To change, first we listen

In the wellbeing and yoga industry there considerable actions we can take to align with social justice movements, to promote our collective healing, and to create community.

These voices are seeking to propell a new vision of what health looks like in our environment, community, and self by respecting representation, understanding discriminatory bias and the importance of access.

“Health” is a space that needs to be redefined in order for everyone to feel seen. I have found deep reflection and reconsideration through learning from these voices, and there are many more. Understanding what barriers exist in the wellness industry, in western yoga culture, and in our community practices of healthcare and food systems, are prudent toward change and not repeating wrongs of the past.

The aim is to actively move into the space of equality and equity in order to create an exchange that promotes restructuring to support our collective healing. We can start by honoring what land we are practicing on, by giving space to identify our preferred pronouns, by being aware of the inequalities within our food systems (and how we participate in them) and being actively engaged in anti-racism in order to shift our culture toward positive change.

Here are some voices from these movements and there are many others, please share what I have not listed so that we all can learn more.

Dr. Yasmene Mumby. Yoga teacher, Social Justice Leader, Creator of Ahimsa, an audio-memior on yoga, wellness and Black Lives in 2020. 4 Part memior released on all podcast platforms.

Susanna Barkataki. Yoga teacher championing social justice and yoga culture advocate, creater of Ignite Yoga and Wellness Institute, embodying equity and yogic values and working toward decolonializing yoga. Author of the article on How to Decolonialize Your Yoga Practice.

Amanda Gorman. National Youth Poet Laureate, activist focusing on issues of oppression, feminism, race and marginalization.

Steven Mederios. Criminal justice advocte promoting conversations on prison reform, and challenging abelism within the yoga community.

Sisters of Yoga. Global wellness collective seeking to increase representation and visibility of women of color in the wellness space in order for collective healing.

We are Change Yoga. Born from the Black Lives Matter movements in 2020 as an “awareness driven, peaceful movement of action to sustain progress toward systemic change, unity, equality, and justice for underrepresented and marginalized people.”

Indigenous Peoples Movement. A movement to unite indigenous voices and raise awareness for sovereignty and their voices in regards to actions that impact lands, peoples, and cultures.

Soul Fire Farm. Black owned, Afro-Indigenous community farm reimagining land and farmer sovereignty while promoting anti-racism through reparations and land initiatives, food justice workshops, and trainings for black and indigenous people of color.

Open Source Wellness. A new model for healthcare “prescription” that includes community wellbeing as nourishment for individual health through behavioral strategies and preventative industry.

Each one of us has a particular niche and perspective that can affect change in order to pursue cultural wellbeing. Listening is the first step toward us all coming together to create change and promote the society we wish to be a part of. Actively decreasing barriers toward access and including voices that have been silenced or refrained is another step. Through this we must acknowledge our accountability and our role in these systems, we must create open exchange in order to move into wellbeing and healing.

I am continually unlearning and reforming to acknowledge our community trauma and move beyond it into wellbeing.

I invite all to share in this space, to promote wellbeing and to amplify voices that have been unheard. Consider how you may support these causes or to find others existing within your community, together we can build a better future.

Published by Rachael Schmoker

Creativing inclusivity for wellbeing through a whole-system perspective interweaving environment, community, mind, body and self. Engaging in trauma informed, natural healing methodologies to create a community of healing.

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