Recommendation: Yoga’s Touch, by Martia Bennett Rachman

My down-the-interstate neighbor in Black Mountain, North Carolina, Martia Rachman, has produced an absolutely beautiful book on yoga assists and, more broadly, a safe and effective approach to the practice. Here’s the blurb I wrote for Yoga’s Touch: Hands-On Adjustments, Alignment, and Verbal Cues:

Learning good hands-on assists helps teachers best serve their students. But most teacher training programs don’t have the time and space to delve deep into this individualized art. Honing assisting skills takes hundreds of hours of practice with a colleague, with lots of back-and-forth discussion and adjustments. Martia Rachman’s beautiful Yoga’s Touch is just the book to guide you as you practice.

With beautiful photos and clear words, the book gives exact instructions on how to get a student into each pose and how to enhance the student’s experience while there. The reason for and execution of each assist is laid out so cleanly that you could teach yourself straight from the book, or use it, as I intend to, as a workbook for practicing assists I’ve received and enjoyed as well as those I’ve learned over the years in various assisting workshops.

The first part of the book contains another beautifully clear set of instructions on how to use the more subtle elements of the pranic body to create the healthiest flow of energy to support a continuing practice. And lest we get too in our heads while working through the fabulous instructions, Rachman constantly reminds us to breathe and smile.

Yoga’s Touch belongs on every teacher training syllabus and in every yoga teacher’s library.

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Note the detail, right down to Martia’s left big toe!

I’ll reiterate that this book is extremely well done—lots of care went into the writing and the super-clear photography. At the Yoga’s Touch website, you can also order a poster to help you remember the assists as you lead private lessons. Teachers: get yourself a copy, then take some time to move through the assists with a colleague, sharing lots of feedback along the way. Your skills will sharpen with practice, and you’ll have another arrow in your quiver of tools to help your students feel better.yogatouchmethod_image_printbook-199x300