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Yoga And The Art Of Adjustment

“Hands-on adjustments” is a phrase that can mean many things. For some people, it’s a complete antithesis to a societally respectable hands-off policy, something not welcomed. But for others—those of us who lean toward feline tendencies—the phrase is a welcome addition to a practice.

In the last 20 years, adjustments have permeated the popular yoga circuit. Books can be bought, movies can be downloaded, YouTube videos can be watched—all documenting the supposedly "correct" way to touch and adjust a student.

But is there a correct method for adjusting students? Are hands-on adjustments even necessary, or appropriate? And, better yet, could students possibly be adjusted sans hands, but with verbal directives alone?

This Thursday, November 19, five teachers will vet these issues at The Breathing Project, for YogaCity NYC’s tenth Deeper Learning Series panel discussion. The panel will consist of Leslie Kaminoff, Eddie Stern, Barbara Verrochi, Nikki Vilella, and Alison West. YogaCity NYC’s Brette Popper will moderate.

When I asked Kaminoff if he liked hands-on adjustments, he replied: “The question, as posed, is unanswerable because it lacks context. It’s like asking: ‘Do you like music?’ Well, it depends what you mean by music, and who the artist is.”

For Kaminoff, clarity of language and context is key. He gives adjustments “when it’s the simplest, most direct way of communicating. And the method will depend entirely on the individual I’m working with,” he said.

He hopes this panel discussion “can bring more attention to the vitally important issues of clarity of language, intent, and context—and how all of this adds up to honoring the unique nature of each individual and situation we deal with.”

Join us.

—Michael Laskaris

When: Thursday, November 19. 6:30pm-8pm

Where: The Breathing Project, 15 W. 26th St., 10th Fl., Manhattan

To be placed on the list and get a seat, email Katie Jehenson at

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