Dear yogi friends,
The world is a wonderful place and is becoming more diverse all the time; it is changing quickly and this is fascinating to see. Political unrest across the world sometimes, however, reflects hostilities that arise, in part, because of this diversity.
Yoga teaches us that we are one; the energy and light that is within all of us comes from the same source. This yogic approach can be a helpful reminder when we come across newness, difference and the unknown in our lives.
Often we do that naturally by travelling to diverse places to experience different cultures through food, music, and social events. We can also do that by including and encouraging everyone to come to the yoga mat.
Our yoga practice is, in part, a reflection of ourselves. On our mat, we can be our authentic selves. We might be one of the people whose lives have been changed from stepping onto a mat and finding our true heart. Yoga can make us healthier, both physically and emotionally. It can make us more aware of the environment and people around us and more compassionate and accepting of others.
Unfortunately however, not everyone feels comfortable doing yoga. The media gives us images of people doing yoga who are thin, flexible, female, and, for the most part white. We don’t often see photos of different-sized people, different-coloured people, people with disabilities and transgendered people doing yoga. So it is hard to feel included in the wonderful world of yoga when you don’t see yourself in the images.
I am proud of the warm and friendly community that exists between the yogis who come to Aquarius yoga but I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the ways in which we can all continue to ensure that everyone in the wider community is welcomed.
It is important that we all offer a safe place on the mat for people of colour, for those with disabilities, for all ages, for a diverse range of sexualities and for transgendered people. We all experience challenges in our lives in some way, it is important that the yoga mat becomes an equalizer. Here are some ways that we can make yoga accessible for all.
We can be welcoming to those who are just beginning classes, no matter how different they might be to us. A simple smile, maybe introducing yourself can make all the difference at your first class.
Even though it’s difficult, we can resist mental comparison in class; there are always people bendier than each of us, just as there are those who are less flexible. There are people larger and smaller than us too. We are each on our own journey and our experience is the only guide.
When we choose to take part in partner work, we can all try to be inclusive in our choice of partner. We can be the change we want to see in the world.
We can choose to use positive inclusive language, by being careful how we speak. We can be careful to stay away from language that labels or perpetuates stereotypes.
I will always try to offer poses that can be easily modified and adapted according to ability and will always provide props and equipment to allow you to modify safely. If coming to classes are difficult for you, or access is difficult, I can come to your home for private sessions.
Lastly, I would like to think that diversity is embraced in our classes, you are all such lovely individuals, but if any of you experience any challenges as part of being in one of our classes, please do let me know and I will try to address your concerns.
We all have the power to change, to inspire others, to develop, and to grow a truly inclusive community. It is important to embrace change in all areas of your world. A great place to invite inclusion is the yoga mat.
Term ends on Thursday 19 Dec – New term begins on Monday 06 Jan 2020