Photo 1 circa 2008 I think. Photo 2 circa this morning. (See a breakdown of proper alignment for sirsanana here: https://youtu.be/JXazvg_pR0Q ) ____ Yoga as colonized by the West I started studying #yogasana in 1999 when I was 19. I didn’t know what Yoga really was. I thought it was just postures and breathing that felt #spiritual in some way. I vaguely understood it was to ‘prepare the mind for meditation’ and it mentally felt good to practice but like most people (in the west) I was focused too much on the physical; 'achieving' the end result of a perfect pose totally clueless of the devotional path that is yoga. __ Western yoga has a cultural appropriation problem. We have a bad habit of taking all that is sacred from other cultures (namely non-euro white) and making it profane. We cherry pick and say it’s 'harmless'. From native headdresses at Coachella and Victoria Secret runways to bastardizing yoga for capitalist profit. If you’re calling yourself a yogi or yogini but don’t know and aren't committed to the ten living principles, for example, or continuously studying any ancient texts, scriptures, or sutras you’ve completely missed the mark. A yogi/ni isn’t a buzzword. Would you call yourself a priest, rabbi, imam, monk, or nun because you go to a church, mosque, or synagogue on occasion? Probably not. So why call yourself a yogi/ni just because you do postures on a mat? This doesn’t mean you HAVE to become a yogi/ni or never do Yoga again. Rather take some time to check yourself and show some respect. Yoga as an actual practice beyond yogasana is a devotional path that demands self-discipline, awareness, mindfulness and commitment. Yoga roots cannot grow in shallow colonized pools. Western yoga has too many shallow pools. Rina Deshpande writes, “I like your “om” shirt—can you tell me about the 2,500-year history behind it?” Her article: https://www.self.com/story/yoga-indian-cultural-appropriation. Google
Black people fail to unite one another. We fail to empower and support, and instead seek to tear each other down. The dark-skin vs light-skin feud has been prevalent for such a long time and is sadly still profound in society. Hearing comments like, ‘you’re pretty for a black girl’ or being told that I have ‘butter-skin’ fails to be alluring or attractive. Black skin has a range of different beautiful complexions and yet they remain to be the same on paper - black. I rarely see any other race prejudicing against their own and yet black people continue to do so. Often, I think this comes from a lack of grounding and understanding of your own culture and colour. A lack of knowledge. A failure to accept who you are and allowing consequential feelings of insecurity to stem from this. We need to work on having a united front. We need to work together and respect each other. We need to respect our whole race. Link to this is in my bio.
Let’s talk about privilege. Come on, come on. It’s only awkward if you make it awkward. I’m white and I’m privileged. See, it’s easy. I grew up in a suburban home and had easy access to everything I needed to keep me fed, clothed, safe, and more. My dad worked his ass off since he was ten-years-old to help support his Greek immigrant parents. It took him five different colleges until he finally earned that degree. But he did it. My father did it so that I could live a privileged life—one that I acknowledge and do not take for granted. To say that you’re privileged does not take away your struggle—or your parent’s struggle. It does not negate every hard thing that you’ve had to endure to get where you are today. To say you’re privileged does not mean that your life is easy. Honestly, it’s not about you—not about you at all. It’s about acknowledging our friends of color. It’s looking them in the eyes, nodding our heads, and saying, “I see you.” It’s holding out your hand so that they will grasp onto it. It’s never letting go of that hand and letting them know that you are not a coward. You will stand with them through their struggle, their discrimination, their sorrow. Talking about privilege does not divide, it unites. Being a white mother, I know that my job will be easier than that of my black friend. - I won’t have to tell my son not to leave the house in his baggy sweatpants so no one will judge him. - I won’t have to lecture him about how to act during an innocent traffic stop. - The eyes of store clerks won’t adhere to him as he walks through the store and looks for clothes. - If he speaks well, he won’t have to worry that his friends will call him a sellout. Yes, my job as a mother, a white mother, will still be hard. Mothering is the most difficult job out there. But the privilege that I own will make it a little easier on me compared to that of my friend of color. This, I know. This, I can accept. Can
If we take the time to recognize the source of privilege, we will then understand oppression, acting accordingly to what it is. By acknowledging these facts and weighing the evidence in front is us, our views of the world around us will never be the same . .