Greetings fellow practitioners,
This particular moment in time has revealed an old truth, in an entirely different way.
Right now our country is in the throes of a global health crisis, but we’ve always had a sickness called racism. The current pandemic thrust this reality, one that affects everyone but to very different degrees, into a stark spotlight.
Many of us have been sheltered-in-place, some with more time and fewer distractions, or stressors, others filled with fear and worry, and all in a time of profound uncertainty.
That is painful. But it’s true.
Take a moment. Sit with it. Feel it.
What do you feel?
Discomfort? Sadness? Fear? Anger? Love? Overwhelm?
We all feel this current reality differently, and will be affected by it in differing degrees, but we are all a part of it. And we are all responsible for working towards lasting change. This particular moment is demanding change.
Over the past few months of this uncertain time many of us have felt a desire to get back to “normal.” In uncertain times there is nothing more than we crave than certainty. But many of us are waking up to the reality that normal doesn’t work anymore, in fact it is inherently problematic and harmful. Just like silence = complicity, returning to “normal” comes with the question: how is my “normal” complicit when normal has included sanctioned and lawful brutality against Black bodies – men, women, trans, and children – generation after appalling generation?
We are being forced to confront our legacy. That the planet is better off without much of our “essential” work. That Black bodies still suffer as the rest of the world shelters because shelter has never included them.
When we remove the possibility of normal, when we recognize we need to stop and proceed in a different way but don’t know what that way is, a vacuum arises, one that we may experience as anxiety, fear, uncertainty, loss of power, lack of confidence, or the desire to be perceived in a certain way. This vacuum may not be welcome; we are taught to abhor the vacuum and return to stasis as quickly as possible.
Practices that value and cultivate inquiry, patience, investigation and mindfulness, like yoga, tell us that this void is essential for growth. The void, emptiness, is a necessary precursor for change. This is the space that allows us to learn, to take on new understandings, to examine unconscious belief systems, all without rushing to solutions or a quick or easy fix. Yoga, the breath, and stillness can all help us to abide in the vacuum, an essential step in actual and lasting change, an opening where something new can come in.
🖤 🖤 🖤
8 Limbs Yoga Centers condemns overt and covert police brutality of any kind against the Black community. We want to see accountability and consequences for all acts of violence perpetrated by racism. We believe that Black lives are more important than profits and property. The cost is too high to remain confused about this.
We have been honored to learn from these resources:
Leadership & Allyship
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad
U.S. Criminal Justice System
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
13th, the documentary by Ava DuVernay
Black woman teachers in spiritual traditions
With fierce compassion,
8 Limbs Yoga Centers