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Yoga and Racial Justice

with Special Guest Teacher, James Ford (bio below)

$40*

*Proceeds directly benefit James' organization, Bridges Through Yoga, that seeks to foster IPOC representation in the yoga community. 

People come to yoga for many different reasons, one of which is to checking out versus checking in. The difference is so subtle that we usually don't even know we are doing it. This is also referred to as spiritual bypassing and it shields us from the truth, it disconnects us from our feelings, and helps us avoid the big picture.

There are many people who believe that we have progressed as a society but by tuning into current events there seems to be a chasm between progress and reality. Now is the time to put our bodies in mindful action toward ahimsa (non-violence). Now is the time to use yoga to help reveal the samskaras (Impressions, ideas, or actions; taken together that make up our conditioning) of racism, oppression and injustice and create new ways of thinking, being, and living. Conversations about race and racism can be difficult and uncomfortable, but allowing ourselves to feel that discomfort without becoming defensive or withdrawn is the only place to start.

This workshop will offer a practice of asanas, pranayama, and meditation that will allow us to be present and open. We will explore our roles in how we are potentially perpetuating racism, oppression, and injustice, and identify ways we can begin to form new samskaras around deconstructing our ideas and behaviors cause himsa(violence) to others.

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James has been practicing yoga for 7 years, having a foundation in Yoga Nidra, Yin and Restorative styles, which progressed to incorporate asana combined with vinyasa, pranayama, meditation and mantra. He completed his 200 hr RYT yoga teacher training at the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, PA.

James aims to create a safe space to explore yoga with open and accessible classes for students who are diverse in gender, race, religion, age and ability. As an African American male he feels it is important to create access and opportunities for people of color to explore yoga. Yoga has the ability to loosen the hold of trauma, in any form, that prevents us from living our lives to its fullest. 

He teaches in the Himalayan tradition, rooted in dynamic and flowing sequences of asanas, a strong emphasis on diaphragmatic breathing, pranayama and systematic relaxation. Over the course of his classes students will cultivate a deeper connection with the breath and the body. You can practice more with James at One Yoga in South Minneapolis and Johnson Street Yoga in Northeast Minneapolis.

Earlier Event: May 12
Developing a Self-Practice