TIPS FOR GIVING FEEDBACK
Giving feedback to students is a necessary method to bring recognition into a student’s mind about their own body mechanics and shine light on any constructive criticism that will be beneficial to them. Feedback can help the students prevent injury and will deepen their communication and trust with you as their instructor. When handled with intention and structured communication, Sport Yoga students will feel supportive and excited to make any adjustments needed to continue progressing.
DURING A CLASS SETTING, IF A STUDENT IS DOING A POSTURE IMPROPERLY:
1) Say the adjustment out loud to the class, without mentioning the student’s name. This allows for auditory cues to be processed and gives students the opportunity to intrinsically feel what you are communicating.
2) If the specific student does not adjust, say the adjustment once more while standing right next to them. This is to encourage active listening skills and body awareness again.
3) If still needed, walk up to the student and say their name while helping them adjust to a more beneficial posture.
This is a method of communication to help a student receive constructive criticism while keeping their emotional integrity high. By giving a positive affirmation first, followed by the critique, and finished with an overall praise, the student will feel accomplished and receive the necessary tips to improve.
Example: “Great integrity and awareness of your legs in this posture! Try lifting your sternum, lowering your shoulders, and notice how strong that feels now. Excellent work!”
The purpose of hands-on adjustments, along with verbal and visual adjustments, is to help the student get the most out of the pose. On occasion, the most beneficial action could be to use your hands to guide the student’s body into a posture. Not all teachers adjust their students in this way, and sometimes it is a matter of the policy within an individual or an organizational policy. As a Yoga Instructor, trainer, or coach be sensitive and attentive to the personal boundaries of your students and clients. A helpful tip is to preframe and state at the beginning of class during a neutral posture where they can’t see each other (ex. Crow Pose), “I am understanding of personal space, and if anyone would like to stay within their own space today, and not prefer any adjustments, I will honor that. Place your right hand on the corner of the mat to communicate your need of this today.”
ADJUST THE POSE TO THE PERSON, NOT THE PERSON TO THE POSE!
You can view each asana as a framework, and allow the individual body mechanics to be the focus and guiding principle while adjusting. Begin with where they are.
Observe the major joints in the body and key areas in the pose first. Look for any overflexion, hyperextension, unnecessary twisting, or compression to see the path towards a more comfortable and beneficial posture.
Most students will not need a lot of holding and guiding to adjust. Often enough an open hand with a firm touch while verbally explaining the adjustment is successful.
The meaning of communication is the response you get from the students. If multiple students are not properly in a pose, take into consideration how you are verbally explaining it. It can be helpful to reset the students to come out of the posture so you can visually show them and re-explain it verbally using different words.
Practice the patience of progression to stay within safe physical postures for the individual. Think Direction instead of Destination, and understand the next small step that is right for your student on that specific day.
Give positive feedback verbally while adjusting a student. This will help create a safe environment with trust from the student that where they are today is perfect for them.
Learn more about becoming a Yoga Instructor in the Certified Sport Yoga Course.