In the yoga sutra, Svādhyāya refers to self-study: looking inward, reading scriptures, ‘doing the work.’ As we all continue to look inward and peel back the layers of our conditioning- the roots of our actions, reactions and emotions based on learned behaviors and past emotions (samskaras)- part of this practice must include time for quiet reflection to digest and absorb new information and learning. Take time to examine the intentions behind -and potential results of- your actions. Be deliberate. If you’re trying to help- make sure the actions are actually helpful.
As yoga teachers, studio owners, and practitioners we must be firmly rooted in non-harming, and as we exist in the continued state of inequality in our country and the horrible injustices happening daily to our Black and brown communities, we must take non-harming further and be active healers.
Inevitably discomfort will arise. If you, like me, have benefited from white privilege, please remember this discomfort is nothing compared to the lived reality of our Black brothers and sisters. The real trauma and pain. So our job is to sit with it. If someone calls you out- take the time to let it sink in. Examine your reaction & where it stems from, and who benefits and who does not. Own your mistakes and truly apologize. 👓 Make cleaning your lenses a daily practice so the actions that you take to heal are clear, rooted in reality and non-harming. Our country desperately needs to heal. Lives are on the line. So it’s (past) time to do the work. Listen more. Be watchful for racism arising from your own conditioning, not just in the actions of those around you. Study your thoughts and behaviors. And read and google and listen to all of the Black voices leading the way. 👂
From one of her many insightful posts: “In order to navigate the long road and unforeseen plans, we all need to the most access to our inner wisdom possible.” - Octavia Raheem
#yogainaction #yogapractice#yogaeverydamnday #yogaeveryday#svadyaya #introspection #samskaras
Black Lives Matter
Reflection on this today. I was experiencing some conflict in one of my friendships a few months back, and had said in therapy, “I know it’s coming from a place of love.” & my brilliant therapist asked, “Does it feel like love? Isn’t that what matters?” 🤯🤯🤯 I have been seeing posts within the yoga community in the vein of “loving all beings” and compassion for “all sides.” I know this is in line with the yogic teachings- we are all the same at the core, we are all one. Non-dualism. The intentions aren’t wrong.
But how that lands in the midst of the current uprising against systemic racism and oppression? When black and brown people are literally fighting for their lives in the streets? It doesn’t land as love. It lands as a dismissal. It lands as a brush-off of the pain and reality of daily life for so much of our country.
As students of yoga- and as humans- our job is to dig under the surface of things, however messy that may get in the process. To peel back the layers of conditioning- personally and collectively. And our group conditioning- our samskaras, in yoga- includes white supremacy, includes fear of the “other,” specifically black men. This is a white person problem and it’s our job to do the work to fix it. We cannot sit on the sidelines and extol the virtues of ahimsa when our silence lands as harm. When our “love and light” lands as harm. Love is action.
So what to do? Start with educating yourself. Google is your friend. I highly recommend following @rachel.cargleand @nicoleacardoza to start. Love is an action, and it’s time for us all to act. 💚
I’m still in the early stages of learning. I look back on past actions and cringe. And I have been called to task. I felt the textbook white fragility response. It’s not comfortable but it is necessary.
#yogapractice #yogaeverydamnday#yogaeveryday#yogainthetimeofcorona#yogaoffthemat #ahimsa #nonharming
About this blog
This blog, together with the occasional newsletter, will be an active space to share thoughts about yoga on and off the mat. Please let me know what you like and what you'd like to see more of. And as always, thank you for the gift of teaching!