Let's transform and forward the mission of The New Jersey Yoga Collective (“NJYC”): to engage, support, and empower all members through education, opportunities, and advocacy for the NJ yoga community at large.
To our colleagues, students, teachers, friends, family, and any other person who has found and followed this page: thank you for being here. It means a lot, and we want to thank you in advance for reading this message – it’s been a long time coming.
When we started the NJYC in 2017, our hope was to create a platform and database for everything happening in NJ yoga – events, trainings, classes, workshops, immersions, experiences, retreats, and more. Within days of starting our slow build, we heard the call for information and inspiration and decided to start sharing expressive, passionate, educational, and personal writings from wellness-focused friends and local experts who were willing to share what they know and love.
So was the NJYC a blog? A directory? We weren’t sure.
And then came events. Opportunities began to pop up for event creation – though we never planned anything beyond a random birthday party in the past – and we dove headfirst into the world of marketing and management, budgeting, partnerships and sponsorships, and so many other things…all with a huge learning curve. HUGE.
But we loved it. Two fantastic VibeWell Festivals. Fundraisers for incredible causes that change the world every day. Collaborations with remarkable teachers, leaders, and speakers. Our New Years’ Eve celebrations with Jen and MettaMade. The Global Mala!
We were making mistakes. Our business choices, and specifically a white-washed yoga scene, undoubtedly marginalized some members of our community.
Today, we are in a unique position to apologize, transform and pave a path forward.
Since March, our yoga world has been turned upside down. We are at the intersection of the Black Lives Matter movement, a call-in and call-up to honor the full yoga tradition without cultural appropriation, and a pandemic that has pushed many NJ yoga studios to a breaking point. The time to listen, learn, CHANGE, and come together in a new way is NOW.
Our mission? From this moment forward, the mission of The New Jersey Yoga Collective (“NJYC”) is to engage, support, and empower all members through education, opportunities, and advocacy for the NJ yoga community at large.
With that in mind, we are taking steps to form a non-profit, with a well-established advisory council, to ensure that the NJYC will progressively elevate the yoga community. All of the members of the council are diverse, skillful, accomplished, and purposeful leaders, firmly grounded in the experience of teaching accessible yoga, with a deep belief and dedicated interest in the unification of our yoga community in this ever-changing world.
The NJYC is committed to listening, learning, and becoming active agents in spearheading the creation of inclusive yoga spaces in New Jersey for ALL.
The conversation has started, and it will flow through what is now a fully formed organization, led by an Advisory Council committed to conscious, sustainable social change. Thank you Janessa Mondestin, Erica Garcia, Miles Borerro, Cristal Sharma and Ellen Mosko for stepping up and signing on. Together you all bring more than 100 years of experience in yoga as practitioners, teachers, studio owners, and leaders in the yoga world.
We have listening, learning, and major work to do. We know it and are sorry for our past mistakes.
However, we feel we are blessed to be in this unique time with the right tools to move forward and do better.
We call ourselves the New Jersey Yoga Collective. That means YOU. We will only succeed in our mission if we actively engage all yoga studios, teachers, and students, and work side-by-side to continuously improve access and commitment to education, inclusivity, and equity.
To that end, we offer this: our door, hearts, and ears are always open. As the Yoga Sutra 1.1 of Patanjali states, atha yoga anushasanam – “NOW, we begin the practice and discipline of yoga.”
We hope you’ll join us (in the future, and in the very immediate moment on August 13, 2020 at 7:30 PM for a Town Hall meeting with the NJYC council. Link for free tickets, here).
With love and gratitude,
Bridget and the NJYC
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