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Yoga Posture Adjustments and Assisting: An Insightful Guide for Yoga Teachers and Students Paperback – January 17, 2006
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About the Author
Stephanie Pappas was born in New York City in 1960 and grew up in central New Jersey. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University, Douglass College. After graduating from college, she worked for 10 years as a trainer, technical writer, and technician in the telecommunications industry.Stephanie began the study and practice of eastern philosophy at the age of 12 with the Taoist book of changes, the I Ching. She took her Buddhist refuge vows in 1982 with the Venerable Dawa Saambo from Tibet, and received various teachings from H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama and other renowned Tibetan Buddhist teachers.
From 1992-2002 she studied intensively with her teacher from Bangalore, India, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and was a teacher for the Art of Living Foundation and Prison SMART Foundation. During this time Stephanie was dedicated to the practice of Hatha Yoga, Sudarshan Kriya, and various yogic meditations which included long silent retreats.
Stephanie has co-authored 9 other books on yoga. Her first solo book for yoga teachers, "Yoga Posture Adjustments and Assisting" has sold over 12,000 copies. Her other new yoga book, Yoga At Your Wall is also available on amazon.com
Stay tuned in 2010 for her newest book, Reflections of a Codependent Yogi.
Top Customer Reviews
I bought the book because I was a new teacher and was dealing with all the attending insecurities, and so this book was basically an expensive confidence boost--I was amazed that I knew just about everything worth knowing for my teaching in here. There were new and different assists I had never seen, but I just don't see the point for many of these. Example: why squat behind someone and have them sit on your knees or thighs in utkatasana and eagle? Instead of the student supporting their own weight and strengthening their quadriceps, you are doing the work for them, with the result that you build strength rather than the student. What's the point when these poses have a built-in way to ease into them for less strong students, i.e., not squatting so deeply?
Are you ever going to pull someone's arm forward while pressing back on their hip crease with your foot to get them to lengthen before dropping their hand into triangle? Fancy crawling underneath a student in camel and pushing up on their shoulder blades with your foot? Creative, sure. Useful? No.
The first section, "Getting started," is good, but it's only 14 pages, in a huge font with lots of white space and photos. She tells you to approach students directly as if opening the refrigerator, not awkwardly from odd angles, and to correct the most unsafe misalignments first. Fine advice, but I sure hope you learned that in your training.
What this book fails to cover is the practical side of diagnosing problems in poses and how to correct them. The problem is that trainees and the people in this book (all teachers at her studio) mostly know what they're doing. When I started teaching, however, I'd have people that had never done yoga before, and they'd do crazy, crazy stuff and their asanas and vinyasas would be almost unrecognizable.
I'd find myself thinking, "What the hell do I do with a downward dog that looks like THAT?" No help in this book. She doesn't give you any indication of how to correct the most unsafe misalignments, what they might be, who might benefit from a certain assist, etc. It would be helpful just to add, this is good for people with tight shoulders, or, don't bother doing this for someone whose shoulders are really tight--instead, do this.... And it would be really great if she had a photo of a completely messed up revolved triangle and showed you how to go about getting the student into a decent, safe form. But there's none of that kind of real-life practical advice here. There are, however, pointless random quotations from unknown people. "'For me yoga is the most satisfying type of exercise imaginable.' -- Amy X, Yoga Student."
If your training was really poor in this department then you might find enough here to justify the cost. And, for the record, this is the cheapest, ugliest, and most poorly produced $30 book I have ever seen; I can only imagine that this is because it is "published on-demand," which "takes advantage of internet marketing." Hmmm, so the publisher refused to mass-produce the book in the normal way, which yields higher quality at a greatly-reduced cost, so that they could save money on warehousing and charge far more for the book? Fantastic. It would have been a good book for $12.
"Yoga Posture Adjustments and Assisting" by Stephanie Pappas is a relevant book whether you are a new yoga instructor or a seasoned one. It is common in yoga classes to get an adjustment by an instructor - however, for a teacher, especially a new one, it can be challenging to know how to adjust properly. Many injuries happen in yoga due to overzealous or uncautious adjustments.
Pappas has written a book that is a clear and intelligent manual - I love that the focus is solely on adjustments. Big, easy to view photos demonstrating the proper way to adjust accompany every pose along with text that clearly spells out what you need to be doing as you adjust your student. Props are suggested when appropriate as well. I really liked the guidelines on what to say when adjusting - these verbal cues are really helpful as it is sometimes easy to become tongue tied in a class! Using these verbal instructions, I've felt I have been conveying the pose more clearly to my students. This book has certainly helped me to be a more confident instructor! At the back of the book, Pappas has delivered two chapters on questions that instructors ask as well as common questions from students. Her intelligent responses really gave me food for thought.
Some of the adjustments pictured were a bit too 'intimate' for my tastes. But that is simply my preference - not a criticism on the overall greatness of this book. There are some teachers and students that may be more comfortable with that much body contact. Also, even with this book, it is probably a wise idea to get hands on practice with a qualified senior instructor before you practice these adjustments on a student - especially if you have never adjusted someone. Again, not a criticism of the book, just a little common sense.
I think all teachers should consider adding this book to their library. I would also recommend "Cool Yoga Tricks" by Miriam Austin in addition to this book.
It's a nice idea but I shudder to think of anyone attempting some of these assists; it's a back accident waiting to happen.
I don't mean to be unkind but I was very disappointed.