Consent on the Mat
At the 2017 Victoria Yoga Conference, one of our goals was to make yoga more accessible for all by launching “Consent Cards” — an easy visual opportunity for students to communicate to their teachers, and a way for teachers to easily identify a student’s wishes at a glance. This initiative began with yoga teacher Jen Craig-Evans.
Have you ever attended a yoga class where hands-on adjustments were offered? Did the teacher ask permission before touching you? Did you feel that opting out was a choice?
Consent On The Mat was founded in an effort to address the idea of building consent in yoga practice, where hands-on adjustments to practitioners are frequently offered by instructors. Though adjustments are common in yoga practice, a hands-on experience can become a barrier for some community members not comfortable receiving touch, including those who have experienced trauma, injuries, health concerns, or who simply prefer to opt out of physical contact that day.
To make the practice more inclusive, our team of community members and conference representatives developed the idea of creating “Consent Cards,” so every yoga practitioner would have the chance to clearly express their preference for the day. The cards will made their debut at the 2017 conference.
The “Consent Cards” designed by Danielle Pope as a double-sided card, illustrate the idea of open and closed postures, with one side clearly stating “Yes, I welcome physical adjustments” and the other, “No, I am taking care of myself today.” The cards offer teachers a simple tool to create an environment where the choice to opt in or out of physical touch is valued and easily implemented.
“Consent Cards” were available for every participant’s use at this year’s Yoga Conference, and all conference goers were encouraged to actively use them. The card is to be placed at the front of the mat, displaying a participant’s decision whether or not to receive physical adjustments during the practice. These cards are designed to welcome the idea of obtaining permission, every class, before offering adjustments.
While we recognize many instructors in the community already have their own ways of creating this safer opportunity, the “Consent Cards” offer a standardized approach to make the practice easier for all who choose to participate.
Where You Come In
Take the pledge.
We need your help to make sure our initiative can spread in popularity throughout Victoria and other communities. If our mission resonates with you, consider taking a pledge to use the cards at the Conference, and even afterwards.
Order your own package of “Consent Cards” and use them in your studio with your students.
Help us create safer spaces in every yoga studio.
Media Mentions for this Project