*Note: Some slightly naughty language ahead.
I think it's safe to say that 2020 has been one hell of a ride so far and we're not even halfway there.
With everything that is happening—Black Lives Matter movement gaining more momentum by the day, the pandemic, screwed up politics in Hungary, our own little country fighting and protesting our government—Instagram is full of commentary, while everyone suddenly morphed into an expert in politics, social rights as well as epidemiologists.
And since I'm in the yoga business a lot of those I follow are yoga teachers, students, and all in all (at least on the outside) enlightened beings, quite a few of the responses I have seen, especially to the #blacklivesmatter movement, have been in the lines of:
“Only peace will solve things.”
“I don't want to engage in conversations like this, it's lowering my/our vibration."
“I don't read the news, it weighs me down.” (Admittedly, I was one of these people and I'm still working on it.)
“No wonder, it's Mercury retrograde again.” (Or whatever planet might be in retrograde right now.)
And so often, too often, I hear: “Yoga is not political."
Pretty much all of these excuses (yes, excuses!) are spiritual bypassing—“a tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks" (John Welwood, a Buddhist teacher and psychotherapist).
Like Waylon Lewis of elephant journal said: “Waking up isn't always butterflies and rainbows, waking up is painful. It hurts to see what isn't fun to see. But it's vital to face reality--then, now, we can begin to make a real change.”
Don't get me wrong. I used to be one of those people who didn't read the news as it was "too heavy." I still don't read the news as often as I should to really be on top of everything that's happening in the world but I'm working on it and know that in order to be a yogi, in order to do the important work, it is absolutely necessary to get over myself. (Even if that unnerves the empath in me or if that messes up with my crystals.)
But all in all, yoga is political. It has nothing to do with left and right or with certain political figures but it has everything to do with equal rights.
Because if we are all one, why are some viewed as less than others?
Because if we are all connected, how can you be hurting another person, who is basically an extension of you?
Because if we’re all about love and peace, why does that not include everyone? Are we only that “holy,” blissed out, and peaceful when our white privilege bubbles are safely untouched while we sit on the “yoga teacher/student” pedestal?
And here’s an uncomfortable truth and something I find really hard to admit: Now that I look back at my childhood I realise some of my own words and actions were racist. It had nothing to do with my upbringing, it had nothing to do with other influences, we were just ignorant kids, and it breaks my heart to know this now and think about the damage that might have done. I think about it so often, wishing I could go back and change it but there’s no changing the future, there’s only hope—and work—for a better tomorrow.
I’ve got so much more to say and yet nothing I say is or ever will be enough, but I will continue speaking up, even if that means I might start losing students as I involve more politics (actually, more like common sense that the yoga community has been preaching about for centuries and it's time to put it into practice) as one of the people closest to me half-jokingly mentioned after a class I taught a few weeks ago and addressed the current political situation in Slovenia.
Because these few words, those few Instagram stories don’t matter.
What matters is the work that we do after Instagram is turned off, the effort we put in, the uncomfortable situations that we put ourselves in, the risk we take for taking a stand for fellow human's rights.
I don’t have the answers, the book/podcast/documentary suggestions, or the link to all the petitions but I’m sure we’re all more than capable of using Google (if not, here's a really comprehensive link, and another one).
So I vow to read the news.
To be informed.
To raise my voice.
Dreamer, creator, lover, yogi.