So you say you want a mind body revolution? But before you start, there are some things that you should think about before you overthrow the current health system. Yoga activism is more than just teaching asana to underprivileged kids. Yoga activism is more than a 6 month teacher training, then going out and regurgitating what you read in the book. A true activist must undergo an internal awakening.
We’ve all been in a yoga class where after the teacher finishes savasana, people wake up and push each other out the door on the way to Starbucks. Movement, yes, internal change? No.
If you are a white woman from Minnesota working in a detention center filled with African American teenaged boys, I want you to teach with authenticity and genuine connection in your service delivery. If you are a wealthy, conservative professional serving young transgendered in San Francisco, I want you to communicate with respect and perspective. Yoga activism is about pushing our internal boundaries as well as our bodies. Yoga activism requires that we go beyond the 200 hour training, the standard sequence of poses to truly live the practice. Through this process, you have the capacity to observe our own biases, prejudices, gifts and finally learn to work through them.
Most of us yoga activists step into this work after experiencing a personal challenge. For me, I came to yoga after living through a series of traumatic incidents. In the midst of my emotional hell, a good natured yogi passed along this ancient science of yoga and I felt the immediate effects wash over my life. I realized in the moments of repeating the bhastrika breaths and moving through the sun salutations that my life had forever been changed because of one person’s willingness to teach me yoga. It felt selfish for me to just hold this gift inside. I wanted to share it with the world. More specifically, the communities who I know could benefit the most from yoga. Getting my mind right first, gave me the clarity and awareness to start helping my community.
I commend you for taking up a cause in the name of community change. Your commitment to offer yoga with purpose will not go unacknowledged. Build your revolution from within, then go out with a clear heart, pure soul and strong breath! Stop bitching, start breathing and start a yoga revolution!