There's been quite a bit of chatter lately on hands-on adjustments or assists. Yoga touch, or hands on touching, is very personal, whether one is suffering from trauma, abuse, PTSD or a simple preference on respecting personal boundaries, my goal is for everyone to feel safe in our yoga classes while also reaping the benefits of proper alignment for each pose.
Yoga consent is a discreet way for students to say when they want a hands-on assist, and when they would prefer to be left in peace.
For many, just walking into a yoga studio is a huge first step, the idea of a teacher touching in any way to adjust can be troubling in various ways.
Whether you practice yoga in a children's or adult studio class, on-site corporate classes, in our addictions recovery classes or private lessons, gaining permission to assist or touch in some way to help make adjustments to better align in each pose will done.
How will I offer assists?
Verbal: If you've taken one of my classes you'll often hear me give verbal cues either to the class or near a particular student to help them with their alignment or the pose itself. Sometimes, however, verbal cues may not help the student to fully understand what we mean, so alternate methods may be used so that the student gains as much benefit as possible from the pose and also prevents injury.
Props: Blocks, straps, blankets, rolled up socks, even 'going to the wall' are often used to help a student practice asanas and breath control with greater ease, stability and effectiveness.
Touch: For hands on adjustment touch can be more direct and effective than verbal cues. Touch can allow the student to get out of their heads and focus more on their body. Sometimes verbal cues simply aren't enough, but a light touch or direction using hands can be all the student needs to move easily and appropriately into each pose. A few benefits of touch:
Respect for each other: in the new year I'll offer cards that will be discreet and double sided so that you can adjust your preference as class moves along. One side says Yes I'd Love an Assist, whereas the other side will simply say No Thank You. At any time during class you can flip the card, this will allow me to respect your personal space as I walk around and adjust either using verbal cues or light touch.
Remember yoga is non-judgmental, everyone is here for their own personal reasons and on any given day their needs may change so please respect each persons decision and not call to attention which side they choose.