Posts tagged permission to touch
Why I Stopped Giving Assists in Yoga, Even Though I Love Them The Most

My love language is touch. It is how I express caring and how I most readily feel loved.  When practicing yoga in a class, being assisted is always one of my favorite parts. For most of the 6 years that I have been teaching, I’ve assumed that everyone wanted to be assisted, never asking preference at the beginning of classes. The honest reason, despite The Four Agreements teaching us to not make assumptions, is because I had just never given it any thought. Now with that being said, I do know that many of my students have expressed appreciation for assists and adjustments that I have given them, but still to generalize is an assumption. As of about a month ago, I decided to stop assisting in my classes, for a variety of reasons.

Most basically, when I learned about The 5 Love Languages, it deepened my realization of how we can all be a little different from one another. Some people just don’t like to be touched. Also, although I believe I am tuned in enough to another person so as to not cause pain or injury, I know that there are many instructors who are not and I also know that I could be completely wrong about the assessment I just made of myself, and would not want to cause pain to others.

On a deeper level, the rise of the #metoo movement brought a deeper awareness of this issue of trauma. According to NSVRC one in six men and one and three women have or will have experienced so form of sexual violence in their lifetime. Although many students have expressed gratitude for assists, some are just kind. By being kind, they may have not mentioned if I had somehow triggered an old trauma, and just kept that part to themselves. It is even possible that I have had students stop coming to my class or worse stop practicing yoga altogether for that reason.

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