Last weekend I filmed a few videos for my YouTube channel.
I wanted to create something that might be of support to those who are protesting, so one of the videos I created is called Yoga for Activists.
It’s about 20 minutes long, with a few flows to cultivate connection inward so you can create ripples outward into the world with more focus, power, and intention. I close the class with 2 gentle, restorative poses because in my experience, activists tend not to give themselves enough downtime to recover.
I really liked the class and thought it might be useful for those who need it.
Then I read accounts of peaceful protests interrupted by tear gas and intentional violence by police against the protesters.
I saw graphic photos of people who had been hit by rubber bullets at close range.
I read about the way protesters had been detained, arrested, and released in ways that violated basic human rights.
And there was no way I could post the video I filmed.
It felt insensitive.
Instead I used my Youtube channel in a way I haven’t before.
I filmed a video reading aloud the names of some of the black men and women killed by white people or police officers. You can see the video here.
I talked a bit about the importance of dismantling white supremacy from the inside out.
That white people, me included, need to do the daily work of recognizing and checking our biases.
We need to listen to and learn from Black and Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC).
And we need to fight back against the systemic privilege that has kept white people in a position of power for centuries, while keeping black people oppressed.
I am not a racial educator.
I did not create this video as a way to do social justice performance art.
I created this video as a way to name and honor those who have been needlessly killed.
Black Lives Matter.
It is so easy for their names to be forgotten. To be a temporary rallying cry and then dismissed for whatever the next big that sparks outrage.
I don’t want to forget.
I’ve already let too much slide, despite my outrage.
I’m going to be honest:
Part of the reason I created the Yoga for Activists video I that I wanted to do what I often do, which is to use my skills to help.
And I also sort of wanted to move back toward “normal” for my business.
I wanted to post about motherhood, self-care, and saving the world like I usually do. And I wanted to create yoga videos again, instead of rage posting about black people being killed.
Even as I write this, I feel the privilege of it.
And truthfully, I don’t want to “go back to normal” especially if normal includes the continued oppression of people based on the color of their skin.
What I want to do is move forward.
I will start posting yoga videos again on my YouTube channel, although the Yoga for Activists video might not see the light of day for awhile — unless you want it.
I will continue to do the work of showing up on my yoga mat, which teaches me in small ways how to prepare for the harder work off the mat.
And I will continue to do the harder work of anti-racism.
I am a nerd at heart. One of my favorite quotes from Star Trek is a Vulcan philosophy:
“Infinite diversity with infinite combinations.”
Our diversity makes us stronger.
All of the unique threads that we weave together to make this tapestry of human existence is what makes the tapestry more luminous and strong.
This is what inspires me, on and off the mat.
I’ll continue to consider how I can incorporate social justice into my yoga offerings, as well as how I can amplify BIPOC voices through my platform.
I’ll share a list at the end of this post of the racial educators I learn from as well as some of the books I’ve read and want to read.
If you have suggestions for ways I can make my offerings more inclusive or more supportive of BIPOC, please give me that feedback.
If you have suggestions for ways I can improve my offerings — yoga or self-care — to include more aspects of social justice, please give me that feedback.
Educators, Authors, and Activists I Learn From:
Brittany Packnett Cunningham
Austin Channing Brown
Luvvie Ajayi Jones