Blissology Yoga: 6 Essential Steps for amazing adjustments

Posted by Katarina Tavcar on July 21, 2017

How to give amazing adjustments. The six essential steps

There are few things in life as blissful as a well executed yoga adjustment. Yet when it goes wrong, it is very, very bad.  We are offering a mind-blowing module in Santa Cruz this August called Advanced Alignment and Adjustments.

Just in case you can’t make it and in my interest of bringing more love and connection out into the world, here is our six steps to adjustments in our Blissology Yoga School.  Remember, not everyone wants to be touched and you can always cue people with your words. As you will see in the article, if you can’t get passed Phase three, don’t worry.

I hope to see you on the mat soon.

Share your light!

The Six Steps:

Step 1: Intention
Step 2: Assessment Phase
Step 3: Attunement Phase
Step 4:Integration Phase
Step 5: Bracing Phase
Step 6: Adjustment Phase


Step 1: Intention: What is your intention for adjusting? Be clear.

It is important to start the process of adjusting at the foundational level: our intention. Most times, before we adjust someone, our intentions are unconscious. We go straight into the how the adjustment should be done and the question of why we are adjusting someone happens in the background of our minds. Even though I believe we need more touch in the world, I believe it needs to come from our highest consciousness.

I have trained myself to take a few extra seconds in my internal dialogue to clarify what my intention is before I think about putting my hands on someone. I know my intention will come through in my touch. Often it is the same simple Mantra I repeat to myself: “I want this person to feel total joy!”

It is essential to have an honest conversation in my mind. If it is not my “highest vibrational self” coming through, I have to catch those non-beneficial seeds. For example, if I ever think to myself, “I have to show this person how much I know,” or proclaiming judgmentally to myself, “God, what is this person doing? Don’t they know anything?” I know I am not coming from the right frame of mind as these are low vibrational qualities. These are about me wanting to be liked and needing to prove my worth. If these stories are operating somewhere in the background, the first adjustment I need to give is my own state of mind and not to another person.

I need to make sure that the place I am coming from is one of sharing the miracle of health and the gift of life with another. I need to feel in my body, mind and heart that I truly have nothing to prove and everything to share.

Step 2: Assessment Phase

Start your assessment process with the Pranayama Kosha—the breath. Is the breath relaxed and full or is it short, choppy, strained or being held? Are they embodying peace and listening to bodily feedback.

ManaMaya Kosha—the Mind: The mindset and the breath are ultimately intimately connected. Is the mindset one of dominating the body? Is there a sense of willfully trying to submit the body even if it means sacrificing the breath? Is the shape the body is taking more important than the feeling of peace and connection?

If the answer is yes, then we need to find strategies to soften and encourage the student to back up to a point where they can enjoy their breath. Often they will need a touch that soothes the side of them that is driven and turns their awareness to the internal experience.

On the level of the Anamaya Kosha—the muscles and bones—we need to scan for joints at risk. This is the biggie. But in general, watch for 1) Sharp angles or joint 2) stress that is concentrated on one joint vs dispersed over several. Know the 12 indispensible joint issues section of the Blissology manual cold. If there is a joint at risk, don’t move to the next phase of the adjustment process, back them out of the pose and start again.

Next, have an eye for whether the student has “yin” (loose) or “yang” (tight) tissues. Are they stable or instable? What is stuck and immobile and what is too loose? Have they lost their lines of DUO*? Their arches?

Yoga student offering an energetic touch adjustment in downward do at the Blissology Yoga Teacher training in BaliStep 3: Attunement Phase

Attunement is huge—it means that there is a harmony between your actions and the recipient. It means the doorway of trust and connection are open; you are both “in sync.” You are a “horse-whisperer.” Your energy matters.

Awareness of Energy and Feelings will come over time but the easiest place to start when you are in the attunement phase is by observing the breath of the recipient. When you touch them, do they clam up, tighten and lose the natural rhythm of their breath?

Don’t forget to check in with your own breath. Is it still deep and relaxed? Stay in your body as well and generate a vibration of kindness and confidence.

Find a soft touch on your partner and don’t adjust too quickly. Are you being “let in” or “shut out?” If you are not being let in, do not adjust your partner.

You need to know that you may not make it past this attunement phase. If you are not energetically in sync, do not proceed to the next steps.

You may not have to walk away, either. There is a little more exploration that needs to happen here.


1) Injury: Is there an injury? This is my go to for noticing why someone may be guarded and not willing to receive an adjustment. When I notice the breath is being held and the body tightening, I simply whisper to my partner, “are you injured?” or, “is this ok?”

