Touch is the first sense we acquire and one of the most basic human needs. The art of touch is powerful and healing. From lowering blood pressure and heart rate to increasing immunity and relieving pain, getting touched or doing some touching makes you healthier, happier and more peaceful.
Just how strong is touch’s bonding benefit? A psychologist from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign named Michael Kraus led a study to find out. He and his team tracked physical contact between teammates during NBA games (you know, all the chest bumps, high fives, and booty slaps). They discovered that more on-court touching early in the season resulted in more success for the teams and individuals by season’s end. Why? How? Kraus says touch strengthens relationships and marks closeness. “It increases cooperation but is also an indicator of how strong bonds are between people.”
Assisting in yoga is not for every teacher nor every student. However, some just can’t get enough of that yummy yogi love! If you are looking to get a better savasana massage, look at it the same way you would go about dating! Here are some general guidelines and tips to making savasana and those deep stretches even sweeter.
1. Saucha. Cleanliness is next to godliness! We realize you get pretty sweaty from class alone and we can deal with that. But if you’re wearing the same tank top or running shorts you have been lounging around the house in all week, or for your last two workouts, it will show up when the sweat starts to pour. It’s a common practice to come to yoga freshly showered to better purify the mind, body and spirit! Keep it clean and tidy and teachers will stick around a little longer.
2. Leave your baggage at the door. Less is more.
- Necklaces, crazy hair all over the place, baseball caps, 10 mala bead bracelets on each wrist and your reiki stones can really get in the way of things! Yours and the teachers. De-clutter!
- Do you really need to bring your entire workout bag, the baby’s diaper bag, a bottled water AND a kombucha, plus your post yoga class snack into the studio? Use a locker, clear the space around you and invite prana (good energy) and touch into your personal space.
3. Be approachable.
- Make eye contact when you enter the room. Be bold. Put yourself out there! Walking in with your head down and burying yourself in your mat right away makes you seem far less open to receiving the gift of touch. Look up. Look around! Acknowledge and perhaps even….
- Smile! Yoga teachers are people too and they love to connect! Be genuine with your teacher when greeting them. Don’t worry if you are naturally stoic in the real world. Your secret is safe. Remember it’s a sacred space. What happens in the yoga studio stays in the yoga studio!
- Keep your arms in a welcoming position. Crossed arms say ‘I’m closed off!’ Arms overhead are a little too enthusiastic and make it harder for the teacher to get in there. Relax the arms out to the side of your body to be most accessible!
4. Work really hard in class! Rock out your practice with confidence and empowerment and you will create enormous energy! The teacher will want to assist you and help you go further in your practice!
5. Don’t work at all. In fact, when all those people in number 4 are jamming out in crow pose to headstand flow, take a child’s pose or even better, savasana! Be patient, chances are the teacher is on the way to let you know it’s okay to honor your body and will reward you for it with a gentle, re-affirming massage.
Most of all, remember that teachers do their best to get to everyone. Touch and connecting to others is therapeutic and necessary to thrive in life. If you have been passed over or given the drive-by treatment in savasana, incorporating these tips can really help! If all else fails, wear your ‘I JUST CAME FOR THE SAVASANA’ t-shirt to class and you’re golden.
Photo – shutterstock.com
Jenn Bodnar is co-founder of Yoga Digest Magazine and has a genuine belief that yoga can benefit everyone. She is 200ERYT having attended multiple teacher trainings, facilitating yoga teacher trainings and studying and practicing yoga since 1999. Jenn is an avid fitness professional, who has taught and managed group fitness for many years. As a former competitive triathlete, gymnast and dancer Jenn loves the balance of strength, flexibility, perseverance and freedom that a yoga practice provides. She loves being active and outdoors with her family and friends. Jenn is a self proclaimed health food chef who hopes to leave a positive footprint by inspiring others to always choose happiness. “Watching people grow through yoga is one of the most amazing miracles to witness.”