I went to a yoga class last week where the teacher came from behind me and rubbed tiger balm mixed with something icky all over my neck and it splogged on my toe. I felt really annoyed because she didn’t ask and I didn’t like it. The guy next to me was visibly watering at the eyes as his dose had been too strong – we spent the rest of the class looking at each other’s burning eyes in despair. Hoping she wouldn’t come back and do it again.
Even with my longest standing clients I ask if they want to be assisted or mind me touching them or not as some days they feel OK and some they don’t.
Part of the initial assessment process is a questionnaire we go through in person or online which helps me to understand what things might make someone feel uncomfortable, what people like, dislike, have experienced in the past and to highlight any areas of my practice that might be sensitive to the person. Each person has had very different experiences and what is OK with one, will not be OK with another. Nothing can be assumed or taken for granted.
Before we even get to the touching I have to see how they feel about me being in their personal space, their flat and home, then being in their personal space and then, only then, touching.
It is a process and journey getting to know another person and how to work with them and even when you think you know, you must stay open and aware of how moods and feelings might be different from day to day. The work we do can put people in a vulnerable position emotionally as they work with their body in new ways and try to break old habits and put themselves out of their comfort zone.
I can resonate with this article as I have some issues myself where certain things will trigger a panic reaction in me, and they can be seemingly simple things that someone else might not be aware of. We shouldn’t go around on tip toes scared to upset people, but body work is a sensitive area and we should be compassionate towards others and take these things into consideration.