Why Yoga is not a safe space for all – Part 1

  What we believe to be Yoga, the community, the collective voice, the healing, the vibrations, has always been a place of exclusion, and though it has presented as a safe space for some, this has not been the case for all.

Like all people in society, we must open our minds to change. The foundation of Western Yoga
currently set in place is not one made of solid ground, but one that is made from the ideologies
of white supremacy. You may be reading this thinking, how can I be a white supremacist. Western
Yoga in the same vein of white feminism, your feminism, or your ‘Yoga’ is only programmed to
go so far.

You have been conditioned to care, but not for everyone or the collective well being.
When white people fight for equality or to make safe spaces, they only do so for white bodies.
Most often forgetting that intersectionality is a necessary component of safety for all. Race,
sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, disability, and nationality must be addressed in
the quest to find a thriving inclusive community. Because the oppression of non-white people,
has been the bases of growth for most white led companies, and the sole construct of the
society we live in today, we must all do are bit to dismantle and eradicate the white supremacist
that live in our minds.

The understanding of your limited view is the first step to reaching the awaking that we all so
crave. Self-realization. We most all work to dismantling the patriarchy, for cis men this will come in
the form of renouncing your privilege, recognizing your misogyny, the need to categorization
and who is deserving of what. Actively holding yourself accountable for these changes. For cis
women this will work in pushing the patriarchy out of certain aspects of your life, how you
perceive your sexuality, humanity, and purpose on this earth, and the support of cis white

For white LGBTQIA this comes in the form of recognizing how your whiteness allows
you privilege that is not the same for your BIPOC brothers and sisters, and even though you
struggle with identity and placement, there are certain factors that will never arise for you
because the world has been imperialized by white bodies. For the rest of us, it is dismantling the
inner workings of our patriarchal adjacent minds to fit into spaces that were not made for us,
and have been complacent in the working of white supremacy. We must take up the spaces we
desire, to build a world made without the taint of white colonialism. Stand proud and true in
thyself because YOU ARE WORTHY. This is the part of the renouncement work we all must

Let go of the old, broken, and corrupt, and use this space created by yourself to actualize your
highest potential. We know that when the community is working in tandem our frequencies are
heightened. The subtleties that are left alone until they become big open raging wounds are
looked upon more frequently, and with a greater understanding. The concept of self love
spreads from just the singular body into the communal one.

Have we not already seen the effect of such in the world of buddhism and the benefits of
chanting. We must radicalize ourselves, to save our world. Now, don’t get scared by the word
radical. It is so easy to think of it as one that is aggressive and fearful, because that is the
conditioning that has been put into place. Love is a radical idea. True love is the definition of
radical. The concept, the ideology is as safe as they come. The yoga in your mind must be able to see the worth of all sentient beings to see the worth of
one. The one is you, the all is everybody else.

By Yemie Sonuga

Yemie Sonuga has spent the last half decade expressing her love through yoga. She is a 200-hour RYT yoga teacher, and a forever student. Yemie teachings are based in Vinyasa, Meditation, Dharma Yoga, and Visualization. Her approach to teaching is one of encouragement. Empowering you to believe in yourself, allowing the dismantling of fear, and the re-imagination of your true self. She has taught yoga across Canada and the US. Yemie offers a weekly Zoom class, as well as group Visualization sessions. She holds a Masters Degree from the Royal Scottish Conservatoire. Follow her @yemiesonuga.

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