The Guiding Hands of Yoga: The Benefits of Yoga Assists and Adjustments



Yoga is not just about stretching and bending; it’s a journey of self-discovery and transformation.

As practitioners, we embark on this voyage to enhance our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. One indispensable tool that often elevates the yoga experience is the art of yoga assists and adjustments.

These skilled interventions, delivered by experienced instructors, can make a world of difference in how we connect with our bodies and deepen our practice. Whether you are a student enjoying yoga assists, or a teacher offering assists in class, read on to discover the  invaluable benefits and how these adjustments can guide us towards greater awareness, alignment, and progress.

The benefits of yoga assists and adjustments

  1. Heightened Body Awareness

Yoga assists and adjustments provide an external perspective that allows us to perceive our bodies in new ways. Often, we become so accustomed to our habitual movements and postures that we lose touch with the intricacies of our physical form. A skilled yoga teacher can gently guide our bodies into proper alignment, bringing our attention to areas we might have overlooked. This heightened body awareness not only enhances our practice on the mat but also translates into our daily lives, fostering mindfulness and self-care.

  1. Precision and Alignment

One of the primary benefits of yoga assists and adjustments is their ability to fine-tune our alignment. Achieving proper alignment not only prevents injuries in a yoga class but also optimizes the effectiveness of each pose. An instructor’s touch can provide gentle nudges that encourage our bodies to find their optimal position, helping us experience the full benefits of the asana- both physically and also energetically. Over time, this precision cultivates a deeper understanding of our bodies, allowing us to make subtle adjustments independently.

  1. Enhanced Depth and Intensity

Certain yoga poses- or our full expression of a pose- can be challenging to access fully due to tight muscles, limited flexibility, or other physical restrictions. Yoga assists and adjustments can bridge this gap by providing the support needed to delve deeper into poses that might have seemed inaccessible before. This deepening of the posture not only aids in physical progress but also opens avenues for emotional and mental exploration. The guidance of an experienced teacher can offer a safe space to explore our limits and push past mental barriers. Finding that deeper or fuller expression of a pose in yoga helps to build our confidence and also inspires progression in our practice in general. 

  1. Release of Tension

Physical tension often accumulates unconsciously in various parts of our bodies. Yoga assists and adjustments can be like a skilled massage, helping to release built-up tension and stress. In restorative and yin yoga practices, gentle adjustments can facilitate relaxation and encourage the body to let go of held tension. This release not only promotes better physical health but also creates space for emotional healing and mental clarity. Oftentimes we may not even realize where we are holding, and even just the subtlest touch from a teacher can immediately remind us to let go and surrender. Oftentimes here we realize that greater depth or enjoyment in a pose can be found more when we let go, as opposed to push or strain.

  1. Personalized Experience

Every individual’s body is unique, and what works for one person might not work for another. Yoga assists and adjustments provide a personalized touch to each practitioner’s journey. In a group class, instructors strive to offer assists that cater to the individual’s needs and body type, ensuring a tailored experience. While the whole class may be in the same yoga pose, it will likely look and feel different for each person in the room. Personalized assists fosters a sense of trust and belonging whilst encouraging us to embrace our uniqueness and be present with where we are. 

  1. Building Trust and Connection

The relationship between a yoga instructor and their students is built on trust and communication. Yoga assists and adjustments are a powerful way to strengthen this bond. When an instructor offers guidance through gentle touch, it establishes a connection that goes beyond words. This connection creates a safe and supportive environment, allowing practitioners to try new things and explore their potential with confidence. In more restorative poses or even in savasana, assists can operate as a calming or soothing touch just reminding us that we are in safe hands. 

  1. Overcoming Plateaus

In the journey of yoga, there are moments when progress seems to plateau. Yoga assists and adjustments can act as catalysts to break through these barriers. By encouraging us to explore new depths in our practice, instructors can help us move beyond our comfort zones. This can lead to breakthroughs, not only in our physical abilities but also in our mental outlook and attitude towards challenges. While a forearm balance can feel impossible in one moment, the support and assistance of a qualified teacher can have us upside down and holding balance in no time at all. 

As we roll out our mats and step into the world of yoga, we open ourselves up to growth, transformation, and self-discovery. Assists and adjustments are like the guiding hands that gently steer us in the right direction, helping us navigate the intricate landscape of our bodies and minds. The benefits they offer, from heightened body awareness to personalized experiences and overcoming plateaus, are invaluable on our yoga journey. The skilled touch of an instructor can make the difference between merely practicing yoga and truly experiencing its profound effects. 

Ready to learn how to support students with yoga assists and adjustments?

Join our upcoming October 2023 200hr Yoga Teacher Training and enjoy a FREE Bonus Workshop with Jovan Tevin on “Intentional Touch: Adjusting from the Heart.” 

This workshop goes far and beyond the more general and simplistic education you normally receive on the art of adjustments. Jovan will guide you on a deep and insightful journey into both the tangible and intangible elements of hands-on adjustments. This is an opportunity for you to learn how to support your students in a new light. Jovan will teach you how to become a further extension of your students to help them to uncover their limitless potential.

Hear more about Jovan’s unique journey to yoga here. And read more about our upcoming 200hr yoga teacher training in Thailand here. 

Yoga teacher doing yoga pose on rock