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Mechanism of Adjustments

26.03.2017

Mysor Room, your student performs an asana, you correct it giving a verbal command, but after a while you can start wondering „what’s the next step”??

It is often believed that verbal corrections are sufficient: foot shifting, hips alignment, pressing palms, but what if there is no longer anything else to say? Then we move on to the physical adjustment based on our knowledge of the mechanisms that govern the given asana. None of us have a x-ray in our eyes. It is difficult to assess visually what is relevant and what will really help a student in a given position. You need to know more than your own feeling and personal experience flowing from your own body. Remember, everyone is different, not only in terms of weight or height, but also the bones, muscular system and nervous system. There are certain indicators that your student has reached the limit of his range of motion. Knowing the architecture of the position, we will know why someone performs this asana in a different way. Verbal corrections are very important when physical correction is not possible, a word is an indispensable tool when a student is still unable to isolate his or her muscles and move any part of the body in the direction we want.

ADJUSTMENT NEVER IS THE SAME

Ask yourself:

What do you want to achieve before you touch a student? Where are you really going?

Is the correction done safely and effectively?

Does the correction stretch?

Does it increase the student’s awareness of that particular asana?

Do you stretch the muscles, or do you accidentally interfere with joints or ligaments?

Is the student relaxed or you can feel his muscles under pressure?

Does the muscle tighten?

THE ART OF ADJUSTMENTS

So far, physical corrections were not popular, but with the spread of the Ashtanga Yoga Method, and most of all the Mysor Style, they became a constant part of every teacher’s practice. There are more and more discussions about injuries that occur as a result of a correction. On the other hand, there is no doubt that a well-made correction brings relief to the position and increases the range of motion. Not only are we working on stretching, but we are acquiring new awareness in asana.

Word corrections can vary from teacher to teacher. When performing the position of twine (Hanumasana), he often hear the correction to twist our thighs so that the hips are aligned, directing the femur down. In the position of the First Warrior (Virabhadrasana l) on the other hand, the thigh should definitely twist out. In Virabhadrasana ll, it is required that the knee is always above the heel and does not move forward in front of the toes, while in the position of the Utkatasana the knees definitely extend beyond the toes of the feet. The majority of verbal corrections are influenced by aesthetic impression. Teachers compare asanas to that presented in a book and strive to make each student look like that. Following the pattern of asanas placed in books is often confusing and leads to injuries. The student’s personal feelings are seldom taken into account, rarely the teacher personally asks his or her student what they feel performing the given position.

TEACHER EXPERIENCE

An important aspect of speaking and assisting is the personal experience of the teacher. Sometimes, however, experience prevails over proper assisting and the teacher tends to look at the student through the prism of their own injuries. We suggest setting the assumption that each body responds in its own way. Unfortunately, what is good for us is often not compatible with anyone else. It is sometimes possible that while something is appropriate for one student,in other case causes painful sensations, and the same correction, which is dangerous for one person, will bring relief to someone else. For proper functioning our tissues need pressure and sometimes a strange looking outward correction can actually contribute to the health of our joints and fascia.

WHAT TO DO?

“STHIRA SUKHA” POSITION MUST BE STABLE AND COMFORTABLE.

Firstly, it is worthwhile to outline the contours of the position. Then focus on the correction, which should be given with great attention. It is not enough to look at a student to know if you can push him further or stop. The easiest way to test this is to simply ask what you really feel in the asana. Many people can not determine their sensations, so if a student is not able to answer the question, you can refine it by asking about the feeling of compression or tension.

Tension in the muscles is quite easy to recognize, but it is often confused with compression. So you point out to the area where compression might appear and ask the student if that is possible that he or she is experiencing it. If so, you will give tips on how to avoid this pressure and suggest a lower intensity exercise. You can always stay on the edge of compression if it is not accompanied by chronic pain. Most important, the pain is always true. It is obvious that for everyone it is different and does not exist only in the head. Being aware of the factors influencing pain allows us to understand and counteract it.

Questions you can use during this arrangement:

Where is the pain?

Is it deep, superficial, spreading or concentrated, located in one place?

Is the pain wide, very intense or weak, linear, point?

Is the pressure weak, very heavy, devastating?

Is it throbbing?

What is its temperature?

Is he very sticky, hard, pulling, elastic, dragging, radiating, frozen?

Go back to the basics. If it’s a standing position, think how feet should be set, check where the student gazes?

What to do and how to get deeper into position without losing the right setting?

As you can see, there can be dozens of questions.

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