I really appreciate that this conversation is happening on our website - and I particularly appreciate the tone. I find ,on many platforms, difficult conversations devolve into abuse and anger very quickly and this can be a highly charged topic, especially at this time.
This is a very important topic to me and our team. I realize that we (DoYogaWithMe) have not posted anything publicly on this topic, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t care. We have, in fact, been crafting many drafts of a blog article that we planned to publish before Christmas, but the process has been more challenging than anticipated.
Part of the challenge has been doing what we can to fully understand the issue. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts so far, everyone, particularly @isabella0215. I read most of the articles you shared and checked out the podcast (although - and I apologize for the dark humor - the Yoga is Dead podcast itself seems to be dead, since the last episode was a year ago). Ha ha. I know, not funny.
The articles were all very helpful for me, particularly Yoga, Colonialism, and India. I have been to India myself and remember it being difficult not to join those who were on a spiritual journey - exposing themselves to India’s suffering in order to advance their own spiritual growth. Yoga is rife with this kind of intention and language.
The blog article I mentioned above has been difficult mainly because I feel like we have a lot to learn. What continues to suprise (and disturb) me is the institutionalized and systemic racism that has become a part of me and my interactions with my fellow teachers and yoga friends, without knowing it. I’m suspicious that as I read more on this topic, I will discover more within myself and our culture.
To fill you in a bit on our company, DoYogaWithMe operates in Victoria, British Columbia. British Columbia has a visible minority and Aboriginal population of 36.2%. Victoria has a population of 85,792 people, of which 15,510 are visible minorities or Aboriginal, representing 18%. Of our 29 teachers, four are people of color (one more BIPOC teacher is joining us this month), making up 14%. We clearly can do more to represent the diversity in our own community, but we struggle to increase our percentage of BIPOC teachers due to their low representation, especially within our yoga community. However, I fully agree with you @isabella0215 that it would be in our best interest to try to represent the cultural diversity of the U.S. and the world in which we live, since our student community is global. We started to become better aware of this a few months ago and have been reaching out to BIPOC teachers in cities nearby, like Vancouver.
I’ll end this post here for now, with the hope that those who have already contributed, and others, will continue to share their thoughts and knowledge on this topic. I’m open to a discussion and hope that we can all maintain a spirit of openness, vulnerability, curiosity and growth.