I just found an article and a podcast that I must share with you. The article completely hooked me. It made me feel so encouraged about the potential trajectory of yoga because it opens up the conversation, and hopefully a pathway towards inclusion and wellness as being defined both internally, by our own sense of coming home, rather than by what we currently envision a yoga practice to look or sound like, and externally by approaching yoga as social, political, and both uncomfortable and the most rewarding.
My issue with the yoga industry is that there is so much spiritual bypassing going on. It’s become an ego-centric space, ironically. At the moment, in yoga, we don’t learn union, or do no harm. We learn to barely breathe and fully bypass.
The article is called “Wellness isn’t always welcoming. Meet the women bringing change to the industry,” published on Today.com. My business partner and I have been working carefully over the years to deliver yoga as a way to access yourself, and be accessible to everyone, with only half the success. We are continuing to peel the layers of our own blind spots. The podcast, Yoga is Dead— I can’t wait to listen to all the episodes. This morning, I listened to Episode 1, and it was phenomenal. I invite you to read the article and listen to this podcast with me.
In the meantime, as I work to best serve my community during this historic moment of reckoning, and at the same time move them over to a platform that better assists us in this process, I need to stop, listen, and learn. I need to take some time to make sure that I understand what I am doing, and that I am not causing more harm.
I’ll be back.
There are some really great teachers and authors out there that educate beautifully, lovingly, and fiercely on Black Lives Matter.
It’s up to us to catch up and to dismantle systemic racism. Prosperity is not a zero sum game. In fact, the well-being of every human is so interwoven together that it behooves us all to make this top priority. In the end, who are we if we can’t feel the pain of others enough to do something about it, and if we don’t want to lift others up in the same way we’ve been given that privilege? Let’s stop defending ourselves, stop judging derivative crimes, check our predispositions, and start seeing how we can make change.
Resmaa Menakem: author of My Grandmother’s Hands, therapist and trauma specialist. Talks about body and voice awareness to check in to our traumas and resistances. They tell the real story. Listen to him on the OnBeing Podcast with Krista Tippett. it’s called Notice the Rage; Notice the Silence.
Ibram X. Kendi: author of How to Be an Antiracist. Excellent podcast on Unlocking Us with Brene Brown: How to Be an Anti-Racist.
Austin Channing Brown: author of I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World made for Whiteness. Another must-listen podcast on Unlocking Us with Brene Brown.
Layla Saad: author of Me and White Supremacy. She wrote a 2-part open letter meant for her readership of mainly white spiritual women back in 2017, and they went viral. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2.
Dignity is being worthy of respect. Of being human. Of mattering.
When we feel that in ourselves, we move and act with a different energy than we do when we don’t feel it.
When we offer it to another, we move and act with a different energy than we do when we don’t offer it.
So do they.
It gives everyone an opportunity to become who they were meant to be in the most expansive, serviceful, powerful, humble way.
When we ask ourselves, how can I treat myself and the other person in the most worthy way? Knowing that each of us is unique in our own way, neither of us more special or important than the other?
When we act with dignity, we unlock equity and a sustainably growing abundance. Because we are so woven together, we impact each other with every decision we make. Extending dignity benefits all of us.
Dignity is the opposite of poverty. It’s true love and abundance.
Going from covid to civil unrest, a serious energy shift happened.
With covid, we all understood that in order to stay well ourselves, we needed to make sure others were well. So we participated in flattening the curve. But unless you are an essential worker, the solution was to stay home to do the right thing. As weeks went by, a sense of existential anxiety and wariness came through with feelings of restlessness and purposelessness.
Then George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others. During covid. The world came out of their homes to gather, physically, and demand justice. This one was not going to be a virtual event. Whether you’re out protesting or staying in, a sense of purpose and opportunity to do something raged. People are donating, educating, expressing, learning what it means to be a true ally (coined anti-racists), and learning that systemic racism does in fact exist. There seems to be a genuine concern and desire to understand.
Like covid, many of us are starting to understand that in order to be well, in order to ensure opportunity and justice for ourselves, we need to ensure wellness, opportunity, and justice for everyone else.
These concerns are real, and they’ve ALWAYS been there.
Everyone always needed healthcare. Everyone always needed to eat. Everyone always had a right to live. With dignity. When shit happens, the most vulnerable are the ones most affected… first.
Priorities always mattered. Civil injustice and healthcare were always interrelated.
When we serve for the well-being of others, we serve ourselves better, because the structures put into place to take care of the most vulnerable ultimately take care of us. Likewise, the policies that disadvantage others come back to disadvantage us. They already have.
When the media stops talking about these issues, they’ll still be there.
Decide to keep these on the front burner. Don’t let them go until policies change. Serve a greater purpose. Go the long haul. You can’t go wrong. You’ll be all the more purposeful, healthy, and abundant for it.
It doesn’t matter what the circumstance, love opens up solutions. Hate is an endless battle.
Love has compassion, but it isn’t always mushy, and it’s never enabling.
It is fierce and explicit. It comes from its clarity and focus on what it wants, its persistence, and its follow through. It directly protects justice because it protects equality and the greatest good. Love knows that your pain is mine and mine yours. There is no lukewarm in love.
If you feel swallowed up by anger or impotence..
where instead of being able to harness it with love,
more energy goes to hating the derivative crimes over the original,
or towards protecting bystander fragility (this isn’t compassion or empathy),
Check in with your heart. Know where your energy – your “fight” – is.
I know I’m not qualified to talk about this. Anything I can say feels as empty as politicians’ words when they say that their thoughts and prayers are with us. But I am going to try because a wise young person told me you gotta take the risk of making mistakes, saying stupid things, and being called out to become the ally you need to be.
I’ve had conversations with active protesters who throw themselves between cops and POC. They organize care for protesters getting released from jail, giving them water, snacks, portable phone chargers, and a safe ride home. They take care of each other by passing out nourishment and squeezing hand sanitizer on each other’s hands. They don’t fear for their safety around each other, whatever color they may be, and whatever neighborhood they come from. Because they know they have each other’s backs. That’s the positive. Allies are out there in large numbers who stand for each other. They could use more.
I’m beginning to understand how much black women throughout history have stood up to advocate for ALL minority. They deserve the same fierce love back. A thousand fold. If you’re not feeling intense discomfort as you work through this process for yourself, you might want to take a closer look at the strength behind your words of condemnation against injustice.
Here’s some things that I learned that we could do to become true allies. Because I had no clue.
- if you got the guts, physically place yourself between the cops and POC in a protest.
- donate to organizations like The Bail Project. Donate to Black Lives Matter.
- make protest kits and get them out there.
- instead of posting sentiment, demonstrate it instead. Disseminate information on social media, like phone numbers for protesters who get arrested to get bailed out. Or protester’s rights. Don’t assume they know them because many don’t.
- take the risk of saying the wrong thing out of privilege. Don’t let fear shut you up. It’s how we all learn.
- catch yourself condemning derivative crime (like looting) and just stop. Not talking about it doesn’t mean you condone it. But talking about it does put into question why one would be more horrified and unsettled to focus on the looting over its cause, which is police brutality against black people. What’s the message here, property over lives?
- educate yourself