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Adjust or Assist?

This weekend was really the most interactive weekend so far.

Students were learning the art of adjustments, both verbally and as hands on.

I feel this is where the Yoga really comes into play, the union of the student and the adjuster.

They are based on continuous focus and awareness of the relationship between yourself and your students.

As a student from Yoga training, it takes time, patience and practice to grow as a teacher. Even the most experienced teachers continually learn through their students, as well as ongoing study.

As a Yoga teacher, we should be aware that most individuals are coming to Yoga for Santosha, or contentment. We, as teachers, can only help them to find that inner contentment, by teaching them acceptance, and offering sufficient modifications to the novice practitioner, in order to avoid judgement, injury, and feelings of failure.

In our fast paced life, there is already too much pressure to succeed. 

Mobile technology has produced a situation whereby we all multi-function and feel we have to respond immediately.

Many of us have lost the ability to be in the moment and just enjoy things for what they are just now without judgement.

Stress is now an epidemic, causing more conditions and illnesses than ever before.

More and more people are turning to practices such as Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness, to help combat the effects of stress. 

As Mindfulness instructor and author puts it in his definition of Mindfulness, ''paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally''.

With this in mind, I prefer an adjustment to be called an ''Assist''. This clearly demonstrates how the entire process is about the conscious connection between the student and the instructor.

Even though I can demonstrate these hands on adjustments which follow guidelines of both physical and energetic alignment, and trying to find the focus and shape of the asana, we are all anatomically unique. 

Carefully thought out verbal assisting, and continually observing can often offer considerable improvement. Only when students are sure that no more can be offered verbally, do they move on to physical adjustments.

The skill of a teacher is to provide modifications to allow the student to approach the key alignment of the asana. The teacher then decides what actions to take to move deeper into the position without losing the alignment.

This needs to be delivered with hands which are confident in what they are doing in order to build confidences in the student/teacher relationship.

It was wonderful to watch the students working in pairs and moving with more confidence as the day progressed. Little by little ,and through these integral stages of learning, I feel my students beginning to grasp the art of assisting.