Anjali Rao 0:00
Hello! Welcome to this podcast. Today is a special, or shall I say a unique episode of The Love of Yoga podcast. Because its me sharing a few thoughts rather than having a conversation with a guest. I would like to share some reflections on the past episodes, and some news about what's to come next and why. I hope you find this useful and supportive in some way.
The title of this episode is Whats Yoga Gotta Do with it? Title inspired from the late, great Tina Turner of course! What's Yoga Gotta Do with it? What has Yoga got to do with some of the issues we have discussed on the podcast? Some of you may wonder how some of these episodes are in alignment with what is known as Yoga, and if there are any under-lying themes in this podcast.
I have been so deeply honored to have so many fantastic folks who are experts in their fields come and share so generously with us all, and I am truly grateful. My intention and a vision for the podcast can be best explained with an analogy of weaving. I am bringing together different threads of the teachings from various sources to the everyday practitioner to present an expansive, multi hued, colorful tapestry. Yoga is after all, a multi-dimensional system of teachings and practices pertaining to the human potential and yearning for liberation and which has a long and varied history, so I do offer this analogy of weaving a tapestry keeping this in mind.
What are these threads you may ask? There are two specific themes in these conversations: One is to highlight the works of folks who are on the frontlines of liberatory movements, or holding space for people who do justice work. These conversations bring that awareness to every day practitioners . These folks are actively disrupting harm embedded in the systems and the institutions created by the Dominant Culture. We are all practitioners who are a part of our communities, engaged in relationships with other human beings. We are touching these systems every day, actively participating in these systems through our families, our work. we are not isolated, we are not ascetics who have turned away from relationships and attachment…we are social beings. In the Upanishads, one of the oldest compositions that have influenced and informed Yoga, we are grihastas, householders. And the role of the householder is to ensure we are making a living with integrity, providing for our families and being of service to the world around us.
Yoga history is rife with stories of folks who have risen up against patriarchy, caste, race and colonialism. These folks who are on the frontlines of movements like Thenmozhi Soundararajan and Prachi Patankar or Ash Williams and Chemi Lhamo or rüdrāksh chand or Saira Rao are actively pushing back against colossal systems for justice, for liberation. Shawn Moore and Tristan Katz are folks who hold space for many who are harmed by these systems. I wanted to bring these people’s work into yoga spaces to say Social justice isn't just a theoretical construct nor is it a catchphrase… it's people who are intentionally moving in their communities to disrupt structures that perpetuate harm and violence to co-create a world where liberation from suffering, duḥkha, is possible in the ways that are relevant now….and they are anchoring themselves in the practice and the teachings of their specific spiritual traditions. This is one thread.
The second theme or thread in this tapestry is to connect the work of scholars and experts in specific realms of Yoga to everyday practitioners. Access to wisdom from scholars is elusive…shared with the elite in universities that are sometimes not available to Yoga practitioners…my hope is that this will bridge the gap between the two and uplifts the wisdom from scholars especially those who are typically not in mainstream Yoga spaces.
Both of these themes or threads are sharing the different aspects of Yoga.and if there is something to be gleaned from all of this is that Yoga is so much much more than what is usually acknowledged as Yoga. It's a way of life and living.
So now onto the future. I am taking a short break from the podcast in the summer for my annual visit to India to be with my parents. And I am thrilled to share that there will be a guest host when I am away. it is one of my favorite colleagues and a dear friend, Tristan Katz. Tristan is an experienced podcaster, has been a guest on this podcast and more than anything else, a fantastic space holder. They are a facilitator of Trans and Queer spaces, a consultant on all things related to marketing justice and equity who also serves as the Chair of the Programming Committee on the Board of Directors of Accessible Yoga. They will host 4 juicy conversations and I am truly excited and grateful for them and us all as listeners!
I hope to be back in the Fall, inspired to share more illuminating conversations on the expansiveness of Yoga, and would love to hear from you about your thoughts and ideas too! So please write to me via my website or to AY. We are truly in this together…sending much gratitude and warm solidarity for each and everyone of you!