Yoga & Racism

Are you exhausted from all of the conflict over racism in our country? I am because because I have two adult biracial children that don’t deserve discrimination as much as the next person.  Moments exist in my life where someone ignorant made a racist comment and I did not respond. My reasoning is that they wont listen anyway. While it might be true, they wont listen, I realize now silence is acceptance. The yoga ethic, Satya, is about always being grounded in truth with our actions and words. Remaining silent is no longer my truth.  

What is Race?

Race is a social and political construct that is not traced with genetics. It’s why genetic tests refer to “ancestry” and not race. Did you know the term race as we know it came about in th 1500s? Prior to that it was infrequently used and referred to groups of people with kinship or group connection. If you’re curious, research how defining the white race has changed over the years to expand the snobbery that it is. Either way, racism was a form of prejudice that created race. Not the other way around.         

Learn American history

In the spirit of Ahimsa (compassion), we owe it to all non white races to educate ourselves on American history and truely understand how those in power have manipulated us to accept a system that implements racism and mass incarceration of non white races. The thirteenth amendment gave slaves their freedom, but intentionally from its inception included a loop hole of criminalization. There are documentaries we can watch and books we can read that will explain this even further.

What about Riots and Looters? 

Trevor Noah excellently explains how the societal contract that exists in America doesn’t have the system upholding its end for people of color so why would they uphold their end. I agree, the behavior isn’t excusable, but prioritizing the root of the problem is most likely to have the bigger impact. We as yogis have more than Ahimsa (non violence) to stand on. Did you know the United States has 25% of the worlds prison population even though we’re only 5% of the total population? We need to vote into office people that are willing to focus on rehabilitation and removing minimum sentencing. Yoga ethics asks us to practice Asteya (non stealing). This applies to the lives and families we are stealing from non whites. If you think that’s not happening, again please learn about our history and the criminalization policy platforms that are used to win elections and keep non white people enslaved in our system. 

Mantra for protection.

The stress of social media interactions over the current state of affairs has been exhausting. Therefore, I’d like to leave this mantra that has provide me a momentary reprieve. The Mantra is used during times when you’d like to feel safe. My daughter likes to hear it before she’s going to bed hopeful she wont have bad dreams. A beautiful version is sung by Jai-Jagdeesh.

Aad Guray Nameh.                   (I bow to primal wisdom)

Jugaad Guray Nameh.             (I bow to the wisdom through the ages)

Sat Guray Nameh.                      (I bow to the true wisdom)

Siri Guru Dayvay NAmeh        (I bow to the great, unseen wisdom)

May you be safe, aware, compassionate, and true to yourself. 

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