Social Justice | Living Yoga | Culture

Isn’t Living Yoga primarily a Yoga organization? Why are you speaking about Social Justice?

Living Yoga Class at Columbia River Correctional Institution

Living Yoga Class at Columbia River Correctional Institution

Living Yoga fosters healing and resilience through trauma-informed yoga and mindfulness practices.

A trauma-informed approach to yoga requires being informed about trauma. Whether personal, systemic, secondary, or vicarious, trauma must be acknowledged to create a safe(r) foundation for healing and to prevent re-traumatization.

At Living Yoga we believe that a primary historical and ongoing cause of trauma is racial inequity resulting from structural white supremacy. In the United States, the origins of racialized trauma are the colonization, land theft, and genocide of American Indigenous peoples, and the enslavement of Black Africans. (See our Equity Statement for more.)

White supremacy culture, expressed in both structural and personal relationships, creates trauma in all bodies, White bodies and B.I.P.O.C. bodies, and must be investigated somatically (through the body) if we are to be truly trauma-informed and support each other in community.

A trauma-informed approach to yoga and mindfulness practices then requires us to learn about our racialized identity and compassionately unpack our lived experiences in loving community.

A trauma-informed approach to yoga and mindfulness practices requires us to check in, not out. To sit with discomfort intentionally. To educate ourselves, and others.

Yoga, when truly trauma-informed, becomes a powerful tool for Social Justice.

But what about love and light? Aren’t we All One? Why are we talking about separation and oppression?

Living Yoga Class at Columbia River Correctional Institution

Living Yoga Class at Columbia River Correctional Institution

Living Yoga does believe that we are all one. However we are not all treated equally. To claim oneness is offensive to those who are experiencing oppression. We are not all afforded the same opportunities, privileges, and treatment.

We live in a world where the color of one’s skin still prevents equal access to “love and light.” At Living Yoga, we believe it is worth asking, if love and light comes to you via culturally established privileges that prevent others from access, is it really love and light? And if not, what can you do to change this reality?

Here is a great essay by Susanna Barkataki that addresses social justice, access, and western yoga spaces.