Yoga Assists & Injury Prevention

with Ron Reid & Marla Meenakshi Joy – Monday, August 24 to Friday, August 28, 2020

Hands-on assists have the potential to give students a clear, tactile sensation of what a pose should feel like in their bodies. Intelligent adjustments involve correct alignment, precise intention and an appropriate level of intensity. When combined with effective modifications for individual needs, hands-on assists help students find versions of each pose that can take their practice to the next level.

Ahimsa, one of the key principles of “The 8 limbs of Yoga” in Ashtanga Yoga, translates to “do no harm.” Most yoga-related injuries result from either misalignment or pushing beyond a healthy depth of practice. To identify the boundaries of a student’s practice, as well as the means by which to shift those boundaries slowly and safely, teachers require a different form of knowledge than what they hone leading led classes. This knowledge not only comes from one’s own personal practice but the understanding that going deeper involves awakening the body’s inner intelligence. Out of this experience, we as teachers guide others toward a deeper relationship with the practice itself.

This 40-hour workshop is designed for those looking to delve deeper into their own practice while gaining a new lens through which to understand students’ bodies and capabilities. Recognizing what’s required for each individual is necessary to help them develop a sustainable life long practice.

Students will gain an understanding of the following topics:

Ahimsa and the Art of Hands-On Adjustments

Learn the main principles in giving correct, alignment-based adjustments to your students. An adjustment needs to be effective, safe and enhance the quality of breath, alignment and experience of the asana. We will cover how to train your eye to read bodies and “see” misalignments that can ultimately lead to injury. Learn how to support a grounded, stable approach to each pose by balancing energy and recognizing when key actions are missing. Understand the instructor’s role in helping students sustain a pose on their own, bringing a sense of trust and safety to the art of the hands-on approach. We will also discuss strategies for working with different body and personality types to allow maximum benefit for each student.

Observing Bodies

By watching our students as they move through their practice we may begin to notice certain common themes, like tight hips and hamstrings and also specific limitations unique to that student that may affect them in their practice. The ability to keenly observe different bodies is a very specific skill necessary for yoga teachers to be effective in applying the appropriate assist, modification and/or prop.

Modification & Therapeutic Applications

Modifying poses is a teacher’s way of tailoring a pose specifically to fit each student. Some of these modifications will be common and some less so, sometimes requiring experimentation to get it “right”. Students at times may require specific aids or props to help them with certain challenges they may be facing. Being aware of when and how to use these practice aids and or how to modify their approach to a given pose may be key in helping them to move forward in their practice.

Injury Assessment and Management

We will be exploring common injuries in the yoga practice that come up over time such as hamstring pulls or tears, sacroiliac joint issues, herniated discs, scoliosis, and other structural or functional issues. We will identify tools in both recognizing the challenge the student has, as well as working with adjustments, props and alternate exercises that might benefit them to overcome the injury or limitation. Often the source of limitation is based on acute injuries and/or long-term pre-existing conditions. Being aware of common injuries and their causes will help us to guide our students toward an injury-free practice.

Self-practice (Mysore)

During the morning Mysore class component of the training, students will get individual support in their practice, receiving adjustments to develop key actions in their bodies, encouraging conscious movement and the prevention of injuries. Receiving adjustments is also an essential component of learning to give adjustments; passing along information that can only be known once it has been felt. Students will always have the opportunity to ask questions as they continue forward in their journey, looking for the means to ultimately go deeper.

In learning the specific tools to adapt a student’s practice to their individual needs and concerns, we feel there is a greater opportunity for pain-free, liberating individualized practice. In this training, we will learn the skills to help our students understand the actions necessary in aligning the spine and energy body for the most gratifying experience possible.