Not even yoga is safe from wokeness.
Following the verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, the CEO of the Yoga Alliance, the largest nonprofit association representing yoga teachers, sent out an email to all members suggesting they bring discussions of race and racism into the yoga classroom.
“In the instance of Chauvin’s verdict, several takeaways are clear: the need to stick with the difficult work, to remain vigilant and energized against racism, and in the case of [Yoga Alliance/Yoga Alliance Foundation], remain steadfast in our mission to promote equity and accessibility in yoga and beyond. This includes holding space for these important conversations, investing in historically marginalized communities, sharing Social Justice Resources for the public and our members, in addition to engaging in ongoing internal reflection and education,” Yoga Alliance president and CEO Shannon Roche wrote in the message.
Roche, who is white, then tried to head off anyone who suggested they “keep politics out of yoga” or “stick to the yoga,” by insisting “this is yoga.”
“As yoga teachers and practitioners, readers of this letter are no doubt familiar with the principle of Satya, which can be translated to ‘truth.’ Satya asks us to deliberately avoid ignorance to live a more honest life. With regard to racism, this includes not shying away from difficult realities and seeking education on anti-racism; taking action in the ways and places that we can; calling out injustice when we see it; and promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity when and as much as possible,” Roche wrote. “We must also stick with yoga and each other, as sharing this practice elevates our human consciousness and raises our collective awareness. Together, with the safety of our common goal of true equity as our guide, we can break this dark pattern and create restorative balance.”
Not all Alliance members were happy with Roche’s email.
Colin Doniger, a yoga instructor in Leesburg, Virginia, told The Daily Wire that he was “shocked to receive this very political email” from the Alliance, adding that he’s “witnessed the recent surge of woke corporate virtual signaling sweeping across the country, but I would have expected more wisdom and discernment from ‘the largest nonprofit association representing the yoga community.’”
Doniger said he agreed to be named in this article because he has respect for those who speak out against so-called anti-racism policies and teachings like Critical Race Theory and doesn’t want to “let others fight my battles.”
“Yoga is the one safe space from our current culture of politicizing everything. We all have our political views and that’s ok – it’s an inalienable right to hold our own perspectives, but Yoga teaches us to recognize them as exactly that – perspectives,” Doniger explained in an email to The Daily Wire.
Far from what Roche wrote to Alliance members, Doniger wrote that the teachings of yoga ask that we don’t push our own perspective on others.
“Yoga teaches us that the Self is our true eternal being and our connection to divinity. The Self goes beyond all exterior characteristics, beyond our feelings or perspectives,” Doniger said, citing the Stephen Mitchell translation of Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita.
“Understanding this – I am rather confused on where the Yoga Alliance would think it wise to preach identity politics to all registered Yoga Teachers in our country. To suggest that there is systemic racism in the Yoga community, a community who literally teaches that your identity has nothing to do with your external characteristics or personal beliefs, is just pure delusion. This message from YA suggests to me that the actual problem is more likely systemic wokeism. There will always be individual cases of bad actors, but to call something systemic suggests it is widespread. I would go out on a limb and say the Yoga community is probably one of the most inclusive communities on planet earth,” Doniger added.
In Loudoun County, where Doniger teaches, parents have been battling the local school board in an attempt to keep Critical Race Theory and other ideologies that teach America as irredeemably racist out of the schools. Doniger said that when he saw classic CRT buzzwords like “equity” and “anti-racist,” he found it odd, since “equity” is often confused with “equality.”
“I believe that equality is a great goal we should all strive for – it means working to create equal opportunity. ‘Equity’ on the other hand, refers to equal outcomes (the foolish belief that we can create equal results),” Doniger said, adding that this was the antithesis of Karma Yoga.
“Karma Yoga is the Yoga of action (think of it as selfless service),” he said. “In Karma Yoga, we perform all actions without attachment to the result. In other words, we act because it is the right thing to do or to serve others and strive to let go of the desire to control the outcome.”
“The idea is basically that attachment to outcomes will only lead to suffering. This is self-evident when we look at the education system where in order to control outcome, they have to continually lower the bar of achievement and punish hard work to create a kind of false appearance of equal outcomes,” Doniger added.
CRT and similar ideologies have mostly been confined to schools and government training, but it appears it is beginning to leak out into other aspects of society as well.
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