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Ahimsa (June 25, 2022)

Yesterday was a tough day. Even though it was expected, the ruling to reverse Roe v. Wade hit hard. I have a lot of feelings about all of this, but I am still trying to find the words to express them. For now, I will say this: this ruling is the opposite of ahimsa (non-harm). It stands to kill women and continue the cycle of poverty, and it sets the stage for the removal of more rights from ourselves or people we love. This decision impacts lower-income and minority populations more than anyone else. It is our yogic duty to support those communities, even if you do not belong to them. What you are able to do in this fight is very personal, and not everyone will be able to participate in the same way, but this is yoga in action. I believe strongly that inaction in a case like this is, frankly, anti-yoga. There are many folks who have spoken on this issue much more eloquently than I am able to.

Jivana Heyman (@jivanaheyman) says: "If the system that we're living in doesn't respect human rights, then protesting that system is ethical. In other words, supporting oppressive systems is unethical, and it's our job as yoga practitioners to speak up against suffering wherever we see it. That's the heart of ahimsa, non-harm."

Susanna Barkataki (@susannabarkataki) says "Ahimsa is feeling our anger and grief when rights are stripped away. Anger and grief can fuel social change. Being angry or heartbroken in the face of injustice is part of ahimsa (non-harm). Ahimsa is love in action standing up to injustice."

I recommend following both of these folks on IG, as well as Dianne Bondy (@diannebondyyogaofficial) and a man named Michael (@tizzyent), who makes great videos on social issues such as these.

Finally, while an asana (pose) practice is not all of yoga, it is certainly part of it, and it can give us the strength to take yoga off the mat. It gives us a chance to breathe, to focus inward, and to make our bodies stronger. Whether in a class or on your own, take some time for some pranayama (breathwork) or asana (poses).

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