I tried a new yoga studio tonight. Bad things happened. I'm sitting here trying not to have a full on panic attack, eyes leaking, hands shaking... can barely see what I'm typing but I need to get this out. I don't like strangers touching me. I don't like hugging people that I don't know. I'm not a hugger. I'm not a toucher. I have boundaries dammit and they should be respected. People I've worked with for 10 years ASK before they hug me. It is not ok to touch someone without asking. IT IS NOT OK. I don't care if you are yoga instructor, a doctor, a dentist, a coworker, neighbor, butcher, baker or candlestick maker. IT IS NOT OK TO TOUCH SOMEONE WITHOUT ASKING. But let me back up a bit. Firstly, I don't know what anatomy class this instructor took but I sure as hell cannot figure out how to push my "outer thighs to my knees", "rotate on my groins" (yes, GROINS) or "let my kidneys hang from my earlobes". If there was a "shit yoga instructors say" drinking game, I'd have been loaded. So, we are doing this thing where the students lay on their backs with their knees up and heels down. That is a very vulnerable position. To open your belly up to the sky requires trust. Just ask any dog who's been alpha rolled. Evidently, my ribcage wasn't spread enough, or something.... so the instructor STRADDLED ME without any warning, bent over, her shirt hanging open so I can see right down it to her boobs... which where hanging a foot in front of my face and she but her hands on both sides of my ribcage and slid me up the mat. I had a melt down. A small internal meltdown. Tears started leaking out of the corner of my eyes. But I tried to hold it together. I know for a lot of people this seems like NBD but not everyone has the same boundaries. Some people have issues. Straddling someone is so personal and intimate. All I could see was her boobs, her now giant head and a bit of ceiling around her. That's fucking scary and I felt trapped. We move on to this thing where you put your foot in the air and wrap the strap around your heel. She took the tip of her finger and drew a cross pattern on my heel where the "heel could explode into the Universe". (I wish I was making this shit up.. oh and DRINK!) By this point, I'm not doing well. I'm trying to figure out how to graciously get out of there.. and failing miserably. There is an hour left to class. Then her assistant takes my foot that is on the floor, the one I can't see.. and pulls on my leg. That was it. I flipped.. LITERALLY flipped up off the ground, shaking and saying "I don't like being touched.. I don't like being touched.. I have to go... I don't like being touched" Rainman would have been proud. See, here is the thing. It's not really that I don't like being touched. It's that I don't like being touched without someone asking. When I took my Reiki classes, the first thing.. the VERY FIRST thing I learned was to ASK to touch. I would be putting my hands on someone. You don't know where that person is in their space and it show respect for that person. I would have been ok if she asked. Maybe not great because chances are pretty good, I wouldn't be comfortable, but I would be able to make a decision. Not buried in boobs without warning. What happened to "Namaste".. that "honoring the divine within" the other person? Isn't respect and asking part of honoring someone? Fuck. So yeah... now I feel better.. and I feel more calm.. and I'm sure some of you think I'm overreacting.. but here is the thing. It's my reaction. It's my reaction to have and it's valid. My feelings are valid. My motherfuckin BOUNDARIES are valid. If you take away anything from this.. it's that it is not ok to touch someone without asking. Be it a small human, a grown up human, an elderly person, a dog, a cat, a hamster ... show respect for your fellow creatures. ASK.