In the #MeToo era, the discussion around consent is more prevalent than ever. Yoga has one of the most intimate workout environment, where touching strangers is often required. Many yoga teachers give hands-on assistance or adjustments, but as helpful as this is it doesn’t make everyone feel comfortable.
Whether someone has a history of abuse, has body issues, or just doesn’t like being touched by a stranger, the thought of a yoga instructor touching them during a class can be scary. So scary in fact that many people opt out of attending yoga classes to avoid this.
Yoga studios now have a solution. Many have begun using consent cards in their classes. These cards passed out beforehand have “yes” on one side and “no” on the other to indicate to instructors whether or not they’re comfortable with physical assistance during a lesson.
Yoga teachers often walk around a class to help students that may be struggling or need adjustment on a certain pose. Stopping their instruction to get a verbal “yes” or “no” as to whether they can help them by touching can interrupt the flow of a class. Consent cards provide an easy way that students can give their consent clearly without drawing attention from the whole class.
The concept has already begun being used in Canada and the US. So far it has been well received and even been empowering for both students and teachers. It allows students to clearly state their consent and what they’re comfortable with, and it allows teachers to easily identify who is open to touch and who isn’t.
Many studios have also seen an increase in sign-ups since implementing it. If someone was avoiding yoga classes because of the touching, either consciously or unconsciously, now they feel they have a safe way to say no.
These consent cards can either be purchased through a company or homemade. Studios who use them are putting up signs near the entrance to explain their use to any new customers. The system still isn’t perfect. Some yoga studios believe using them should be mandatory for everyone in the class so that no one feels singled out, while others believe using them should be encouraged but not required.
How do you feel about using consent cards? Feel free to contact us to express your opinion on them or sign up for one of our classes today!