Yoga: On Physical Assists and Consent

Consent for physical assists during yoga classes.

CorePower Yoga instructors are trained to ask students at the beginning of each class, while in a pose where only they can see students, to "raise your hand if you'd like to keep your practice private/not receive assists."

This never sat right with me. You're asking folks to opt out of touch, instead of to opt in. Given that I've taught for coming up on one year, this opt-out approach has resulted in rarely 1 student per class - if that - raise their hand to opt out.

So over the past month, I've changed the question to "raise your hand if you would like to receive an assist or two during class."

The fascinating part about this? On average, during each class, only 50 - 75% of students will raise their hands to indicate "yes." The rest will not.

So what does this mean? Asking students to opt IN is a safer and more accurate method to gauge consent to physical touches. And is in line with best practices for consent.

Just something to think about from your friendly neighborhood sexual health educator and yoga instructor!

Setting up for class!

Setting up for class!

Sameera Qureshi