Why Yoga as Social Justice?

But why yoga?

I see yoga as a way to create community and help folks to heal from trauma. I see it as a stepping stone to spirituality which can create immense space for recovery and wholeness. I try to keep my classes as accessible as possible.  I’ve taught at community colleges where students can use financial aid and scholarships to take part in a life changing practice.  I encourage bartering, exchange of services, or other creative ways to bring yoga to those who are ready.  I teach where I am in space and from my own place of authenticity.  I have found myself in the basement of churches, hospitals, classrooms, grassy parks, and sometimes if I’m lucky—a heated studio.

Yoga has been shown to be an effective method for healing trauma held in the body and can be a more holistic and affordable approach to personal healing.  More and more research is showing the very powerful healing and calming properties of the breath.  Compared to a talk therapy session at $150 yoga can run as little as $5 a class in some areas. Trauma-informed yoga is taught in a very specific manner, emphasizing control over one’s own experience, honoring the limits of one’s own body, and inviting students to explore their individual experience in every breath and every pose.

I believe that in empowering the individual through self-healing practices, these same individuals can begin to shift their own perception and eventually the current paradigm that keeps yoga inaccessible to many folks and perpetuates classism, racism, etc. Once the individual realizes their infinite worth and finds ways to express that worth outside of how we currently evaluate humans and the environment, they can truly experience freedom whether in a yoga pose or in a spiritual or emotional sense.  Through yoga, I can help serve my community and show students the value of their body, breath, thoughts, and own unique contributions to the spaces in which they live and practice.

I see yoga as social justice and helping others as part of my greater purpose in life.  I use service work to get at the heart of the issue—people need not be rescued at all, but shown their own value through the mirror of yoga.  Empowering the individual empowers the community.

Jen

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