On this Juneteenth Independence Day weekend, at Holistic Yoga School we continue to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. We stand with anyone impacted by systemic racism and violence and those working against it. We’re dedicated to training yoga teachers who promote inclusivity and accessibility.
Yoga is for everyone and fundamentally is a powerful tool for social justice. Yoga teaches people how to reclaim and develop their potential, develop new life skills and abilities, and mental and physical healing. A holistic health practice like yoga can help spark a fire of personal strength that won’t be marginalized. Justice, after all, is rooted in self-love and respect for all beings.
We strive to be allies and participants in the movement for true freedom, equality, and safety for all. We abhor all forms of racism, whether overt acts of violence or conscious or unconscious participation in structures that reinforce exclusion, discrimination, and oppression. As an educational organization, it’s our responsibility to teach information and skills that contribute to and uplift our communities and help empower our students to take a stand and manifest real change.
As a school, we’re committed to promoting and supporting the diversity and integrity of yoga. And, we don’t just mean racial diversity—diversity includes all genders, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, economic status, and abilities. All of our classes and trainings are all-levels, trauma-aware, and inclusive. In addition, we offer scholarships to help support historically marginalized populations, including BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer), Disabled and Military.
Unfortunately, the trends of racial inequity are seen no less in Western Yoga. Following are a few suggestions from the Yoga Alliance (www.yogaalliance.org) on how we can all help bring more diversity and accessibility into the yoga world:
- Move Beyond the Studio
Although studios are great for creating a Zen atmosphere, they’re often expensive and inaccessible to low-income/fixed-income families. Consider starting a neighborhood yoga class at a park or your local community center.
- Recognize the Need
Each community is different, and when you invite your neighbors to join you on the mat, it’s important to make your invitation relevant. Promoting expensive yoga retreats doesn’t make sense if much of your community lives paycheck to paycheck. Understand the pressing needs of your community, and approach your yoga teaching from that angle.
- Use Inclusive Language and Images
Always ensure your language is inclusive and encouraging. When you are using images in your promotions, make sure your images include a diverse group of people. If people “see” themselves in your class, they will be more comfortable about attending.
- Promote the Ideas, Not the Poses
Yoga is about unity and self-awareness. Yoga teachers have a special opportunity to not only share their asana practice with students but also to invite them to check in with themselves about where they can be more loving and open with others.
Additional Resources are available here: https://yourya.org/anti-racism-resources/