There has been a lot of media attention about inappropriate physical contact between yoga teachers & students. This does not mean we have to stop adjusting. Touch is fundamental to human experience. Of course, touch can also hurt. With good reason, we have made moves to protect our students & ourselves. We should always gain consent first & implement strong boundaries. Students need to feel safe. ‘Safe touch’ doesn’t have to mean ‘no touch’.
But, non-sexual abuse of power over students also has an impact. This includes belittling, labelling, ostracising, ignoring, dismissing, intimidating & any form of public humiliation.
This behaviour disrupts the trust & nurturing necessary to achieve any yoga teaching goal, leaving students feeling shamed, powerless & can instill long-term effects. As teachers, we too are human; often the students we attract mirror our own journey, subsequently offering potentiality for personal growth.
Being a yoga teacher means engaging in serious self-inquiry. Our main purpose is to be of service to students. If our teaching is only self-serving & ego based, we are not acting with integrity. We must become ruthlessly self-honest. Just like peeling layers of an onion, many of our thoughts & beliefs are based on assumptions about ourselves & the world, typically generated by our life experiences & the effects that people have had on us.
When we turn our attention inward we can begin to identify the thoughts & beliefs that are limiting. When we connect with this deep level of self awareness, we open the door to understand & practice true patience, humility, empathy & compassion which will transpire into our teaching & for our students it can become much more transformational.