What is Yoga Assist?
by Carina Preuss - CEO at Ayurveda Parkschloesschen
Yoga Assist can be traced back to Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (1888-1989) – an Indian Ayurveda healer and scholar, one of the most influential Yoga instructors of the 20th century and “father of modern Yoga”.
Teach what is appropriate for the individual.
The doctrine was based on the principle of recognizing a person as a complete entity and on helping each individual in their personal development. In the sense of “teach what is appropriate for the individual”, health and wellbeing were restored through Ayurvedic and yogic traditions. As a result of his individual, bespoke practice Krishnamacharya was successful in the alleviation of many health complaints.
Definition of Yoga Assist
Yoga Assist (synonyms: adjustment and correction) is the verbal, visual and tactile support of the Asanas by the Yoga instructor. The Yoga instructor uses his/her own body as a means of bringing the body of the Yoga student into the “correct” position during the practice.
This is classically done verbally by giving instructions, energetically by showing the student where his/her postures should be amended and particularly in a tactile manner by assisting touch.
The relationship between the instructor and the student plays an eminent role in Yoga. The path to a healthy body, as well as to mental and spiritual wholesomeness, is supported by the instructor. Thus, all instructions and corrections of the Yoga instructor should have the purpose of uniting body, mind and spirit as an essential foundation for life.
Students learn how a specific Asana should feel in its correct alignment.
Yoga Assist supports this approach to a great extent. Through the actual physical assistance of the instructor, it enables the student to gain more precise perception of how a certain Asana should feel in its “correct” alignment, and how it can be performed under consideration of the individual physical condition. This allows the student to feel the exercise “more intensely and deeper”, but without overstepping muscular limits or causing pain.
This experience leads to an improved independent practice of the Asanas, since the student has actively perceived how the exercise should feel in depth. By mutual agreement the instructor’s touch promotes trust, activates inner release and enables the student to follow the path along which the instructor takes them during lessons, and the practices through which the instructor guides them.
- are first announced and verbally corrected,
- are followed by further specific announcements, also directed at individuals,
- animate the Yoga student to stretch, twist or bend further, by gentle touching or stroking along body parts,
- by using their own body (hands-on) to ground, align, turn, pull and push, thus working together with the student.
Ultimately, in Shavasana (end relaxation posture), relaxation assistance is given, e.g. by pleasant leg-stretching, massage of the neck or hands, and/or active relaxation of the student’s shoulders etc.
The positive resonance on behalf of almost all Yoga students is proof of the success of this method. Improved alignment, increased stability and greater stretching are the results observed in all Asanas.
In Shavasana you can literally watch how tension disappears from the face and body.
In Shavasana, the final stage of relaxation, you can literally watch the breath easing and how tension disappears from the face and body. Often, a deep “pleasurable breath” is drawn. You can sense how much the student enjoys the touch, as the body receives the signal from the instructor to totally relax and be at ease even more intensely.
As from December 2016, the Ayurveda Parkschlösschen will continue to expand its competence in the Ayurvedic art of healing with its partner discipline Yoga, through advanced training of their Yoga instructors in Yoga Assist – for a better, holistic health care of body, mind and spirit.