I have been practicing yoga for about 15 years. When I first started, yoga teachers would adjust you, touch you, sometimes wrap their arms around you and it felt like you and your yoga teacher were one. Then around 8 or so years ago, it stopped. Completely! Well, you get a tap here and a tap there but really it changed pretty drastically. I realized quickly in this litigious society we live in that they were all afraid of getting sued. Thus I adjusted to the new way of doing yoga…no adjustments and finally after awhile, I accepted it.
I bring this up because recently while in yoga I got the royal treatment and realized how differently I felt when I left the class. My teacher did the full on shivasana treatment, pulled my legs, ran his hands down my back, pulled my shoulders up, smoothed my forehead out. Little does this yoga teacher know how much he made my day (or maybe he did). Then in another class the other day, I was feeling down and desperately hoping my yoga class would change my mood. Towards the end of class, a woman next to me that I had never met before (turned out to be a yoga instructor), just reached out and gently laid her hand on my leg giving me an adjustment in my supine twist. It literally snapped me out of my funk (thanks Valerie :).)
Which got me to thinking about the power of touch and how much it can transform the way you feel and if it transforms the way you feel, what else does it do? Well I researched it: touch triggers the release of brain endorphins: an endogenous analgesic more powerful than heroin or morphine. Wow!
I believe for the most part, we all liked to be touched and it can literally transform a moment of being kinda blah to feeling so good, even transforming your entire day. Touch is a powerful tool and I think people are deprived of it in our society. We are a “touch phobic” society due to the reports on sexual harassment, child molestation, etc. when the simplest hug can be completely innocent.
From our first moments of life, the sense of touch is the most important of our five senses. We can’t live without it. It is a basic human need. This isn’t surprising when we think about how infants need loving touch to be healthy and develop properly. Additionally, touch can heal. Many conditions can be alleviated by the healing touch of another human being: headaches, stress, anxiety, difficulty relaxing, tiredness, chronic pain, strained or injured muscles. Healing touches release the body’s natural capacity to heal. It’s holistic; starting with the skin, it “touches” the mind and spirit as well as the body.
So my message is, if you see me, touch me! Hee-hee. No really, hug someone, reach out and touch someone, a loved one, a friend, TODAY. Don’t be afraid to touch. You could literally change the way that person or yourself feels for the rest of the day and best of all, it’s free!