Intention: What is it that we want to communicate to the student in this moment?…and why?
Doing adjustments or assists while our students are practicing yoga can be beneficial in a number of ways as we’ll see below, but it’s important that we self-reflect and ask ourselves why we are doing the adjustment in the first place.
Positioning yourself relative to the person you’re adjusting is one place where good body mechanics show up. Depending on your own height and size, you will probably have to adapt your position in an adjustment to your student’s height and size. It’s easier to adapt if you are taller, because you can always bend your knees or kneel on the floor if the other person is shorter than you. It is more difficult to position yourself well when you’re vertically challenged and you want to adjust someone who is particularly tall. In this case, good body mechanics might mean a lighter touch and more verbal cues than physical adjustments.
At the heart of putting your hands on someone to adjust or assist them in a yoga posture is the idea of being aware of what you feel and sense when you touch them. The number one reason that students get injured by teachers is because the teacher was not aware of what they were feeling.
There is no better place to start discussing yoga adjustments than with what initially creates our desire to adjust or assist a student in a yoga posture.