Touch. It’s something that the Pandemic has showed us that we truly NEED as human beings. It’s been over a year since we’ve been “physically distanced” and not been able to do some of the things we normally do, including hugging some of our loved ones. And while touch is necessary and can bring feels of connection and love, there are times when touch is unwanted. At Yoga North, where I did my training, we utilize Brave Space Guidelines, for classes, and really all that we do. We utilize these guidelines at Sacred Health, to help establish a space where you feel comfortable, safe, heard, and held.
We want you to know, that if you ever feel unsafe, or like something doesn’t feel right for you, we want to know about it. We are aware that many of you….. many of us, have had trauma in our lives. No matter what the trauma, there are things that might make you feel uncomfortable. We know we can’t make the space perfect for everyone. For instance, I had someone tell me once that my long whitish/blond hair was a trigger for them. I also have a friend and colleague who told me that yoga classes where water is used terrifies her – even references to being on a beach, because she had a traumatic event on a beach. For others, allowing yourself to go to the beach (in your mind) in a class is calming and relaxing.
What we WILL promise you, is to make you feel as safe as possible, and allow you to be brave in our space. To be brave enough to go to a class with the instructor with the hair that reminds you of someone in your past, and to help you through it, to help you even be ok with it. We WILL promise you that we will ask permission if we choose to come into your space, and if we feel touch would assist you in getting the most out of the movement we’re doing, we will let you know how and why. We don’t use touch a lot in our classes, and we also don’t want to limit ourselves to no touching, as touch can be an amazing tool in many ways. In therapeutic SomaYoga, we use touch very differently than you might have experienced in other yoga classes.
In SomaYoga, we encourage you to use Interoception, where you pay attention to what you’re sensing and feeling on the inside to both make the movements, and make adjustments in how you move. There are times, that all of us have difficulty knowing HOW to move. There are places, especially in the our core muscles where our brain just doesn’t get much information about what’s happening in these muscles. We might first encourage you to use your own hand to tap or press on an area, to bring awareness to it. And there are times when we might want to offer our own touch to a place that’s difficult to reach, or to guide you to either find a muscle, or even how to release a chronically tight muscle. For instance, I had very little awareness of how to move my Left shoulder blade. I can remember plainly, when Molly, from Yoga North, asked to come into my space and if it was ok to place her hand between my shoulder blade and spine. With the touch of her hand, and the gentle guidance of how to move the muscle I wasn’t connecting with, I learned how to move it again. And, I’ve been able to move it since. Without that use of touch by her, I might not have learned that, or it may have taken a lot more time for me to figure it out.
We want you to feel welcome. We want to feel and be safe. We want to hold space for you to feel brave enough to show up – online or in person, and know that we will do our best to honor your wishes regarding touch, AND help you feel welcome in our community. We’re sorry for any experiences you’ve had that weren’t welcome. Regardless of how we, or anybody else feels about touch, your consent will always be required, and your ability to decline belongs to nobody else but you. In our space, you are in control of your body, your space, and your sense of safety. Your body is yours only. We hope to be a part of your healing.
Hi everyone! Sabbath here. As the owner of Sacred Health, I want to echo what Pam is saying above - This blog post is our promise to you that we will do everything we can to make our Space feel Safe. If there is ever anything I can do to help with this; please reach out. Likewise, if you've experienced misconduct of any kind in a yoga space, I am absolutely happy to help line you up with resources, assistance, support, and advocacy. Your consent is not an option, our instructors will always ask before adjusting you. If you prefer absolutely no adjustments, you can place a note on your class registration that requests no adjustments. The only people that will be able to see that are you and the instructor.