What to Expect from Hands On Assisting

By Jess Malloy

Next weekend, the Hands On Assisting (HOA) workshop will be here (finally!). This time last year, I was new to 502PY and used HOA as an opportunity to sharpen my skills as a teacher, and get to know the community. What I didn’t realize, was that 502 has some pretty powerful yoga “kool aid” and HOA would be my first big gulp.

hands on assisting 502 power yogaI have a few years of yoga under my belt, but never have I come across a studio so tightly knit, and so open-armed. You might be a 502 Power Yoga veteran or you might be new to the studio like I was. Either way, HOA is a big weekend for this community, and it might be helpful to know what to expect if you signed up.

  1. You are going to touch a lot of sweaty feet–You will touch and be touched by everyone that weekend. You will accidently graze butts, hold hands, feet, bellies, sweaty backs, and more. It’s a great big mess of lovin’ and get ready to enjoy every minute of it. Your body is beautiful, and so is your neighbor’s.
  2. You are going to be pushed–To be honest, I don’t know how this will manifest for you. Throughout the weekend, while you are learning to assist, you will also be assisted on which means you will be practicing–a lot. But not every practice will be heated, and they are done in digestible doses. And maybe you’re super buff and the physical practice won’t strain you (because you’re such a stud). The teachers who will be there are going to challenge you to open up and be vulnerable with each other. So being emotionally vulnerable might be your Everest for the weekend, and know that they create an environment that keeps you safe and able to do so.
  3. You will do just fine– Scout’s honor, you will be okay. Trying new things can be scary, and one of the things you will learn this weekend is that it is okay to fail. You are going to get it wrong and you will fail 100 times in those couple days because you are learning; isn’t that great?
  4. You will learn a lot– You will also forget a lot. This program is set up to give you all the tools you need and then gives you the chance to put them into practice and learn by doing it. Your knowledge of the asanas will grow, and it will spark curiosity in your personal practice.
  5. You can take your newfound knowledge off the mat– After you graduate the program, you can take what you know and go out into the city. Assisting Team (a.k.a the A-team) members play a vital role in outreach programs like children’s charities, and men’s and women’s prison systems as well as assisting in the studio.

Being able to physically touch someone in a way that empowers them is an invaluable tool. The connections you can make with people in just two days are unbelievable. Last year, this was the weekend where I started recognizing faces, hugging new friends before class, and making deeper relationships.

If you still haven’t signed up for Hands On Assisting, there are a few spots left. I’m looking forward to round two, and can’t wait to see you there.