Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sexual Abuse in yoga? um, No.

 I was skimming The New York Times website and came across an article about yoga teachers making adjustments during class. Apparently, some people have been so uncomfortable, they've tried taking it to court.

Here's an excerpt from the article by Emily Rueb:

Michael O’Brien Keating, a Denver lawyer who has represented individuals in claims against yoga studios, took on a case in Colorado filed by a practitioner who alleged that an improper adjustment had led to an injury.

The matter was resolved out of court, but Mr. Keating, who dabbles in yoga himself, sees a large gray area in manipulating and adjusting students.

“The difficulty is that you have people in class who aren’t very athletic,” he said, “or who are getting into compromised positions” and may feel uncomfortable speaking up if an adjustment doesn’t feel right.

Each style of yoga also approaches adjustments differently. For instance, Mysore is more aggressive, Mr. Brown said, citing videos of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the Ashtanga guru, pushing a man’s head to his knee in a forward bend.

It’s impossible for a teacher — even when working with experienced and familiar students — to know a person’s complete medical history or his or her emotional state on a particular day. 

Well, obviously, just because a person is certified to teach a yoga class, they cannot read minds, or determine someone's past, especially if it is a new face in the studio. From my experience, and I have taken lots and lots of yoga classes in at least 10 different cities, the teacher usually WILL say, If you are uncomfortable with me giving you an adjustment, please let me know, and I will not adjust you. A person should be able to say no if they are truly not comfortable with being touched in any way, even if the teacher is just trying to show them a possibly, better way to ease into the pose. I have never felt uncomfortable when I have been adjusted, even if it is a man!

I know that after I become certified this summer and start teaching a yoga class eventually, I will offer adjustments- to me AND women- but I will always, always always, make sure they are okay with it, like most of my trusted yoga instructors. 

Maybe it's just me, but I find it hard to believe some people think yoga teachers are going to use their class as a way to get off and fulfill their sexual desires by "inappropriately" touching someone in a yoga pose. Please. GROW UP horn dogs, get a problem.

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