Last one, I promise. The last kind of adjustment you as a yoga teacher may do are generally called “feel good” adjustments. Like the name implies, these adjustments just feel good when done properly. They help give a little extra stretch, reach, pressure, or release where needed in a pose, and make yoga more enjoyable. Also known as “come back next week” adjustments, they add value to what we as yoga teachers do in the classroom, beyond just slinging a series of poses at the yogis and telling them to breathe.
Classic examples of these kinds of adjustments are pressing back on the hips in down dog / child’s pose; pulling back on the hips from behind in down dog. My favorite Ashtanga teacher (and don’t try this unless you’re a 110 lb. yoga teacher!) would simply lean her whole body along the length of students’ backs when they were in down dog.
Certainly, there’s some crossover between classifying an adjustment as a “feel good” or as a “help a student deeper into a pose,” but that’s okay, the goal of adjustments is to help the students feel the physical joy of a yoga practice. So placing your hands on the front of a student’s shoulders and pulling back in cobra pose, could be either a “feel good” or an aid to achieving a deeper pose. Similarly, turning a student’s thighs back and down in Baddha Konasana not only feels good, but helps open the inner thighs.
Finally, an example of a “release” adjustment is doing one of the many Savasana adjustments. I’ve had several different kinds done on me, and learned a full body method in TT; all of them felt good and helped the body to relax and release into corpse pose.
So, adjustments: These five articles outlined various purposes for a teacher doing physical adjustments on yoga students. If you’re going to touch a student in class, always have a proper, instructive purpose. By classifying various types of adjustments and giving examples, I hope that the reader, as a yoga teacher, can more clearly define if he is going to touch the student, why the touch is appropriate, and if so, what the specific touch will be.