We just had the most amazing conversation with Stephanie Barrios-Cullens about the workshop she is offering at Elevate Yoga on September 7, 2019.
Why were we so inspired? Because this topic is something that absolutely must be addressed – in a big way – in our local AND global yoga communities. We believe that so much so that we have officially centered our panel for the VibeWell Yoga Festival around the need for inclusivity in yoga – NOW.
With that little bit being said, here is more from Stephanie herself.
Hope to see you all on the 7th at Elevate and at VibeWell on October 27, 2019. Stephanie will be on the panel there as well. Don’t miss it!
“Addressing Social Injustice, Oppression and Privilege in the Yoga Community” is a workshop geared towards addressing many topics, ideas and perspectives.
This workshop serves as a safe space to maintain dialogue on uncomfortable yet needed conversations that not only affect the communities we serve as yoga teachers and healers but the larger conversation on what’s developed in American history and has manifested in modern day America.
Over time, as we continue our work as teachers of this beautiful practice, we need to continue to observe and be mindful of who makes up our community and what communities don’t have access to our teachings.
Ask yourself a few questions:
What does the majority of your classroom look like?
How many people of color do you have in one class?
How often do you see someone that does not look like you take your yoga class?
Do only people of middle to upper class attend your classes or participate in events at your studio?
As a healer do you stop to think of the many benefits people in need would have if they were able to incorporate this practice into their lives?
These questions are all just starting points on the larger discussion on why we don’t see diversity in the standard yoga classroom, and how here in the West yoga has transformed into a physical activity or hobby that is surrounded and supported by predominantly white women who tend to range from 20-40 years old.
Perspective and bias are two topics that will heavily be addressed throughout this conversation. In NJ, and on a national level throughout the U.S., the most praised yoga teachers are of Caucasian descent and do not tend to be from a lower or working class. Biases are easily able to be identified when you’re able to be open and honest about what your experiences have been all the way from childhood to your present life. The way that you way perceive the world, tackle your challenges and understand or misunderstand the struggles or misfortunes of others are due to these biases that you’ve built over time. We will do a deep dive on how, why and where we can make the needed adjustments to understand our personal biases, why we’ve created the perspectives we have and how we can elect to grow and change these perspectives.
Essentially this workshop will give us a space to be honest with our privileges as healers, be able to educate ourselves, ask questions and have an open conversation that’s free of judgement. With our focus being on coming from a place of love and forgiveness and understanding that we all have had different experiences due to many elements. Our focus will then shift from educating and understanding to action. Discussing what we can do to make a difference, what communities need our help the most, what we can incorporate into our current business models, who we should be recruiting and hiring at yoga studios to affirm diversity and inclusion, what groups or organizations we can work with, and continuing to hold a healthy dialogue on what these actions and conscious efforts look like.
Join me on Saturday, September 7th at Elevate Yoga from 11am-3pm to have this much needed discussion, along with an opening pranayama exercise focused on grounding, brainstorming and journaling, essential oils and a kind and loving closing meditation. It would be my honor as an accomplice in this movement to guide you through this conversation, answer your questions, support your perspectives and help us connect as a more enlightened and aware group.
Please refer yourselves to elevateyoga.net or the MindBody app to register and view our cost effective and accessible pricing for marginalized and underrepresented people, elevate teachers and YTT graduates, and early bird and late registration. I look forward to seeing and meeting you in our safe space.
Stephanie is a RYT-500 who has completed 200 hours of Vinyasa Training at Soul Power Yoga in Marlboro, NJ and 300 hours of advanced teacher training at Elevate Yoga in Hazlet, NJ with focuses on alignment, restorative, prenatal, trauma sensitive and yin yoga. She has been taught and trained under her teachers Dina Crosta, Jamie Hanley, Ellen Mosko, and Pooja and Cristal Sharma. Her public teaching has always consisted of alignment-based vinyasa, restorative and pre and post natal yoga. Privately she teaches according to the goals, body and mind of the student.
Stephanie currently only teaches on a private basis and also focuses on incorporating yoga into her daily nonprofit work with an organizational component of community outreach and a focus on making yoga more accessible to underrepresented groups. She also teaches workshops and trainings on topics of social injustice in the yoga community and modern day society. Stephanie also has a Master of Public Administration that she utilizes in her everyday work as a director at one of the largest reproductive health organizations in the country serving communities of color, LGBTQ and people of immigrant descent.
Stephanie’s goal is to one day have her own organization and merge both of her worlds of yoga and nonprofit/community outreach to build a safe haven for underrepresented groups that cannot easily access a yoga practice.
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