know how to do or feel them. So I started to take my hands to my own body to understand the engagement and alignment,” says Vinyasa yoga teacher Jason Crandell. By cueing a student to wrap her fingers around her lower ribs and gently twist her torso open in Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose), for example, or to place her hands on her sacrum to check if her hips are level in Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose), you actually prompt your student to experience the feel of your cues, says Crandell. These kinds of self-adjustments are particularly great for kinesthetic learners who do well with touch.
See also 8 Transformational Yoga Self-Assists & How to Do Them
See also The 10 Rules of Hands-On Adjustments for Yoga Teachers