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Yin-Yin (5/6): Observing and Adjusting Others’ Postures

One of my favourite YTT classes so far at Yoga Mandala has been observing our bodies and helping each other adjust our postures.  It has been a highlight because:

  • It has taught me to be super observant of others’ bodies. To be teachers, we have to put the students’ needs first.  This means that we have to observe our students’ bodies, understand their strengths and weakness, and help them adjust their poses accordingly.  Jess, our teacher, was very helpful in pointing out the various parts of the body to observe.  I was surprised to learn there are so many nuances of the body to look out for.  Are the students’ shoulders even? Is there a hunch?  Is there a flat back?  Understanding these signals allows me to come up with poses that are best suited for their bodies.
  • It has taught me the importance of tailoring communication to the audience. After you identify parts of the student’s body that needs adjusting, the next part is actually communicating to the student on how to adjust. The students need to understand why they’re doing these specific poses, and it’s the role of the teacher to provide that context.  I found this part to be the most challenging because the instructions that make sense to me don’t necessarily resonate in the same way to someone else.  I found that at times when I provide instructions, the student actually did the opposite of what I had originally intended for them to do.  This was super frustrating!

The two lessons above have been the most valuable: build empathy for the student and communicate the why.