Yoga: Hands on Assists

One of the more unique aspects of a yoga class is the idea of hands on assists that are provided by the instructor and even an assistant. 

If your new to yoga, this is when the yoga instructor comes around the room to help you physically experience the pose in a deeper level. The physical touch from a teacher is intended to bring awareness to the physical body and communicate an action that often can’t be fully expressed fully in words.  

Some of my favorite yoga teachers have been not only inspiring but have helped me understand a more full expression of a pose -often bringing the pose to a place didn’t even know was possible. In a good assist, the student feels strong, elegant and enlightened. 
As a brand new yoga teacher, this aspect of teaching has been one the most difficult skills to learn. As a New Englander, we are known for smugly, keeping to ourselves. It’s not an inherent part of our culture here to engage in random conversation with strangers nor cross a physical barrier. In fact, I’ve come to realize that the only people I touch are the folks within my intimate circle of family and friends.  

In my yoga training, I was encouraged to assist students and taught to give each assist with intention in mind.

Because of sheer lack of experience, I find myself truly trying to tune into the needs to my students. 

My intention is to serve. 


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Excellent post! As someone who is currently going through YTT, but also has a history with trauma, I’m on the fence about assists. I understand their purpose and on some days I really benefit from them. There are days though where tough can send me into a flashback or make my anxiety amp up, especially if it’s with a teacher I don’t know very well. I always appreciate when instructors take a moment at the beginning of class to ask students to place one hand over your heart if you do not want to be touched today. Giving students the option, particularly those with trauma backgrounds can be helpful 💜 I loved your post! Great to hear how new yoga instructors are navigating their new career 😃


    1. yogitested says:

      I can’t agree with you more about asking for permission and really tuning into the student before approaching their personal space.

      I love the idea of the small gesture of the hand over the heart. I think I’ll use that at my next class. Thank you so much for sharing

      Liked by 1 person

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