… or not? A story of ‚consent’ and ‚permission’! Often times I get asked by students what I think about ‚hands on‘, adjustments in Yoga.
My answer is, that I prefer the students to get absorbed by their practice without me interrupting them in their spiritual experience. I agree with the participants anyhow, for whenever they d like assistance to give me just a small hand sign. But I m aware that there are those who love adjustments. Of course! Because they can bring us a flash of unexperienced energy flow when the body is entering a new ground. Plus they can be some sort of a massage, or maybe even the very rare physical human contact some persons might experience in their given life circumstances. But unfortunately, there are also the students who are having a crush on a yoga teacher and are playing with flirtacious energy and really enjoying the attention and maybe even sensual contact they are being given. As well as those students who just think that Yoga obviously is a practice where your wearing very sexy clothes, putting yourself in positions you’d usually only chose when your connecting to your partner intimately. And then without consent or permission a stranger comes to touch you in unexpected ways.
And this is just the students side. But there is also the second person, the teacher, who is just another un-enlightened being on a path of growth.
My best Yoga class experience with assists and hands on, were taking place in Rishikesh, India. The very mindful and respectful Sikh Indian Hatha Yoga teacher assisted purely with hand and body gestures he did in the air in front of the student. Copying with his body what he wanted me to change or to try out in a pose. These assists led my body to learn how to do it by myself, were incredibly subtle and helpful, and are my all time favorite assists. There are other great ways of assisting away from the invasive touch. A gentle touch to shoulders, the back, the heels – in consent with the student, can go a long way!
Fortunately, I personally never suffered the described abuse of the below article. I had the great luck that all teachers I studied with were experienced, spiritually developed and mature enough to not give space for any flirtatious energies. At this point I also wanna express my appreciation for Ashtanga Yoga Mysore Style, which I practiced for several years and found it very beneficial during that period.
I truly prefer to share uplifting news, whenever so possible. Especially when it comes to Yoga, which to me has ever since the beginning been a path of healing. But – just as sun and shadow usually appear alltogether – we as a Yoga community must also open our eyes to the reality that is present in modern Yoga history with all its teachers and Gurus. Which hopefully the majority of the times are truthful beings having the best intentions. But unfortunately, there are also those who are just being some very confused, misled, manipulative and suffering human beings abusing their position as a teacher.
To close, there are two quotes out of the below posted article: ‚There is almost no historical evidence for yoga teachers physically adjusting their students prior to the 1930s “Mysore Asana Revival”. At that time … a practice that had long been taught through oral instruction … ((changed, and ))… American and European students believed his adjustments to be “traditional”. ‚Many dogmas surrounding Yoga pedagogy need to be revised including the belief in methods and gurus as infallible, and the subsequent emphasis on submission rather than intuition and reasoning‘.