Touching and personal space

We are social creatures; well, at least to a point. Earlier today, I attended a yoga class at a town I am visiting. The instructor welcomed me warmly. At some point, I became aware that she was touching me, albeit appropriately and not in any suggestive manner, often. Being a product of 25 years of living in New York, I suddenly realized that I was not very comfortable with it. This came to me somewhat as a surprise, given that I was born in Israel, a Mediterranean country in which touching is an expression of friendliness and is quite common. Yet I had changed. Two and a half decades in NY will do this to you… That being said, I brought my awareness into the situation and explored my feelings and my automated body responses to my space being invaded. I noticed some stiffness associated with the fight or flight reaction, as well as some psychological discomfort. It is curious, I thought, that while we are all conditioned for that basic survival instinct of fight or flight, the trigger for it, whether we wish for it or not, will adjust as our social conditioning changes when we conform to a new social norm.

I do like warmness, and touching is just fine, but my body responds, so it seems, even if only internally, in an automated manner. Maybe it is time to move out of New York, to an area where personal space is not as confined…

Learned from: a friendly yoga instructor


Adding to the above, here is a chart of personal space by country.

About Ronen

Ronen Divon had been walking spiritual and holistic paths for well over thirty years. Born in Israel, educated in New York, and currently residing in North Carolina, Ronen had traveled the world, spending time with teachers, masters, healers and guides. With wisdom that spans multiple traditions, including the Far East, India, Israel, Brazil, Peru, and Native America, Ronen remains a student, learning and adding modalities that will best serve his clients, each according to their own unique needs. Ronen is also a published author, a Yoga, Meditation, and Tai Chi instructor.
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