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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Clarifying- This quality of touch allows you to determine if a student is activating certain muscles.
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.
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.
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.
Comforting- Assess yoga touch in the classroom by giving comforting human contact to convey emotional support and compassion.
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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