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When I work with children, I do very little hands-on adjustment. Honestly, alignment isn’t as pertinent with children as it is with adults, so there is no need to be nit-picky and adjustment is usually unnecessary.
Usually if I’m doing a hands-on adjustment with a child, it’s because either (a) I am teaching a movement that is particularly difficult to figure out without guidance, or (b) I am teaching a pose that can be dangerous if done inappropriately. For example, I will always adjust/spot children on inversions until I am extremely confident that they can hold them on their own.
The sadder reason why I rarely adjust is because we live in a very litigious society and we all have to be careful about how we touch children in any context…even yoga. While I’ve never heard of anyone being sued for inappropriately touching a child in yoga, you still have to be very careful. In fact, when you purchase your liability insurance, make sure that your policy covers such an incident, should you ever be unfairly charged with sexual misconduct (God willing, you never will!).
When you do have to adjust, here are a few pointers:
(1) Before touching a child, tell them, “I am going to hold/touch you right here [name or point to the area]. Is that okay with you?” If they say yes (which they will), you’re cool.
(2) Be especially careful when touching children on the hips, shoulder, or any other area near their private parts. When holding children’s hips to help them jump into handstand, for example, make sure to hold them lightly and as close to the outer hip as possible.
(3) If you can, avoid touching children by either demonstrating the move yourself or by pointing to the part of their bodies that you want to move instead of actually touching them.
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