How to Assess Yoga Touch in the Classroom- 4 Steps

Assess Yoga Touch in the Classroom

How to Assess Yoga Touch in the Classroom

How to assess yoga touch in the classroom? As yoga teachers move closer to giving hands on guidance to students, it is important to approach with communication. Three steps can help you decide how to assess proper touch.

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Assess Yoga Touch in the Classroom in Four Steps

  1. Always ask for consent to touch first. Even if you know the student well, they still may not want to be touched. I love to use consent cards (paid link). One side says yes to touch, one side says no.
  2. Look for beauty first- inside and outside! Don’t be the yoga teacher that rushes to judgement in observation of your students. That may lead you to only see that is wrong rather than looking at the beauty of the student. Find this beauty! It will help to remember that you are working with a real human and not just posing someone for a camera. Work with their strengths.
  3. Address the things in each posture that may be at risk. Many times yoga teachers will address risk issues with verbal cues or demonstration to give form. Sometimes a student will position themselves in a way that is problematic. If students do not respond to verbal cues, you may have to offer hands on support.
  4. Look for steadiness, ease, and presence of mind in the student’s face and breathing. The facial expression of a student can show a teacher how the student is feeling in a pose. The breath also mirrors how a student is doing energetically and can indicate strain. A yoga teacher should encourage modifications to make the asanas accessible.

Assess Yoga Touch in the Classroom- Qualities of Touch

How we touch is just as important as when and where. Yoga touch can be a tool for teaching a student to understand their body. Hands on cues can guide a student to refine their practice.

Assess Yoga Touch in the Classroom

Awakening or Relaxing- Touch can encourage muscular activation in specific areas of the body. More pressure into muscles can allow students to fully feel the engagement or relaxation of muscles.

Emotions with Forward Bends
Pressing into the heel of the foot in Paschimottonasana encourages extension and energetic engagement through the heel.

Clarifying- This quality of touch allows you to determine if a student is activating certain muscles.

Surya Namaskara Mastery
In Adho Mukha Svanasana, we want to encourage students to activate the quadriceps muscles and to realize that the hamstrings should be relaxed.

Stabilizing- Assess yoga touch in the classroom with stabilizing. We want the students to feel independent but sometimes this means we add some active support. In balancing poses, we can use our body to add stability to the pose with light touch that allows the student to accomplish the pose.

Hands On Adjustments
Stabilizing inversions

Emphasizing- Use light surface cues to encourage a specific movement like elongation or rotation. The intention of the touch is to both help the student better understand the dynamics of stability, ease, and movement in the asana and to suggest how to better refine the energetic action.

Hands on Adjustments

Moving- Sometimes we have help a student move their bodies into a modified position. This is a way to assess yoga touch in the classroom. We ask the student to move out of the pose and approach it with a new position. Offer touch to help the student achieve success.

Grounding- With grounding touch, we press part of the body down to enhance the foundation of an asana. This creates safety in the pose. Help the student find the root in each pose.

Yoga Bandha Locks
In Paschimottonasana, use grounding touch to help students root the sitting bones. Press firmly down on the back of the pelvis to suggest rooting and elongation of the spine.

Comforting- Assess yoga touch in the classroom by giving comforting human contact to convey emotional support and compassion.

How to Sequence and Ashtanga Style Class
Resting your hand on a student’s back in Balasana can suggest deeper relaxation and offer a sense of caring.

When you assess yoga touch in the classroom, your students will feel comfortable to explore each asana and improve the quality of their practice!

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Published by Yoga Traveler

Yoga is my passion, teaching is my life. I started teaching yoga when my husband entered the US Air Force and now my career travels with me. Every time I move, I look for places to teach and a community of caring yogis who I grow to love and then one day, leave behind. This is a place where we can reconnect and create our yoga together. This site can travel with you. Welcome!

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