AcroYoga Code of Conduct

For Students and Event Attendees

  1. I will maintain a collaborative, friendly, respectful attitude in my interactions with other members of the wider acro community.
  2. I will respect my fellow community members' sexual, racial/ethnic, and gender identities. I support any gender, sexual orientation, or body type taking on any role in the acro community. I will make my best effort to address people using the gender pronouns they identify with, and quickly correct myself and move on if I slip up. I will contribute to making the community spaces I move through safe, inclusive, and welcoming for people of color, gender nonconforming people, and members of other marginalized communities.
  3. I will respect and adhere to the policies and house rules of all conventions, play spaces, and venues I visit.
  4. I commit to maximizing physical safety in my acro practice. I will not attempt skills or techniques that I don't have adequate training and experience to navigate safely. I will encourage my practice partnerships to use spotters for any skill that every person doesn’t feel completely confident in attempting unspotted.
  5. I understand that consent means mutual, enthusiastic, ongoing, and informed support for the interactions I engage in with my partners. I understand that the initiator of an action carries the burden of obtaining consent prior to acting - it is not the recipient's responsibility to say no. I understand that consent can be revoked at any moment for any reason and that consent can only be given by someone who is in a sober, clear mental state at the time.
  6. I will openly discuss my boundaries and intentions with the people I practice with and respect the boundaries and intentions they share with me. This applies equally to technical acro practice, physical touch, romantic, and sexual interactions with the people I share space with. If someone states a boundary to me, I will immediately respect and honor it - I will not assume that no means maybe, I will not push back on boundaries.
  7. I will maintain good hygiene when working with other people. I will disclose any factors which may compromise the health and safety of the people I work with, such as injuries, tiredness, or communicable diseases, to these people to give them the opportunity to consent to the risk.
  8. I will show up to classes, workshops, and festival spaces sober and free of substances which could potentially have a negative impact on my acro practice.. If I am taking such a substance for medical reasons, I will disclose this to the people I work with to give them the opportunity to consent to the risk.
  9. When I am involved in an accident, I will take responsibility for my role in it. I will share an honest and full accounting as appropriate with the people impacted by the accident, so that everyone can learn and grow from the experience. I will make a sincere apology to those impacted by the accident, I will check in on them during their recovery, and I will offer what support I'm able to in facilitating their healing from it.
  10. When I am involved in a consent incident as the responsible party, I will honor and acknowledge my partner's experience, even if it was different from my experience. I will listen to what they need to say about their experience and offer what support I can. I will take responsibility for the choices I made, learn from any mistakes, and change my behavior as needed going forward. I will respect my partner's space and boundaries as needed moving forward from the incident.
  11. When I am involved in a consent incident as the hurt party, if it feels safe to do so, I will seek to work directly with my partner to seek positive outcomes and resolve unintentional miscommunications or accidents when such interaction is possible given my emotional resources and sense of safety. If I don’t feel I have the emotional resources to handle it directly, I will raise the issue with a community leader, teacher, or event manager. If I feel that someone is a serious safety risk to others, has intentionally behaved in a hurtful or predatory manner, or has willfully and knowingly violated consent, I will raise the issue privately with trusted community leaders and/or mental health professionals who can help me put this incident in context and identify the best next steps for my own healing, addressing the problematic behavior, and protecting the community.
  12. I will hold myself, my teachers, my classmates, community leaders, and my friends in the community to these standards. If I have personal knowledge of predatory or abusive behavior perpetrated by someone I interact with, I will not give them a pass because I like them as a person, because they have knowledge I desire, or because they haven't directed abusive behavior at me personally. If possible and safe, I will try to bring the issue to their attention and compassionately support them in being accountable. If it's not safe to engage the person I feel is being abusive, or if my previous efforts did not yield behavioral change, I will raise the issue privately with a trusted community leader.

