Recently I had the pleasure of assisting international yoga teacher, Donna Farhi, in her Sydney workshop ‘Mastering the Art of Adjustment’. Donna started off by having us think about what our approach to learning is. Do we, for instance, learn by rote or by enquiry? And, what prior learning do we take into new situations that impacts the way we interact with our students.
It’s not often that we take the time to examine how we know what we know and how it influences the way in which we relate to others. This was a slow and methodical beginning to our two days together. But, by the end of the workshop, we had the foundations to make respectful and intelligent adjustments.
I’ve taught many different aspects of yoga, but I do have my favourite subjects. One of these is the art of touch and the adjusting of students in poses.
The point of adjustments, in my view, is to enhance students’ understanding of what they are doing in their practice. To do this well, the yoga teacher needs to grasp that there are three dominant styles of learning. Have a look at these: main styles of learning. One of these is learning through experience or kinaesthetically (the way I learn best). I’ve discovered through my thirty five plus years of teaching that a large number of yoga teachers learn kinaesthetically. Of course, we need to have developed visual and auditory teaching skills, too.
Information conveyed by teachers through the art of touch can be immediate and effective . It’s because the skin is the largest organ in your body. We have almost a million sensory receptors in our skin that communicate with the central nervous system. Without even having to think about it, we get constant information about temperature, pressure and discomfort.
So teachers need to learn sensitivity of touch. As well as the ability to centre, to have clear intentions and to attune to breathing. The more opportunities for trainees and teachers to practice adjusting in and out of workshops, the better.
I will be offering a one-day workshop in Sydney Saturday November 24 at The Yoga Nook. If you think you might be interested in attending, you can contact Linda Apps: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message 95509155.
I should mention that a few years ago I wrote a book called ‘The Art of Adjustment’. I created this manual mainly to help trainees improve their understanding of adjusting. It seems that this is a topic that isn’t always addressed in yoga teacher trainings.
What’s special about the way we produced the book is that you can down-load it straight onto your computer. You get text and photographs, as well as, audio (my voice). There are 38 fundamental yoga adjustments described in the book. And, the reader/listener gets a practical and basic insight into just what sensitivity of touch is.
The ‘Art of Adjustment’ is available at the Live Yoga Life website.