Love or Hate? Adjustments

November 30

Imagine that you’re in a yoga class where you know nothing. You’re surrounded by students who seem like professionals, and somehow you managed to get the front and center spot. The class starts, and you feel like everyone else is moving through the movements with ease and grace while you stumble and struggle to keep pace. The instructor keeps calling adjustments and directing some at you, name included. How do you feel?

I have a love-hate relationship with adjustments.

I’m embarrassed to admit that when I don’t get adjustments, I feel proud. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with feeling good for a certain level of understanding or body consciousness, but pride is a different monster. One that we try to calm with humility in yoga and in life.

I also hate it when I don’t get adjustments. Because after that initial burst of pride, I sometimes feel self-doubt and wonder if I actually AM doing something wrong, and the instructor just didn’t notice. Or worse, she thought, “This girl’s hopeless. Why bother?”!?!? Why bother??

So really, I love them.

Adjustments make a safe and effective practice. Proper alignment and movement can make or break your practice, literally. Moving incorrectly will not only limit your benefits, it can actually cause injuries.

After being corrected or adjusted, you know that you’re positioned or moving the right way, and you can make a mental note for the future. The next time you move into that position or sequence, self correct. That will give you the confidence to know that you’re safe, and you’re getting the most out of my practice.

Feedback is part of learning. It’s especially important when you’re trying something new. Without feedback, I feel completely in the dark. I just started taking Pilates classes, and I frequently look around the room to see how everyone else moves. I’m learning to trust that the instructors WILL correct me when I am doing something wrong, but I’m always self-conscious without some sort of feedback. Am I aligned right? Should my hip be stacked? Are my shoulders moving? Am I even doing the right exercise?!?! So enjoy the adjustments as part of the learning process.

Adjustments are important, even for the experienced. As you gain a level of body consciousness, you can self-adjust, but even that can be a challenge.

A random example… after traveling or sitting for long periods of time, your alignment can get messed up. Driving a car across the state, cramming yourself into a crowded airplane with no leg room or sleeping on an uncomfortable bed can all affect your alignment. Then you find yourself back in class and completely clueless of the fact that your left hip is popping up. And your instructor has to keep correcting you. The right position just feels weird so you find yourself making funny faces while trying to figure out if you’re maintain the alignment she just fixed. Oh wait, that was me.

Even though I feel good when I’m doing something correctly, I am always grateful for adjustments or constructive criticism. Sometimes it can be hard to stomach that you weren’t right or embarrassing to be repeatedly corrected, but it’s good. Good for your body, your mind and your soul.

How do you feel about constructive criticism or adjustments? In yoga or Pilates class, school or work?

Photo by Lena Bell via Unsplash

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