Navigate Change Like a Yogi
The real work of social awakening goes well beyond the yoga mat. Melanie Klein, a mentor of mine and one of the founders of The Yoga and Body Image Coalition, started out at the intersection between social work, gender studies, and media literacy before ever taking her first Kundalini Yoga class, but that first class was a game-changer. It altered her whole perspective because she realized she wasn’t as in touch with her own body as she thought.
Having the intellect to deconstruct the world around you is one strength, but until you have the tools to deconstruct the way these messages live inside yourself, you aren’t reaching your full potential. Critical consciousness is key to the awareness we achieve on the yoga mat, but it’s also integral to carrying what we’ve learned on the mat into our waking world.
Within the wellness in the community, we cannot talk about yoga without touching on the uncomfortable things people don’t want to talk about. But things like colonization, racism, classism, and sexism occur in this space too, and even though we seek meditation to “disconnect” in a sense, we cannot disconnect these social issues from our practice.
Yoga is our space to make change and take the right action. It is a space where body acceptance can be realized, and it’s also a platform for amplifying marginalized voices. Practicing yoga strengthens our hearts so we can put in the real work – what Melanie calls “in-house shifting” – so that we can be the change we wish to see in this industry and in the world around us.
Listen to my interview with Melanie on the latest episode of the Yoga Inspiration podcast.