Touch Me Here, NOT THERE! (Important and Serious Lesson)

Updated: Jul 5, 2021

In this article I will break down an important aspect of practicing acro. Which is consent, relating to where the appropriate places to touch and not touch are as an acro yogi and learning how to say 'NO' too...


The topic of consent and touching in acro is something that I will probably talk about every so often.

Even if I sometimes sound a bit like a broken record, I don't mind because I think it's important, and something that some people probably need to hear.

I had a chat with one of my friends in Japan recently, and she shared a story about two different incidents of people in acro communities that were arrested for sexual assault charges.

I'm not going to go into specific details of what happened.

But I do want to share an important lesson that my friend had and shared with me.

Which is...

To trust your gut instinct and your feelings!

In one of the cases mentioned above my friend was actually giving private acro lessons to the man who was eventually arrested.

She told me that she felt slightly uncomfortable during their first session, she felt uneasy and didn't feel very comfortable with his touches.

In future sessions, she then dressed in more covering clothes and was very wary when giving the lessons.

She eventually decided to stop teaching him completely because she felt uncomfortable, although he hadn't done anything specifically accusable in that instance.

It later turned out he sexually assaulted someone in a different setting and got arrested for it (thankfully justice prevailed).

But back to the lesson here...

I am really proud that my friend was able to trust and recognise her gut reaction and feelings that something wasn't right.

I think this is a super important lesson for everyone to take away.

Because that is exactly what our gut feeling is there for.

It's designed to protect us, to let us know when something feels off or isn't right. So you should really trust it and listen to it when it's saying something to you.

Especially for those of you who are less experienced in acro, or maybe if you've just never encountered any discomfort with others in acro, then it's important to feel empowered and say no, or call out if something doesn't feel right.

Obviously acro involves touching with hands and feet in some strange places at times, that is part of the practice.

But the intention and feeling behind each touch are what counts, and that is something that you can't hide.

We, in our human nature as animals, are great at feeling and sensing the intentions and emotions behind a touch that we receive. We sense it in our gut and in our emotional body.

So the most important thing is to trust that and tap into it.

If you feel uncomfortable or weird or like something doesn't quite feel right in the way someone is touching, communicating or interacting with you in acro (or in life in general).

Trust that feeling, because it's feeling that way for a reason.

How you react and deal with those feelings is a whole other topic, but essentially take some positive action to keeping yourself and others safe.

In an acro situation either remove yourself from the situation and person and talk to someone you trust or you think can help.

Or if you feel capable speak to the person directly, ask them what their intentions are, and tell them you feel uncomfortable etc.

There are other options and ways of dealing with this, and it is very dependent on the exact situation.

But the main point of my message which I hope you're getting is to...

TRUST YOUR GUT INSTINCTS!

I am really grateful my friend shared this story with me and allowed me to share it here with you too.

I think it's also important to share and talk about these topics, to help educate, raise awareness, and ultimately help each other and our communities to be safer, friendlier and more conscious spaces where we can enjoy the positive things that this amazing practise brings us.




SPEAKERS

Sheryl, Callan


Callan

Let's explore one essential part of Acroyoga. Touch. Where is it appropriate for your partner to touch and how to say 'NO' before your partner crosses the line. Welcome back to another exciting episode of The Acroyoga Show.


Sheryl

We are your host today. This is Callan


Callan

And this is Sheryl, And today we are going to be going over the importance of


Sheryl

Touch and consent


Callan

And how Acroyoga is a non-sexual practice. We will also be exploring some creative shapes


Sheryl

And communication


Callan

Yeah.


Sheryl

Now we're going to talk about power imbalance.


Callan

A power imbalance occurs when one partner is significantly more experienced than the other partner. Sometimes manipulations, take space, knowingly and unknowingly.


Sheryl

But remember, Acroyoga is a consent-based practice.


Callan

And so if you are a more experienced Acro Yogi or you're a teacher, it's always important to let somebody that is newer to know that they can exercise they know and also to be respectful of something they may or may not express that they want to do yet,


Sheryl

Touch is the oldest form of communication.

Touch can be warm and healing, but at the same time, touch can be also cold and hurting. Acroyoga can bring up some past trauma around touch.


It is important to create a safe space for both partners.

Fear should be listened to and understood.


Acroyoga can be super therapeutic for people who are ready to move on, from their past trauma.


In Acroyoga, sometimes you touch people where you shouldn't. "Stop". Apologize immediately. Mistakes happen.


If you choose to say 'NO', be specific with your wishes, but not demanding. Explain to your partner what you're not comfortable doing. And if it's okay with you explain also why.


We all are humans, your partner might be more understanding than you imagine and tell them NO and offer an alternative.


It is tricky to say no to your partner. Sometimes, they take it personally and may get offended.

Due to the intimate nature of Acroyoga and physical touch. Romance issue can arise.


Don't assume you can flirt or hitting on with your partners. Especially if you are a teacher. Don't do this to your students. It's just not okay to hit on your students and use your power as a teacher.


Callan

Let's explore one essential part of Acroyoga, Touch where is it appropriate for your partner to touch and how to say 'Nooo' before your partner crosses the line. Consent is an important part of this movement practice. Along with things like partner dancing, contact improv, and bodywork


Sheryl

Where the thought is very important in Acroyoga. Usually, we use our hands and feet to support each other. But sometimes we use other parts of our body.


Callan

If either partner feels uncomfortable with a pose or a body part, it is important to express your know early on. We want to create a safe container for you and your partner to explore.


Sheryl

Communication is a vital aspect of Acroyoga to bring more safety to your practice.


Callan