I sit at my computer humbled, but also excited, for I’ve been given yet another opportunity for growth. On Sunday I was featured in a column by Seattle Times columnist Nicole Brodeur. I was honored to be profiled by Nicole about the 8 Limbs 20th anniversary, and the intentional quality we bring to the business of yoga. In our interview we talked about the cultural competency training that 8 Limbs, along with several other Seattle yoga studios, has been working on this spring, and this work became a main focus of the article.
I am grateful to have this topic brought more and more into the mainstream media, and applaud Nicole for her interest in bringing it forth. The humility and growth arose when I realized the article may have given the impression that 8 Limbs is leading the way in this arena, while the truth is that 8 Limbs has stepped up only recently to this very complex and nuanced work, work that many people and organizations have spent years dedicated to addressing. I am also aware that part of why I was featured is the inherent whiteness and privilege I sit in, which is in itself a form of racial discrimination. That seat needs to be a place from which I continue to call out the subtle (and not-so-subtle) racism, such as being lauded for this work. From this very well-intentioned article, I have received the boost of attention for myself and my business while people of color and organizations who have contributed far more were presented only briefly, if at all.
To shift the attention I’d like to start by acknowledging some of the forerunners in this conversation, as it relates to yoga, as any work that 8 Limbs does in the arena of anti-discrimination and bias awareness comes out of their efforts. Some of the local names I am most aware of are: People of Color Yoga, Yoga Behind Bars, Street Yoga (8 Limbs Community Giving Partner for 2016), Samarya Yoga, Rainier Beach Yoga, and Krista Hanson and RW Alves, who will be leading the next Cultural Competency training for yoga teachers and studio staff and owners. Nationally there’s Everyday Feminism, Race & Yoga, Roopa Singh, Dianne Bondy, Susanna Barkataki, Jacoby Ballard, Off the Mat and Into the World, Bending Towards Justice, Native Appropriations, and Decolonizing Yoga. If you are aware of other organizations working to bring more social justice within the yoga context, I want to know about it, please email me!
I want to be clear that 8 Limbs sees this work as an ongoing and long-term conversation from which we have a great deal to learn and grow from. We look forward to unpacking cultural appropriation in yoga, access to yoga, and investigating how the Seattle yoga community can learn and grow together. Read more about our next event, on June 15: Cultural Competency: A Conversation, for yoga teachers & studio staff and owners. Hope to see some of you there, please spread the word to the yoga teachers in your life!
Posted by: Anne Phyfe Palmer, Founder 8 Limbs Yoga Centers
This post is the Director’s letter of our June Newsletter. To subscribe to our bi-monthly newsletter click here.