Social Justice & Advocacy Resources

Yoga Wellspring - Yoga Social Justice Resources

Yoga is not always the panacea we’d like it to be, unfortunately. Throughout the United States, in particular, there is a history of racial exclusion, violence, land theft, and cultural appropriation that has left a legacy of injustice that endures today. In addition to the historical effects of the British occupation and colonization of India, many western nations have appropriated yoga, erased southeast asians from the yoga landscape in their countries, and thereby colonized yoga as well. Last, without teacher licensing and accountability, it is nearly impossible to stop unsafe yoga teachers, studios, practices, and spiritual communities from causing harm.

I have curated these resources to help everyone inform themselves of these issues, to find clarity and completeness in their yoga practice, and to focus on the reality of the “yoga industry” in the United States today. Some of the topics covered on these websites contain stories of abuse in yoga and other spiritual communities, some contain specific and graphic details of these encounters. Please practice self-care as you read these materials.

Decolonizing Yoga & Non-Appropriation

  • Yoga Is Dead Podcast ~ Yoga is Dead is a revolutionary podcast that explores power, privilege, fair pay, harassment, race, cultural appropriation and capitalism in the yoga and wellness worlds. Join Indian-American hosts Tejal + Jesal as they expose all the monsters lurking under the yoga mat.
    • Read the Original Godmothers of Yoga eBook ~ Original Godmothers of Yoga is the first ever e-book from the Yoga is Dead team! With this e-book we aspire to mainstream the incredibly impactful stories of a selection of the women who have been the champions of yoga over the centuries in an effort to bring these Original Godmothers (OG) the global recognition they deserve.
  • Tejal Yoga Online: Online Yoga that honors the roots of yoga. Practice decolonized yoga with South Asian yoga teachers and Indian yoga teachers
  • Susanna Barkataki ~ Susanna Barkataki is a yoga advocate, speaker, and teacher who wants everyone to work together to embrace yoga and create a fully inclusive and diverse yoga community.
    • Yoga Social Justice Leadership Challenge ~ In this challenge, Susanna shares the best of what she has learned as a yogic, nonviolent activist and organizer, with two decades of yoga and anti-racism education. She shares as a teacher, entrepreneur and practitioner so you can show up as the learner, ally, changemaker or leader you are here to be.
    • Yoga Class Curator ~ Leadership support for yoga teachers and devoted practitioners beyond yoga teacher training. Resources to fully honor yoga’s roots by practicing and teaching the eight limbs of yoga.

Sexual Abuse Help & Prevention Resources

  • What is Considered Sexual Assault? A Guide on Sexual Assault from Florin | Roebig Trial Attorneys in Palm Harbor, Florida (USA)
  • RAINN.org ~ RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE, online.rainn.org y rainn.org/es) in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense
  • Navigating Child Sex Abuse ~ From the Cordisco & Saile law firm in Pennsylvania. Cordisco & Saile are passionate about helping victims of childhood sex abuse. Their guide on navigating child sex abuse, includes information on signs of abuse, how we can prevent it, how victims can seek justice, and more.
  • Darkness To Light: Childhood Sex Abuse Prevention Training ~ even though this is focused on youth, the issues and how to prevent and address sex abuse are similar for adults and children alike

Financial Abuse Help & Prevention Resources

From Annuity.org: Financial abuse occurs in up to 98% of abusive relationships and is one of the top reasons that it is difficult for people to leave. Unfortunately, many people do not even recognize financial abuse as abuse. To address this prevalent issue and provide the necessary education on this topic, we recently created a guide covering:

  • What financial abuse is
  • The warning signs
  • Ways to tell if someone is being financially abused
  • Helpful resources and more

Trauma Informed Resources

  • Trauma Informed Oregon ~ TIO helps organizations and systems restore a sense of safety, power, and self-worth to individuals, families, and communities

Note: If you are currently experiencing abuse (verbal, physical, psychological, sexual or other) by a yoga teacher, yoga studio or other spiritual community, and need help, please contact someone you can trust who is geographically close to you. General examples can include a friend, neighbor or family member. In the United States you might contact a licensed psychologist or social worker, Adult Protective Services, Child Protective Services, your county health department or even the police if you are in immediate danger of being harmed. Abusive yoga teachers, studios, and even entire methods of yoga, are a serious issue that needs to be brought into the light. In the meantime, keep yourself safe. In the United States, you can visit the RAINN.org website for resources and hotline numbers.