Dear Yoga Teacher: Please Touch Me.

Tell me, touch me, fix me, please — and when I say fix, I don’t mean a lecture on spirituality, I mean proper body positioning to avoid an injury. The right way, the wrong way — why don’t we get adjustments in class?

I bring this up for a few reasons — recently I have had:

1. A shoulder injury.

2. More people tell me lately, “I tried a Yoga class, went in feeling fine, but came out hurting and put-off.”

3. Some ego/soapbox blah blah in class.

4. A bit of frustration.

Enter the pain (physically and mentally) Hmm, that doesn’t bode well for Yoga and it shouldn’t be that way. Yep, I said shouldn’t.

While I understand that each studio and teacher has his or her own thing, the fading instruction, coupled with a lot of chatter, has never stirred up my soul so much with contradiction. The concern with proper body positioning is that it seems something has been lost in translation — and that something is touch.

In class, we are directed to:

1. Look in the mirror, or not look in the mirror.

2. Not watch or compare our practice to our neighbor’s. Do what feels right. There is no right.

3. Stretch our bodies to the edge, but not ever do anything that hurts.

4. It isn’t a competition, and child’s pose can be taken whenever we need to rest.

Okay, great, but what about my lines, my knee, head, arm and hand placement? And honestly, I really don’t want to be preached at or preached to. Trust me, I know my demons well (but that is another rant).

Gentle explanations with incense and a Namaste are a nicety, but I would rather have my teacher take my foot or hip and put it in the right direction, or give me an easy reminder to use my core as they brush my belly, or better yet; a demonstration followed by monkey (me) see monkey do, then they hold us, spot us or stand sentinel as we perform the pose.

I truly know that it takes time to properly adjust every student, and time is of the essence when we are trying to fit our practice into our busy days, but it is far more important that we get the corrections.

It wasn’t too long ago that my shoulder starting hurting. I had been practicing on my own for over six months as we were traveling on our boat. I developed a bad habit, a bad line.

So when I got back to the studio, I inquired, and it was a beautiful experienced teacher who touched me, talked with me (not at me) and gratefully, she put me straight. I was out of alignment when going into Chaturanga Dandasana, and it had taken a toll on my shoulders.

Is it too much to ask?

Perhaps, but I fell in love with Yoga and I want to keep my practice alive with a little touch. We all need it; it is a human thing to do, but more importantly, one slight minor adjustment makes a world of difference.

I have heard some students prefer a hands-off approach, I get that, but the rest of us bona fide sensitive souls still believe in corrective contact. Nothing invasive, or with a lot of babble behind it, just a soft nudge to keep us posed at the right angle.

Right being 45 degrees for the body, mind and soul.



Debbie LynnDebbie Lynn realized at a very young age that the outer reality was a far cry from her inner truth, and meeting her inner wisdom head on always turned into a challenge. The wonderment, curiosity and hypocrisy of life led to exploration and a cumulative documentation (art and journaling) of what she lovingly calls ‘the purge’. It is her way of ridding any negative energy from the daily grind. She says, “In essence, it is a way to start fresh and cleanse the soul.” Debbie has had numerous articles published in Elephant Journal, The Edge Magazine and Simple Steps Real Life Magazine. Her daily posts can be found on Facebook.


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