Consent in the age of Covid gets ever more complex.
Do you want to sit in the same room as me and breathe the same air?
Should we wear masks? How close is it OK to be?
One of the significant debates in the modern-day yoga world – even before Covid – was around consent.
Particularly consent around touch.
Some schools of yoga glorify the potential healing power of touch as if it should always be welcomed, others mandate the teacher ask, “may I touch?” before every interaction, while there are some that argue teachers should not touch students until they have many years of experience.
Over the last couple of years, consent chips or consent cards have become a way of encouraging yoga practitioners to signal whether they are OK with receiving hands-on assists or not.
I actually feel that is a healthy development: an acknowledgment that consent should be central.
Because one of the most significant things a person can learn is that their space, their body, their yoga mat, is THEIRS and they have an absolute right to say “yes” or “no” to what happens there.
Though right now, Covid has taken away much of that choice: hugging, let alone touching virtual strangers is seriously unacceptable for now!!!
But there are still moments of personal choice, for instance whether to turn the camera on or not in Zoom, or whether to do the pose offered by the teacher or do something different.
I believe knowing that one has choice – and that it is healthy to exercise choice – is one of the most useful life-skills we can practice in yoga.
On the Inspiratrix Yoga Teacher training, we make the space for difficult discussions about the nature of yoga and how it is evolving. Details of our next 200 hour programme are here, book a chat with Claire to ask your difficult questions about the programme.