Many have heard me say “Yoga Union” and they raise an eyebrow and smile conspiratorially. Now, I’m no Norma Rae (apologies to those who didn’t see the movie starring Sally Field about the organizing of textile mill workers in the south in the 1970s). But I guess you could call me and others involved in Yoga = Union a Norma Ray… of Light.
When we chose the name Yoga = Union, we wanted to touch on both these meanings of the word “union:”
…an act or instance of uniting or joining two or more things into one. As yoga teachers we can feel isolated in our work — our teacher’s seat, our slog from gig to gig, our worry that we won’t find a sub for the group of special yogis we have worked hard to create. By uniting with one another, we connect and we become whole.
…a confederation of independent individuals (such as nations or persons) for some common purpose. As I’ve written about on my Lost and Found site, from the beginning of our collaboration, we have had a common purpose: to practice radical inclusion that comes from compassion and connection. We will work to ensure that every body and everybody can share in the benefits of yoga in our region; that our community of teachers reflects the diversity of the world around us; and that our yoga community in the DC region preserves its unique culture.
Towards these ends, we decided to focus in on the training we needed to have as teachers to make these goals reality. At our first educational program, Hands On Assisting in the Era of #Me Too, 33 teachers dedicated two hours to re-investigating the meaning and the power of touch on the mat. It was wonderful to hear a spectrum of different philosophies about hands-on assisting from senior teachers in our area.
On September 9, we will offer a training on implicit bias and how it shows up in our lives, in our work, and in our workplaces. The world is becoming so tribal. It is imperative that our community practice truthfulness and non-harming together with vulnerability and courage.
So grab that marker and scrawl out the word “YOGA” on the nearest piece of cardboard. Spring to your feet, holding the sign above your head. Let your message be read, heard and understood. Yoga equals union. Join us and other Norma Rays of Light.