Every teacher has a different approach to the postures of their students. Some believe "I say Warrior 2, it is the student's responsibility to meet me there." Some believe that wherever we may land in a posture is the "perfect posture for that day." Some are meticulous about verbal cue-ing, telling the students specific bodily instructions like "rotate the hip slightly inward and push down through the outside corner of your back foot."
Each teacher also has a different philosophy about whether to do "hands-on assists" on the students. Some will push rather forcefully to get a student deeper into a posture. Others massage or lightly touch the students to help them relax or direct their focus. My personal philosophy is to do corrections, sometimes hands-on, but never assist.
It is difficult or impossible to tell where a student is at in their practice. Where are they focusing? Are they tight, sore or injured today? Are they trying something new? If we (teachers) assist their posture, we take them out of their own practice and demand that they do ours. Their focus gets drawn away from where they were and necessarily to where we are pushing or stretching them. I consider this to be contrary to the goals of teaching.
On the other hand, if a student is executing a posture in a way that will be damaging to his or her body, it is our duty to correct their form. We should insist upon correct technique and alignment to the best of the student's ability. (Sometimes weakness or tightness makes proper form impossible. In those cases, we can help steer the student in the right direction.)
I think the largest amount of responsibility for each person's practice lies within themselves. A teacher can illuminate new paths and guide the student away from pitfalls, but the work must be done by the student.
This journal honors my ongoing experience with the practice, study and teaching of yoga.
1) Sridaiva Yoga: Good Intention But Imbalanced
2) Understanding Chair Posture
2) Why I Don't Use Sanskrit or Say Namaste
3) The Meaningless Drudgery of Physical Yoga
5) Beyond Bikram: Why This Is a Great Time For Ghosh Yoga