Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch! SIX group classes a week!

    Nia: Tues and Thurs at 9 am, Fri at 10:15 am

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:15 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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Guidance – Not A Personal Attack

Posted by terrepruitt on June 21, 2017

In the two Nia Intensives I have attended, one of the things we cover first is the Energy Allies or more commonly known as the Four Agreements. As I attend many classes and teach many classes I am reminded over and over again how important these ideals are.  In this post I am talking mainly in reference to #3 (Don’t take anything personally). What must happen is there needs to be an unspoken agreement that students and teachers have when they enter a class, the student agrees to not take things personally — a correction or attention given by the teacher is not personal, the student is there to learn and improve so guidance is given as needed and as time (in class and holding the pose) allows.  Perhaps  it would be a good idea to remind everyone at the beginning of a session of classes or a workshop.  A yoga instructor has to have confidence and faith that the students know they are not being picked on or singled out for any type of personal reason. The teacher is there to help them do the poses to the best of their ability. If the student feels picked on then they will not be open to adjustment and guidance. So while it is “personal” in the sense that it is to help you personally, it is not an attack on your person.

There are so many things going on in people’s lives and I understand that a student can walk in and be in a tender state, but if they are there to learn the instructor cannot be concerned with the question of “will adjusting their form hurt their feelings?”  And believe it or not, there is also the other side of the coin. Where some students feel if the instructor doesn’t correct them or give them attention the teacher is slighting them. See how this type of “taking things personal” can just completely affect the effectiveness in class?

If a person is new to yoga and has never been in a class, unless they are at risk for injury, I might not say anything. Yoga is so much about sensing your body, that I believe it is important to let the person get a sense of things. If I say to move the left foot forward about a foot and have the toes point forward, I probably won’t correct a new student right away if they move up a few inches and the toes point off to the side. I want to give them a chance to learn how their body responds. But, if we do that same move multiple times in the class, I might see if they can nudge their foot forward and turn their toes. But I try not to adjust them much in a first class situation. It just seems more appropriate to let them learn some before starting to adjust.

It is very helpful when the instructor knows the students. If a student has been coming to class for a while often times the instructor will learn what that person is capable of. And it could be that someone walks into one of my classes and sees things that they would “correct” if they were a teacher. But perhaps they don’t know that the person whose toes don’t turn out all the way just had leg surgery. Or the person barely bending over has back issues. Or it could be that a student has been adjusted before, but it is just more comfortable for them to do it they way they are doing it. There are so many reasons why an adjustment may not be done.

I just wanted to remind people that teachers do not “pick on” students. We see potential and we are there to help a student reach it. Try not to take it personal either way (if a teacher adjusts you or not).  Hopefully you are able to learn as you go and enjoy what you are getting.

Do you like it when a teacher adjusts you (either verbally or physically)?

4 Responses to “Guidance – Not A Personal Attack”

  1. I don’t mind the adjustments. When I first started my back was slouching and I think I corrected that but only because the instructor pointed it out repeatedly and in different ways. I would not have known about it otherwise. Also, even when told, I sometimes don’t understand what needs to be adjusted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly . . . how can you know unless someone helps you see/feel/sense it. And, yes, even when told sometimes we don’t get it. There are many reasons why that could happen . . . so that is why it is really important for students (and we, instructors are students too) to be open to assistance.

      Thanks, Frank!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t mind. At the same time, I appreciate it when a teacher lets me know that they’re there and asks me if I’d like an adjustment.

    Liked by 1 person

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