dimanche 17 février 2019

Not All Adjustments Are Equal - Good Adjustments Serve the Mechanics & Alignment of the Body

Not All Adjustments Are Equal

Good Adjustments Serve the Mechanics & Alignment of the Body

As you learn adjustments, it’s important to understand that some adjustments are more effective than others. Every adjustment is not a good adjustment, and so you are allowed to be cautious and discerning when choosing which adjustments make in the studio. 
As a practitioner you’ve likely had a stellar adjustment that changed your life or the life of your practice and you’ve also likely experienced adjustments that have turned you off physically or emotionally. Adjustments can make or break a student’s experience, so you must exercise extra care in your delivery and technique.

 The Fundamentals of a Good Adjustment 
A good adjustment starts with an understanding of the fundamentals of a pose and then serves to further these fundamentals. This means:
 1. The adjustment serves the mechanics of the pose 
In every pose the body channels dynamic forces that help sustain what appears to be a static shape. For example, in order to execute strong standing postures, it is helpful to draw energy up the standing leg to support the pose. Thus we can think of the “mechanics of the pose” as the tension of opposites (also known as tensegrity) within the body that help to support the structure of each shape. The job of an adjustment is to assist and enhance these natural mechanics rather than work against them. This includes the pose itself as well as how  students enter and exit the pose and move through vinyasa sequences.
 2. The adjustment serves the alignment of the pose 
Simply giving verbal cues on alignment often doesn’t inform the student’s body and actions as well as an adjustment can. When we physically show students how to do a posture properly in a way that is safe and effective, they gain an internal imprint of the alignment of the posture, and can more readily replicate it in the future. The benefits of proper alignment are not just safety, but also to fine tune proprioceptive awareness in students and help them access subtler nuances of alignment as they move more deeply into the postures.
 3. The adjustment serves the anatomy of the body 
The body’s anatomy is largely fixed, and when we have a good grasp of how the joints, muscles and structures move and support one another, we can better understand how to adjust bodies in a way that compliments the body’s natural structures and places no undue force on joints or tissues.
 4. The adjustment serves the highest mental and emotional well-being of the student
 Not everyone is ready or interested in being touched physically. That’s okay! Many students have various reasons for not wanting to be touched, and space must be given to still engage the student in a way that is not physical. There are many ways to connect to students: through the breath, with a smile, by pointing to the mat to show them where to go, or even by demonstrating on your own body the adjustment that would create freedom in theirs. Be open to all the ways to connect with students.
 Ideally we strive to make every adjustment fit these basic parameters, helping to ensure safety and a good experience for every student we interact with. Our common sense, knowledge of anatomy and even personal experience will help us determine which adjustments to add to our repertoire. As we hone our adjustment techniques and develop a variety of adjustments for our teaching tool kit, we must keep in mind the importance of always being ready to learn new ideas, shelve old ideas that no longer work, and maintain one of the yogi’s best qualities – flexibility.

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