It‘s almost 4am as I write this. I have been awake for a few hours and it‘s taken me a while to settle. This is why I’m here now.
I have been reflecting hard on my existence in the world as a white yoga teacher. What role am I playing? How can I be braver, do better, support and amplify my non-white fellow yoga teachers?
A question on the social media feed of a Desi anti-racist educator kept me thinking about this all week. And these thoughts led me to write.
Why am I a yoga teacher?
Well yoga found me in my late 30s. And after about a year of doing a physical practice I decided to train to become a teacher. I had been sacked from my job in recruitment in the time of the banks crashing in the U.K. and I took 6 months to figure out what to do next. I spent my whole pay check on what was the biggest change of my life.
I decided to train in India. And I can honestly say it was because I knew it would reconnect me to God. I didn’t know this at the time, but that’s why I went and I will be forever grateful that I did.
Whilst on my training course, I lived in an ashram with 71 other students and about 30 staff. We were from all over the world. A beautiful mix of races, religions, beliefs and opinions. And what I remember most about that time was friendship, prayer, selfless service, humility, curiosity and an intense conversation with God.
I now know that my ancestry isn’t somewhere I can easily look to in order to find meaning, ritual, fairness and a deep love of the human and more than human world. My ancestors were violent oppressors, bigots and the creators of this brutal over-culture that we now find ourselves in. But my ancestors were also witches, healers, midwives, farmers, weavers, artists and singers. I am in search of the goodness of the country that I now live on and the medicine of the land. My upbringing was a Christian one and although I have a real love of Jesus and appreciate the amazing work the Church can do, Christianity doesn’t sit well with me. Infact that is putting it very mildly. So I find myself with an oppressive heritage, in a land that has had its people raped, pillaged, burned to death by Romans, Saxons, French and Viking oppressors. I find myself seeking to repair wrongdoing to my non-white kinfolk and praying for my 6 million ancestral sisters who were burnt at the stake. And don’t even get me started on the desecration of our planet’s ecosystems. What I’m left with is that I need to continue to be brave, resilient but also go gently with myself. I can be pretty intense to have a drink with you know?
Living a life in alignment with yogic and ayurvedic practices has given me the tools to help me find a balanced way. I have found the courage to do better and be better everyday. I stumble and fall very, very often. But I have to keep giving a shit about my impact on the world in every waking moment. Otherwise what’s the point, right?
And now I will try and get back to sleep. There’s so much more to say but enough for now. Go gently my loves.
I really hope I can sleep. Pray for me.