Safeguarding and Ahimsa Yoga

Safeguarding in the Yoga community is now more important to take into consideration than ever before. With recent exposure of unfortunate instances of sexual abuse. If this information is new to you, you can find out a bit more here:  

https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/sexual-assault-in-the-ashtanga-yoga-community

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bikram_Yoga#Sexual_assault

As a teacher this not only touches me on a personal level but also professionally. It leads me to think more carefully about how I speak to students, whether I should facilitate adjustments and general language used in class.  

Yoga practice is a time for us enter our own space and become fully attuned to our bodies and mind. Bringing awareness to oneself can create vulnerabilities in some and certain Asanas (postures) and meditative states can lead to underlying emotions coming to the fore. As a teacher, I would like people to feel safe and cared for when they come to class, but also find the balance between overstepping that mark and becoming too familiar with people who may not want this type of relationship with their Yoga teacher.

In order to help me decide what might be best for you, I have taken the 6 principles of Safeguarding and applied them to a ‘Ahimsa Yoga’ context:

Principle 1: Empowerment

Support and encourage People to make their own decisions.

  • making services more personal – Ahimsa yoga limits the number of students in class to ensure an intimate class size, thus giving participants a more personal level of teaching

  • giving people choice and control over decisions – Providing different options for asanas were possible and reiteration that this can be done in any way. Asking permission before applying any personal touch (such as slight massage during Savasana)

Principle 2: Prevention

  • making sure clear, simple and accessible information is available about abuse and where people can get help – If you wish to look further into identifying, reporting abuse or seeking advice, here are some websites that may help:

https://www.educationandemployers.org/identifying-and-reporting-safeguarding-concerns/

https://www.safeguardingadultsyork.org.uk/what-is-safeguarding/how-to-raise-a-safeguarding-concern/

https://www.england.nhs.uk/safeguarding/how-to-raise-a-safeguarding-concern/

Principle 3: Proportionality

·        Services think about what is best for you and only get involved when they need to- Ahimsa yoga aims to do so via this blog

Principle 4: Protection

What to do if there are concerns

·        how to offer help and support for people who are at risk Provide advice to extent asked for/required and by providing advice via this blog and the links. Clare will listen to concerns and wishes students to k ow that they can come to me for confidential advice if ever needed

Principle 5: Partnership

 Although working in direct Partnership with other organisations would not apply to Ahimsa Yoga, the Principle itself can:

·        Staff look after your personal information and only share it when this helps to keep you safe. Any information given will be stored in a laptop/phone with encryption and your information, including personal data will never be shared.  

Principle 6: Accountability

·        Safeguarding is everybody’s business. Everyone must accept that we are all accountable as individuals, services and as organisations. Ahimsa Yoga recognises that as a service provider it must ensure that any Safeguarding issues are identified, dealt with appropriately and in line with all legal and regulatory requirements of the UK.   

·        If Ahimsa Yoga, it’s students or anyone affiliated, suspects a crime had been committed – This must be reported to the necessary authorities

To report a crime

in an emergency, contact the police, call 999

if the person is not in immediate danger, contact the police, call 101

 

Clare McGill