This week I dipped into The Yoga Sutra as part of the Deep Dive 8 Limbs is doing this summer to rework our mission. We are about to hit our 20 Year Anniversary but at the same time have realized that our original mission of inclusion has fallen short.

The first step in our examination is my current assignment from our mission-keeper, Ashley Dahl, to write out our current mission in yogic philosophy terms.
Our mission at 8 Limbs Yoga Centers 
is to create a supportive, inclusive, and non-competitive atmosphere 
in which yoga practitioners can learn and grow.

As I began this process I quickly realized I had never done such a thing. The original 8 Limbs mission came out of my own strong desire to be included, and to be inclusive, but that perspective has proven itself inherently limited and limiting, and lacks the tensile strength needed to take it to the next level of truth. Yoga is the perspective that 8 Limbs comes from, so yoga is what we will go to, to bring life to our purpose and prepare us to take on true inclusion.

My first stab at this led directly to the Yoga Sutra, verses 2.1-2-9. These sutras speak to kriya yoga, the yoga of action, and how the three tenets of tapas(discipline, hard work, turning up the heat), svadhyaya (deep self-study) and isvara prandhana (surrender) allow us to reduce the five klesas (obstacles, afflictions)–avidya (ignorance), asmita (I-ness, ego-ism), raga (attachment), dvesa (aversion), and abhinivesa (fear, clinging to life)–and increase our ability to dwell in samadhi (presence).
There are boatloads to unpack here, and I relish the process. Right here is where barriers to inclusion live, right here is where racism and bias, be they conscious or not, are rooted.
For now, though, I will send you back into the August sunshine with a promise:
I, as founder of 8 Limbs, will continue to take dips, plunges, and deep dives into the ocean of yoga, as well as the swiftly moving rivers of racial and social justice, in order to guide 8 Limbs, with our amazing staff and teachers, into the next twenty years with integrity, clarity, humility, and LOVE.
Posted by: Anne Phyfe Palmer, Founder

This post is the Founder’s letter of our August Newsletter. To subscribe to our bi-monthly newsletter click here

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