2) Ego: Sometimes people are in their egos or from a different school of yoga and they feel that you are not qualified to adjust them. In this case, my response is to observe something in the pose that they are doing well and offer it up to the student. The words, “Nice Pose,” can go a long way to break down a barrier and they will be more likely to receive what you are offering.

Especially in the case of our Blissology Alignment system where the principles and methodology are new to many yogis, you will need a strategy to help them work with you. The compliment and redirect strategy can work well here. I often say “Nice Pose” and then complete the sentence with “… but let’s try it this way today.”

3) Trauma: A person may want you in their space: If you just aren’t welcome because a person is not ready to receive touch, that is okay.

If you can not attune with your partner for any of these reasons, as mentioned, do not proceed. But also, do not fret and don’t simply walk away and unplug.

In our course, one thing that will become clear to you is that we all have energy fields that come into contact. And these fields communicate. I believe that 95 percent of teaching yoga is not the adjustment anyway. In a subtle but deep way, offer them the gift of your presence and an energetic blessing before moving on.

If you have attuned with someone, which will be the case the majority of times, then move on to steps 4 and 5.

Step 4: Integration Phase

This concept is easiest understood with a little background in Blissology Alignment principles. To make a long story short, we want to balance out the Yin (down and out force in relation to gravity) and the Yang (in and up force in relation to gravity) force to find a pose that is both stable and integrated yet light and effortless. To do this, we rely on the foundation of the arches and the lines of DUO through the body. A line of DUO is a line of tension that works with other lines to provide support and effortless ease in a pose the way tent pegs hold up a tent.

Integration means the body is functioning as one complete unit. The soft tissues connect the body parts to work synergistically to resist a load placed on the body. When a student is not integrated, the soft tissues do not connect the body parts efficiently and any load placed on the body will create excessive compressive stress on the joints and tissues of the body.

It’s really not as complicated as it sounds. Here is the simple version: In the children’s song, “Dem Dry Bones,” the words are:

“The back bone connected to the neck bone,
The neck bone connected to the head bone”

Let’s say you are sitting on the floor and your neck muscles are limp, not connecting or integrating the head bone to the neck bone to the hip bone. When I press on your head, instead of resistance the head simply flops to the side. If I keep pressing I will have a high risk of hurting your neck. The head does not offer a counterforce into the pressure of my hand as I press but instead moves to the side. This is a non-integrated line from the head to sit bones.

By contrast, if I press on the crown of your head and you utilize muscles like the neck muscles, the abdominals, the diaphragm to integrate the head, neck and spine so it stays elongated as I press into the crown of the head, I know you are integrated.

Step 5: Bracing Phase

Bracing refers to stability. When you give an adjustment to a person, pressure is applied to the body and if someone is not braced, they will be knocked over, especially in poses that require resisting gravity. Therefore when we select the point that we should brace our students from, we need to find the point the will stabilize them against both gravity and our applied force.

warrior2_blissology_yoga_adjustmentThere is another aspect to bracing. It helps to accentuate the adjustment by stabilizing the joint where the stretch occurs, which allows us to move the bone that creates the stretch.

To understand the principle behind how to choose what joint to stabilize or brace, we need to get clear on what muscle we are stretching. For example, in Warrior 2, we are trying to stretch the adductors (figure 1) of the front leg (figure 2). One end of the muscles attach on the pelvis and the other attaches on the thighbone. We know this muscle crosses the front hip joint, therefore the joint where need to brace is the hip joint of the leg that is bent.

There is a sophisticated movement of the braced joint for each of our six families of yoga poses that we will unpack more during our course. I can’t wait to share more.

Step 6: Adjustment Phase

Once a student is integrated and you have found your bracing points and feel attuned with your student we are ready for the grand finale—the adjustment.

The key is to fix one point of the stretch which anatomically is called the origin and move the insertion. In simple English that means that one bone at one end of the muscle we are stretching remains fixed or “braced,” while the bone that attaches to the other end moves.

Back to our Warrior two example: The primary objective is the stretch the adductor muscles. One end of this muscle starts at the pelvis (ischiopubic ramus) and the other end is on the femur bone (linea aspera). The stretch will come from the “tug of war” between these two points, let’s call them teadvanced alignment and adjustments - blissology yoga shcoolam pelvis (figure 2) and team femur (figure 3). A good adjustment will be one that braces the hip joint and moves the femur (hip abduction) to isolate the stretch.

It is important to be receptive, attuned and confident being aware of the sensations of the student.

There are more subtleties and incredible techniques I want to share.  I am so jazzed on them.  Hopefully we get to work together soon. 
Love and Aloha


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