Day twelve of CorePower Yoga Teacher Training marks our halfway point of training! Time really does fly when you’re having fun. I also think it’s been flying by because I found something that has ignited my soul. Over the years, I’ve found that if i’m not 100% interested/excited about a hobby than it doesn’t really do much for me.
Day eleven was all about hands on assists and adjusts! If you’ve ever been to a CorePower Yoga class you probably remember them offering up hands on assists/adjusts at the beginning of class. Some people agree that it’s the assists (on top of the heat) that set CorePower Yoga apart from other yoga studios. I agree!
So, why do we offer assists and adjusts? Well, there are many reasons, but the main reason is for the safety and alignment of our students. The assists and adjusts don’t always have to be physical, in fact, there are four different types of assists:
- Directional (Chalkboard)
Verbal cues are just as they sound, verbal! The teacher walks around the room and briefly provides alignment changes by simply saying what to change (without touching). For example, relax your shoulders down your back. Reach your arms towards the front and back of the room, etc… Directional cues (also known as chalkboard) are when a teacher is near a student but uses their hands in the air behind the student to explain what they’re verbally saying. Imagine a teacher standing a few feet away from a student doing a regular sit up during core series. When the teacher cues “pretend there is a string pulling your chest closer to the ceiling.” As the teacher cues that, they would pretend they are pulling at a string for you (with a hand motion) to imagine lifting your chest higher off the ground. Physical is well… you guessed it… physical! The teacher would come up to the student and assist the student physical using their hands and body. An easy example would be mountain pose. The teacher would start from the ground up and press your heels into the ground. From there they might mention lengthening through the spine and relaxing shoulders down your back as they gently press yours shoulders away from your ears. Demoing postures with the students is another example of assists and adjusts. When giving a demo, the teacher typically heads to the front of the room or in a spot where everyone can see them and does the posture students will work on shortly after. They still cue the demo in cue formula (verb + your + body part + direction).
As a teacher, it’s important to make sure you’ve done the assist or adjusts prior to ever offering one to a student in class. Also, assists and adjusts can be intimate, so it’s important to do them correctly and ask for feedback after class. Students have the opportunity to opt out at the beginning of class, but our teacher said they RARELY see someone opt on. In fact, they said about every 1 in 7 classes they might see someone opt out. Students opt out of their own personal reasons, but ones we typically see are due to injury or illness. Again, CorePower Yoga is a judgmental free zone, so always do as you feel comfortable!
When we assist, we always make sure we are assisting in the directions of the posture’s energy lines. The energy lines in downward facing dog are up through the hips and down through the palms and heels. That being said, we might gently pull a student’s heels closer to the earth to extend the energy line as opposed to pushing their heels away from the ground. We would also pull the student’s hips up and back as opposed to down and forward. As for the hands, occasionally teachers will gently press your palms towards the earth just to feel grounded, but I’ve never had this assist done.
We also learned to rub our hands together as if we’re trying to start a fire (like two sticks) to give the student a heads up that we’re about to approach their space. We typically do this when they’re in a position where they might not be able to see us (savasana). You wouldn’t want to startle anyone; however, this happens sometimes as the student is oftentimes in a state of meditation.
Overall, this was a fun class! If you sign up for training, you may feel a little awkward because you’re practicing with classmates you might’ve just met, but don’t worry! Our teachers even mentioned that they were intimidated at first but now it comes natural. Plus, us trainees were talking the other day about how we wish we had more assists throughout class. Most people enjoy assists and adjusts because they help deepen stretches (especially in half pigeon or twisting postures). One last important thing to note is that just because a teacher is assisting or cueing you, it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong at all.
I am PASSIONATE to learn, grow, and share with the world around me.