I want to begin this section of my website with an acknowledgment of the complex ways that racism and colonization inform the way that yoga is taken up in the West. As a white settler, my relationship to yoga is enmeshed with these complexities, including the power structures that work to appropriate (to take without recognition or honouring), essentialize (to reduce or partition a multifaceted cultural practice), and fetishize (to romanticize and consume through racial stereotypes, white fantasies of cultural difference). Yoga is a Sanskrit word, one meaning of which is to ‘unite.’ This spiritual, mental, and physical practice that has its roots in India. There are many different types of yoga, and these varied lineages all have different cultural locations, teachings, and goals. Thinking and talking openly about histories of cultural appropriation, colonization, and racism is an important part of my own daily yoga practice, and part of my ongoing journey as a person with intersections of racial and colonial privilege. I hope you will join me in those conversations!
Winner of the 2017 Yoga Alliance Foundation Aspiring Yoga Teacher Scholarship
The Aspiring Teacher Scholarships are awarded by the Yoga Alliance Foundation, to yoga practitioners with plenty of leadership and/or community service experience, and who want to deepen their practice by teaching yoga in underserved communities. As a recipient of this scholarship, in 2018 I will become a certified instructor and hope to bring yoga into my mental health support work with LGBTQ+ communities. More updates to come!
You Are Here: Exploring Yoga and the Impacts of Cultural Appropriation
In 2014, I collaborated with nisha ahuja to make a short film about yoga and cultural appropriation. This piece followed a workshop that was held in Toronto Ontario, where nisha had taught similar content. There was such an outpouring of requests for this material to be accessible online, that we decided to turn it into a teaching tool. For more information, visit the film’s official website https://yogaappropriation.wordpress.com