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Fittingly Mad: Don't Touch Me - Yoga Assists Gone Wrong

Fittingly Mad: Don't Touch Me - Yoga Assists Gone Wrong

Over the holidays, I went to a Primary Series yoga class. I pretty much knew what to expect - the sequencing of postures is the same no matter where you take it. But I wasn't expecting Mr. Touchy-Feely Yoga Assistant.

Getting assists in class can be awesome - when they're done correctly and with respect. Assists help with your alignment, and can safely and comfortably get you deeper into a pose.

But this guy was clearly new to assisting, and didn't really have the ever so important "gift of touch." It was more like the "gift of force."

I was peacefully in Butterfly Pose, just enjoying the moment, and Mr. I-Know-What-I'm-Doing came up behind me. Before I could say a thing - he placed both hands on my knees, put his sweaty chest on my back and leaned all his weight into me. I felt a piercing pain in my left hip.

"Oww," I yelled, and pushed him off with my back. "Oh, was that too much," he said. I politely nodded, but thought, "Uh, yeah, you idiot. Don't touch me ever again."

So here's the deal. Only qualified and experienced people, should be laying a finger on you, and only when and if you want them to.

Fit's Tips: Before a new class of any kind, let the instructor know if you have an injury or if you prefer to be left alone. After going to the class for a while, the instructor will get to know your body's limitations, so when they do touch you, they'll know how in a helpful and respectful way.

And be sure to speak up. If someone's doing something you don't like, be sure to tell them instead of breathing through it. Nothing should hurt or make you feel bad in any way.

Join The Conversation
Fitness Fitness 10 years
I can't believe that fitnessgirl.
DStirk DStirk 10 years
i had a major problem with one instructor who smeared this oil on everyone's forheard post class and i have really sensitive skin and even though i asked him not to before the class, he still started putting it on my forhead, just kept saying, "excuse me your eyes are supposed to be closed, this is part of the experience." I got up and walked out, never looked back.
Fitness Fitness 10 years
Kevin - I know what you mean - you don't want to ruin the "mood." Sometimes you just have to breathe through a bad adjustment - but if they're hurting you, you HAVE to say something. Sometimes after class, I'll go and talk to the person who assisted me and thank them if they gave a great assist (you want them to keep it up). On the other hand, if it was not so great, I'll suggest "try this instead." They'll never know unless you tell them. Otherwise they'll just keep on tormenting others, so in a way, it's your duty to help them learn.
kevindineen kevindineen 10 years
I really hate it when people who don't know what they are doing adjust me... but on the other hand, there's an instructor where I go who knows his shit, & don't mind at all when he adjusts me. It all depends on the person who's adjusting me. I like that card idea. I often feel wierd about blurting out.. "No I don't want any" when everyone else is quiet... & sometimes they sneak up on you... awkward...
JessNess JessNess 10 years
ewwwwww thats gross. I seriously dont need anybody touching me. He should have at least asked you if you wanted help with adjusting before trying to break you
Fitness Fitness 10 years
Head Sparkler - I love that idea. Wish that place I went to heard of it too. Those cards make it so everyone is in "the know," and they'll be no mis-reading of body language - and NO injuries.
YogaDawg YogaDawg 10 years
Humm, sounds like the "The High Touch" Yoga Teacher I describe on my site.
bpjedi bpjedi 10 years
head sparkler--that sounds like a good idea.
head-sparkler head-sparkler 10 years
That's terrible. At my yoga studio they keep a basket of little cards at the front desk that read "No adjustments please". If you take one and place it at the front of your mat, they know to let you be. I'm sorry you had such a bad experience.
Beaner Beaner 10 years
One time - there was some serious sexual energy spewing from this guy that was assisting this class I took. He was hanging around this one girl who he clearly was into. After class, he went up to her and asked if she wanted to go out for "chai tea," and she said, "I don't think my husband would appreciate that."
Fitness Fitness 10 years
I know. I'm still hurting from it. I wanted to warn other people before something like that happened to them. Don't get me wrong - I've had some amazing assists and LOVE when people know what they are doing. It can be so helpful. But you're right bpjedi - People should only assist you if they know you and your body.
rubialala rubialala 10 years
I can't believe he would touch at all, let alone all that, without you asking him. What a jerk.
vigilante vigilante 10 years
Geez! Poor you, Fit! I hate touchy feely instructors, seen my share of them. And sweaty, yuck! Glad you told him to back off. Wonder if he'll think twice the next time?
bpjedi bpjedi 10 years
Lame. One of my friends is a pilates instructor, and another one is a yoga instructor (yea free classes when they were training!) and we've had a couple discussions about assists. They break it down this way: they're more inclined to assist someone they've taught before and whose abilities they're aware of, and when people give off a "don't touch me vibe" (which they claim is really easy to read), it is best to leave them along, and perhaps offer verbal assistance instead.
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