Why Yoga for People of Color?
Though the roots of yoga are in India (and there is significant evidence of yogic practice in Ancient Egypt and other parts of the world as well, suggesting an ancient common root), yoga in the West still does not reflect yoga's origins, nor the diversity of the general population. Satya Yoga Immersion and YTT aims to address this imbalance by increasing the diversity of the yoga teacher pool in Denver and across the country. Yoga is for all. More yoga teachers of color ultimately means more communities will benefit from the empowering, healing practices yoga offers.
What makes Satya Yoga Immersion for People of Color unique is that it is perhaps the first yoga teacher training to provide safe(r) space to acknowledge and address the physical, mental, and spiritual trauma of living as a person of color in a racist society through the wisdom of yoga. I (Lakshmi) know from my own personal healing journey that yoga provides invaluable knowledge, understanding, and tools for self integration and healing from the psychic/spiritual wounds caused by racism and I wanted to be able to share what has helped me with others. It is well documented that people of color live with far greater levels of chronic stress that have direct consequences on physical and mental health of individuals and communities. On a very basic level, yoga is one of the greatest stress management tools around.
In addition, yoga in the West has been appropriated, romanticized, commercialized, and often stripped of any spiritual essence or connection to its culture of origin to a large extent, which is quite awkward and unsettling for me as a person of Indian descent. Safe(r) space allows me to reclaim yoga as an indigenous healing wisdom tradition of my people with authenticity, but also with a critical inquiry that is informed by my multicultural perspective as a South Asian American feminist and member of a larger tapestry of American communities of color.
Yoga for people of color? Isn't that segregation? Isn't that unyogic? Aren't we supposed to be "all one" and beyond race and gender? Yoga is about unity, integration, and healing. But racism (along with all other oppressions) is a chronic disease social disease that requires many approaches and levels of treatment. Satya Yoga Immersion and YTT will offer one necessary component...a safe(r) space for you, as a person of color, to begin to heal from the trauma of living in a racist world, and along with yourself, to empower and heal your sphere of influence...your families and your communities. The hope of Satya Yoga Collective is that together we may become co-creators of a healed and whole Earth Mother. We believe yoga was brought to the West in answer to a spiritual call to heal the mentality of separateness which led to colonization and all of its associated crimes against humanity and the Earth. At Satya Yoga, we believe that a yoga that does not hold social justice at it's heart is not a complete or true yoga.
In addition to honoring Yoga's traditional Indian roots, our program also offers a unique exploration of multicultural healing and wisdom traditions, weaving together knowledge from all corners of Mother Earth. We will draw inspiration from the works of powerful activists and teachers of color.
The objective of Satya Yoga Immersion for People of Color is to provide an empowering learning experience that brings students of color to a deeper understanding of yoga in its entirety and of themselves and the world in a nurturing spiritual community where our cultures are respected, our differences are honored, and our historical trauma as well as our present daily traumas are acknowledged and given space to heal... a space where you are seen and heard and your issues are not bypassed or ignored.
And as Satya Yoga grows, we are contributing to the rising tide of health consciousness and empowerment amongst People of Color. We are helping people take their health back into their hands from systemically racist health care systems.
Yoga is a lifelong journey of self study and self improvement. Side effects include stress reduction, improved health, and inner peace. Are you ready to begin your journey?