To Touch or Not to Touch in Yoga Class? 

  • Savasana…the best part of yoga class when we lie down on our backs and do nothing but breathe. We soak in the fruits of our efforts. We drift off into our consciousness  in a blissfully relaxed state, legs straight, palms facing upwards to receive energy from the universe, mind blank…that is until something happens to break our state of non-concentration. Something that makes us think and analyze takes us out of that place and into the thinking mind is a disturbance and unwelcome distraction. 

Yesterday at the end of a hot vinyasa class, the guy next to me reached out and grabbed my hand, holding it throughout savasana.  I didn’t know what to think. Was it a namaste kind of gesture of connectedness? Or was it a creepy way to flirt with me? 

Whatever it was, my mind quickly diverted to thinking about WHY he was holding my hand and wishing he would let go of me. I felt violated! It was so weird; it was like I was assaulted by a yoga version of Donald Trump just going around grabbing women if he feels like it. 

Only once before has someone in class reached out to hold my hand, and it was a kind woman I met on a yoga retreat in Aruba. We were holding frog pose (an intense hip opener), and I was crying a little bit (when we open our hips we also release deep seated emotions). That time I knew it was a friendly gesture of support. It actually touched me deeply that she would reach out and hold my hand in support. I also love it when the teachers come by and give a neck and shoulder massage during savasana or gently press on the lower back during a child pose.  But I think what this guy did crossed the line. 
I do know him; he isn’t a stranger. In fact he used to talk to me quite often after class. Once, he asked me out. I told him I’m happily involved in a long-distance relationship, so I wasn’t interested in going out with him. Nonetheless, I was flattered and thanked him anyway.  Since then, he hasn’t talked to me much.  In fact, I’ve seen him talking quite a bit to another lady, and they usually take classes together and place their mats together. So I thought he had found himself a girlfriend.  The weird thing is yesterday, when he held my hand during savasana, she was on the other side of him! I wondered if he was also holding her hand?! I wondered if he always grabbed people’s hands who were next to him?!  Could that really be the case? 

I only want to hold hands with my boyfriend or my son during savasana. Holding hands during savasana is one of my favorite parts of practicing with both of them.  We share an intimate connection during those minutes. It’s a special experience just being and breathing with people whom I love dearly.  

But this guy?  No thanks. It was so awkward. I wondered what he would say or do at the end of class, and strangely he didn’t even make eye contact with me. I just rolled up my mat and left. 

Next time I have to practice next to him, I think I’ll skip that class and get a different workout. I was late for class and that was the only spot available. I hope in the future it never happens again. Namaste as far away from him as I can! 

I’m curious to hear from other yogis and yoginis and yoga teachers about their experiences and opinions on boundaries in yoga class. 
Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out! 

Advertisements