Training Thursday: Deb L. and Shigeko complete advanced assisting training at Sanctuary!

Welcome to Training Thursday, the occasional feature where we spotlight the ongoing training that teachers are completing!

Today we look south to Nashville, to Sanctuary for Yoga, where Deb Logan and Shigeko Sleeper recently completed a 30-hour weekend module titled “Getting Off the Mat: Advanced Assisting in the Flow.” This module is one of the five core modules in Sanctuary’s 300-hour teacher-training program, and it was taught by Tom Larkin and Daphne Larkin, Sanctuary’s founders.

We asked Deb and Shigeko about their most substantial lessons from the training, and here is what they each shared:

We learned a wide variety of “assists” that addressed the challenges of helping individual students during a flow class–how to observe students as they practice, how to assess individual situations quickly and efficiently, and how to help facilitate student access to poses during a flow sequence. These assists ranged from simple to elaborate, with and without props, and from hands-on to verbal cueing.

Our course was guided by the idea that “Everybody / Every Body is different.” As teachers, our role is to help students find ways to experience the benefits of a yoga practice adapted to their bodies, to their health conditions, and to any other varying circumstances.


The biggest lesson I learned from this module is this: if assisting of the poses is done by a trained teacher, the students can feel much more space in the muscles, through the spine, or wherever the pose is intended to help liberate the body. Working intensively for three days both assisting fellow teachers and being assisted by them, I expected that I would have aches and pains at the conclusion. In reality, my body feels much better than before the training.

In my classes, I have done very limited assisting so far, but I will try, with their permission, to assist my students to come to different poses so that they can experience the liberation I experienced during this training.


In case you were wondering about our studio policy for hands-on assists, it is to provide them only with student consent. We have chips available in the props closet for teachers to provide for students to indicate whether or not they would like to be touched in a class. Of course, students are always able to change their minds at any point during class, as well.

We look forward to practicing with Deb L. and Shigeko in August!

Group photograph of seven participants and two teachers for the "Getting Off the Mat" training module.
Training group for Getting Off the Mat: Advanced Assisting in the Flow
Sanctuary for Yoga—July 28, 2019
From left: Shigeko, Daphne Larkin, Deb
From right: Tom Larkin
This entry was posted in Training Thursdays and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.