Yoga and Racism Part I
Yoga is institutionally racist just like the rest of our systems. It is not affordable or accessible for most middle class to low income brackets; and very few people of color take yoga class. There are a number of reasons why this is so, there are a number of ways the systems are racist. I am not completely convinced that a lot of yogis are racist; aside from the understanding that everyone is a little racist…..but I know for sure microagressions are thrown around consistently towards those who are “different”.
Yoga originated in India. One of the poorest places on earth. I wonder how many people in India still practice yoga to this day? Could yoga benefit people who are actually living in poverty? Can it effect those who are poor, as it affects and heals the privileged?
Poor people have less time for yoga, why?
How do I tell these undeserved and systemically oppressed men and women that they can be free inside?
Kalayaan sa kalooban….
How do I tell people, who leave or have family over seas working, family structures destroyed; that they can find freedom with yoga? You can be happy eventho you are without your children, your people….?
How do I tell the men and women who fight and organize and spread awareness of political and social/gender/race issues, that the freedom they seek is really inside themselves? The fight you fight is your service, your life’s purpose/what you do for the world; but it is not you. You do not have to embody the oppression, forever.
The disadvantage is perpetuated with the fight; because in order to fight you must first embody the victim. This embodiment, this choice,
…but if you are open to the practice, could you agree with me that the freedom you seek is not given to you, because you legitly feel it?…. Can you be free and enslaved at the same time? yoga is the practice of embodiment, the practice of awareness…with breath as the doorway to discovering the many pathways of conscious living.
How do I tell the people who have lost loved ones due to injustice? We don’t progress without the death; progress in yoga comes from the death of parts of ourselves. we break ourselves open. We don’t have light without dark. You got dealt bullshit and you are beautiful. You only have control over your breath, your thought and your action in each present moment. The work is in manifesting our desires, and doing it aligned with source. aligned with the power that wants to enhance life. the ultimate desire to evolve and transcend.
How do I explain to people wounded physically, mentally, spiritually; I know that you can heal yourself only because I have been able to heal myself? You will create a new you.
this darkness that inspires amazing art. I am a darkness lover. but at some point you must evolve. If you didn’t embody the victim, would there be a fight? If you embodied a warrior as we practice, would the fight be different? Everyone is a victim at some point in their life. You scream till your voice grows horse, and I will stand next to you with warm water and honey and lemon, breathing deeply…..
How do I inspire these people who are affected by systemic and institutional violence and oppression that they are whole, complete, not lacking anything?
How do I begin to explain to my people that the freedom they seek, lies deep within their hearts and souls …nobody takes it away, you give it away, it is yours
….I plead, don’t carry the pain and suffering with you forever.
Just as your cuts heal,
just as your organs regenerate,
just as your breath comes without even trying,
just as your heart continues to beat
just as the sun comes during the day and the moon at night;
you can trust that you are love(d).
No bible verse, no law, no constitution is going to give you what you seek….but can yoga? This practice that connects us in mind body and spirit.
My friend writes: “Truth is we don’t know what it’s like to be free in our bodies and in this system, so we will proceed to challenge these laws indefinitely.”
…… those who deny you systemic freedom do not deny you freedom within your bodies…..it is only yours to claim. the only way they take away freedom in your body is by taking your body altogether. Fight for yourself. How easy will you hand it over?
Why are there not more people of color at yoga classes and workshops? Do they not need it as much as the people who do attend? Is it not effective to them?
Do you hear me yoga community? There is a bridge to be gapped! Racism hasn’t gone away institutionally. We have a real opportunity in the yoga community to expand consciousness. I wish to figure out how to work through this, this is my yoga teaching mission….
Read Yoga and Racism Part II https://bri11.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/yoga-and-racism-part-ii/