For Instructors and Community Leaders

  1. I will follow all of the same behavioral guidelines set forth above for students and attendees.
  2. I recognize that as an instructor and community leader, I have power, influence, and authority over other members of the community. I accept the responsibility of that position and am willing to be held to a higher standard of behavior in consideration of that power.
  3. When I am teaching a class, workshop, residential intensive event, or teacher training, or otherwise facilitating a space, I will remain sober during the entire time that I am teaching or managing the event. If I am facilitating a residential event, I recognize that I am responsible for maintaining a safe space 24/7 and will refrain from becoming intoxicated for the duration of the event so that I can attend to my responsibilities at any moment when an issue may arise.
  4. When I am teaching, I will not touch my students' bodies without asking permission unless it's a safety emergency. For the purposes of modeling consent, I will ask permission to touch every single time while I am teaching, even if that student would be comfortable granting blanket consent.
  5. I will refrain from pursuing sexual and/or intimate relationships with my students, especially when I am teaching in residential intensives and teacher trainings. I understand the power imbalance between students and teachers and the toxic community dynamics that can result if I treat my classes like a dating pool. If after serious consideration, it is important to pursue a relationship with a student, I will encourage them to find another teacher. If a pre-existing sexual partner intends to register for an intensive or teacher training I am facilitating, I will disclose this relationship to the rest of the leadership team and respect their consensus on how to move forward.
  6. I will use my authority and influence to help keep the community safe, to identify patterns of abuse, and to seek appropriate resolution to dangerous situations I become aware of. If I am aware of predatory or abusive behavior perpetrated by another community leader, I will speak out and/or work with other trusted community leaders to seek accountability.
  7. If a student or member of the community reports abuse to me, I will do my best to hold safe space and not re-traumatize them. I understand that being the first person a traumatized person reports their abuse to carries a huge responsibility, and my mishandling the conversation has the potential exponentially escalate the harm done to the victim. I commit to learning how to navigate these conversations as safely as possible and educating myself on these issues. Here is a baseline recommended incident response protocol for teachers facilitating jams/classes/practice spaces who have an incident brought to their attention:
    1. Before diving into the conversation, ask the person if they are comfortable in the space they are in, if they want to take the conversation somewhere else, and if they’d like anyone else present. If you are a mandated reporter because of your profession, make sure you disclose this and explain the implications before proceeding.
    2. Listen carefully and with empathy, and honor that person’s experience. Do not bring any aspect of your own experience into the conversation - you are here purely to listen and empathize.
    3. Ask them how they want to be supported
    4. Refer them to legal, medical, or mental health resources as appropriate. See below for a list of resources in your area.
    5. Ask the person if they’d like your help addressing the incident, what concerns they have about their safety, and what the ideal outcome looks like for them. Make sure you get consent from the victim for each step you plan to take before you do it - investigating these issues has potential safety risks to the victim that you must make sure you have addressed before moving forward. The victim should ideally be on board with the resolution plan before you initiate action.
    6. Recommended steps for resolving the situation:
      1. Follow up with witnesses if possible to gain more insight into the situation.
      2. Talk to the person responsible for the hurtful incident to call them in and compassionately support them in being accountable.
      3. Ask them to share their experience of the situation, and then help them understand how they hurt the person who reported them.
      4. Guide them to a clearer understanding of what went wrong and encourage them to make a sincere apology and commit to next steps to prevent the incident from happening in the future.
      5. If the reported abuser becomes belligerent, has a previous pattern of similar abuses that don’t seem to improve with these conversations, or otherwise seems to be acting in bad faith, raise the issue with other community leaders to determine the best way to protect others from this person.
      6. If necessary, prohibit a serious repeat abuser from visiting spaces/events, and proactively warn other community members about the risks of interacting with that person.
    7. Things NOT to do during incident response:
      1. Insert your own personal experience into the conversation
      2. Imply that the victim brought this upon themselves, in any way.
      3. Defend the accused (typically something like ‘Well, I’ve never seen them do anything like that’ or ‘They’ve always been nice to me’). Even if you have reason to believe that there is more to the story than the victim’s experience, the moment of first reporting and incident response is NOT the time to get into that.
      4. Publicly discuss the incident using identifying details about the victim without their consent.
    8. If at any time my ability or willingness to follow this code, or my judgment in general, is called into serious and justifiable doubt, I understand that my role as a leader and my teacher’s certification is subject to review and revocation.

For National Organizations

  1. Post the organization’s code of ethics policy publicly
  2. Ensure that anyone facilitating a space, teaching classes, or participating in intensives or festivals under your brand name is modeling these values, reinforcing these behaviors in their community, and
  3. Create an incident reporting system within your organization to help monitor the behavior of everyone representing your organization.
  4. Hold certified teachers accountable and support them in changing their behavior when incidents arise. If teachers refuse to be accountable and change their behavior, de-certify them.
  5. When processing teacher training applications, run each name through the sex offender registry to screen for convicted sex criminals. Applications with prior convictions should be required to talk with teacher training administrators about their history and why they are no longer a risk to the acro community going forward.

This work is public domain. Anyone may freely modify or use this document in any way.