I have tried in many ways to write my thoughts since returning from the US amid the most recent tragic deaths which continue to expose the dark and racist underbelly of a country that I dearly love, but no longer inhabit. I have tried to come up with a salient teaching or an effective way of sharing this aspect of the human condition and I find that I am currently simply unable, so I will share this:
When I was living in New York, I marched in the streets for Black Lives Matter. Several times, marches would happen while I was working so I could not attend, but I had the sharply poignant experience of teaching yoga as crowds of thousands marched past our class on Broadway. I remember the roar of the protestors drowning out my own voice as they passed and I stopped class on more than one occasion so that we could listen and offer our silent support, sometimes for many minutes. It was a humbling and important metaphor for how big the movement was and what must take precedence in times like these.
I know that the world out there is filled with the voices of the unheard and collectively those voices most certainly drown out my own and they should. I think sometimes the best practice we can do is to stop and listen to the roar. If we do not make space to hear and share in the voices of the oppressed, our offerings and teachings become misguided and out of touch, no matter how "good" our intentions may be. I call on every yoga and meditation teacher, every wellness "expert" who waxes poetic about what is good for us, every spiritual seeker, and every student to stop and listen with me. Even if we do not share the same cultural experience, we are most certainly able to tap into the basic knowledge that no one is free when others are oppressed.