085: A Discussion About Hands-On Assists with Amanda Kingsmith and Shannon Crow

Do you offer your students hands-on assists or adjustments or do you steer clear of touch in a yoga class?

Amanda Kingsmith invited Shannon back on the M.B.OM podcast to talk about hands-on assists (sometimes called adjustments).

Amanda is a yoga teacher with a business studies background. She works 1:1 with yoga teachers and hosts two podcasts – one about travel and the other for yoga teachers. She is an enthusiastic world traveler when she is not at home in Alberta, Canada.

[6:10] Shannon shares her thoughts on the importance of trauma training for yoga teachers, especially in regards to using touch within a yoga class.

[11:58] Amanda introduces Shannon and the topic of discussion today – adjustments or hands-on assists.

[13:34] Shannon learned to love hands-on assists through learning Thai Yoga Massage. She talks about how she brought this training to her yoga classes and how that has changed over time.

[14:10] The reason why Shannon switched her language to ‘assists’ instead of ‘adjustments’ with regards to touch

[15:21] Using consent cards and cues. Also, how something as simple as ‘child’s pose’ assist may not be helpful.

[20:29] Amanda talks about how we learn shapes in yoga books and in yoga teacher training, but that it is going to look different in each individual’s body.

[21:26] It is difficult to see what is actually happening with a hands-on assist from a photo. Shannon emphasizes the importance of the student being able to come into (and stay in) the pose on their own

[23:04] Amanda shares how much she has learned by practicing assists and how she believes that touch is helpful.

[24:17] First ask, ‘what is the intention of this pose?’

[24:45] How does our culture affect how we use touch?

[25:27] How can we ask students for consent to touch? Shannon talks about the consent cards she uses, designed by Molly Kitchen.  

[26:30] Not everyone prefers touch (or hugs).

[27:26] How Shannon introduces the consent cards within a yoga class and how her definition of an assist doesn’t just include touch. She talks about how breath, props, cues and a demo of the pose are also an assist.

[31:32] What about asking permission to touch when students are in a pose like downward dog or child’s pose?

[32:31] We are learning as we go. Sometimes it is overwhelming when we have so much to learn as a yoga teacher. Amanda encourages us to be easy on yourself and to take a breath

[33:40] Other ways we can offer assists if we choose not to use hands-on assists. Shannon and Amanda discuss what they think about verbal cues and how they are not always the best way to move students into a pose.

[35:50] Amanda talks about Amber Karnes’ ideas around touch and how we never really know our students, no matter how much training we have around trauma and touch

[37:01] Scope of practice: Shannon asks Amanda, “Do you think that we need to be trained in massage before we offer hands-on assists to yoga students?”

[47:53] Amanda asks a great question around how much can we do without putting our hands on our students

[48:32] Hosting an assists specific class is another option. Then students are signing up for a full class of hands-on assists

[50:11] What about assistant teachers in class to help give hands-on assists?


Mastering the Business of Yoga Podcast with Amanda Kingsmith

Diane Liska – Psychotherapist & Yoga Teacher at Health Squad, Owen Sound

Order Consent Cards by Molly Kitchen

The Connected Teacher Facebook Group

Apply for the Online Group Program for Yoga Teachers

Book a Consultation Call with Shannon

Related Podcasts

Embracing Your Yoga Business with Amanda Kingsmith

Trauma Training for Every Yoga Teacher with Margaret Howard

Consent Cards with Molly Kitchen

Yoga for Every Body with Amber Karnes

Thai Yoga Massage with Shai Plonski

Assisting Yoga Students Without Touch

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