dimanche 17 février 2019

Clarifying Your Intention: Maintaining Appropriate Boundaries

Clarifying Your Intention

Maintaining Appropriate Boundaries


Everything we think can be transmitted and felt through touch. Thus as we place our hands on students, our intention and focus are critical factors in delivering an excellent adjustment. The power of an adjustment stems not just from the physical movement, but also from our ability to connect deeply with our students and offer them what they need most.
 Just as you might set an intention for a yoga practice, so we also set an intention when giving hands-on adjustments. Before we place our hands on any students, we must be sure our intention is only to serve their “highest good.” We can interpret the meaning of that phrase any way we like as long as our focus is on what is best for the student. 
Sometimes we harbor judgments about students. We may know this person outside of class, or we may think the student is cute or creepy, or we may have heard a rumor about this person. If we think the student is cute, they feels that in our touch, which might cross boundaries and elicit potentially inappropriate feelings from the student. If we think the student is creepy, the student senses that, too, and might feel hurt and judged. Many people attend yoga class to be free of any kind of expectations or judgments and if we muddy the waters with an unclear touch, we might break the student’s faith in the yogic process. 

When in Doubt: Don’t touch 
As teachers (and humans), we are not perfect. Judgments creeps in. This is an opportunity for us to notice where we are having difficulty shedding our judgments and do some of our own inner work on these feelings. In the meantime, we wait until we can clear our minds before touching these students. Once the mind is clear and we are ready to serve, then the adjustments we give will be all the more powerful.
 Remember, the correct intention is simply to serve the highest good. There is no specific desire or wish for what that means. If we approach the student thinking he or she should do this or that (she should be able to bind here, he should not go up into handstand) then we are also on dangerous ground.
 In general, it’s a good idea to remove “should” and “shouldn’t” from the yoga room lexicon. We want to free students from the boundaries and limitations these words create. And students are often capable of so much more than both we and they initially think, which leaves room for exciting 
possibilities.

In the quest to serve the student’s highest good in the yoga class, this does not always mean bringing the student more deeply into a pose or pushing them beyond their current state, but simply looking for ways to create more freedom and relieve tension. Sometimes this can manifest in making a posture more easeful or modified for the student so they feel a freer expression of the pose. It can be in supportive ways like giving a student a block or a strap. Or, it can be to bring students beyond what they thought was possible and help them realize their full potential.
When we, as teachers, are unfettered by expectations or judgments, then our students are free to be whatever their hearts most desire. And, best of all, we become receptive to that.


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