Standing Up to Hate

First, I’d like to state the obvious: Lighthouse Yoga Center is firmly opposed to white supremacy and all other ideologies of hate. In light of the horrific recent events in Charlottesville and elsewhere, I believe it’s time to call on the yoga community to step up our game and take a stand against oppression, discrimination, and violence based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and any other human quality.

I have spent a lifetime fighting for social, economic and racial justice. I came to yoga because I believe it’s a tool of empowerment–a way to not just relax and get out of our heads, but also to help us be stronger and more effective members of society. However, I fear we simply aren’t doing enough.

It’s not sufficient to just practice yoga every day, or even to live a “yogic lifestyle”. These things are necessary and helpful, but simply not enough.

As yogis, we can make a difference. But how?

Yoga builds stress resilience.

Stress resilience doesn’t mean that stress goes away–it means we’re able to handle higher levels of stress and stay steady under pressure.  This is one of the most important benefits of a consistent yoga practice. This is also what gives us the opportunity to stand as leaders in our community. This is what gives us the power to Resist. This is what helps us confront injustice and oppression wherever we see it.

Yoga creates community.

When we practice yoga together, we create bonds. We meet our neighbors, sometimes we become friends with them. We acknowledge that people have different body shapes and sizes, different physical limitations, and different tastes and preferences. That helps us build tolerance, and with tolerance comes acceptance and understanding.

Yoga empowers us.

A consistent yoga practice helps us feel physically stronger and mentally clearer. It gives us the power to respond rather than react. It informs our relationships with ourselves and with others by reminding us that our strength and happiness come from inside us and not from external factors. And it offers us the opportunity to see what needs to be done to make the world a better place–and to stand up and start doing it.

Yoga helps us take action.

I challenge our Lighthouse family and the yoga community as a whole to continue to come to the mat daily, but to also step up to the plate to create change. As yogis, we don’t accept institutionalized hatred on any level. We reject all forms of discrimination. Black Lives Matter. No Human Being is Illegal. Hate must stop now. We can do this–we can make it happen.

Together we will create a just and equitable society.

Sat Nam Namaste

Julie / Jiwan Shakti Kaur