Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The Upcoming Evolution of Yoga Summit

by Patrice Priya Wagner

"The Western yoga community is maturing and has begun to recognize some of its blind spots. We, the organizers of the Evolution of Yoga Summit, have identified four areas that need much more attention. At this event, we'll talk about:
  • Cultural appropriation
  • Racism
  • Consent
  • Accessibility
It's time to have this open and honest conversation to look at how we can make changes as we move forward."

—Jivana Heyman, Director, Accessible Yoga

After speaking with Jivana Heyman about the Evolution of Yoga Summit, I'm excited to attend this event in Los Angeles, California from Friday, March 21 to Sunday, March 22, 2020. To assist in a movement that advocates for inclusivity and accessibility in yoga has been my quest for a long time, and the Summit will help me take a large step forward in that venture.

According to Jivana, this will not be a typical conference but more of a focused working program with an agenda. Three organizations, Yoga Alliance, Accessible Yoga, and Yoga Service Council, have come together to create a bold new platform to talk about these very challenging topics. The event will stimulate not just our minds but our bodies as well! Each morning there will be asana and meditation practice followed by discussions and work sessions in the afternoon. The afternoons may also include some asana based on the presenter's agenda.

Many exciting presenters will take part in the four tracks of the event: cultural appropriation, consent, racism, and accessibility. Attendees will need to choose one track to follow for discussions but can attend morning practices with a teacher from a different track. What a great opportunity to learn from presenters such as Lakshmi Nair, Michelle Cassandra Johnson, Andrea Jain, Melanie Camellia, Susanna Barkataki, Kelley Palmer, Matthew Sanford, and Dianne Bondy among others!

After morning practice on Saturday, we'll divide into our tracks to talk about a document ("Blueprint") drafted by the track's presenters that explains the issue we’re facing and considers ways to move forward. Feedback from the discussion will be integrated into a final version of the Blueprint. On Sunday, we will all gather to hear the summary of each track's Blueprint and will then address intersections where the topics meet and need special attention.

According to Jivana, one example of this type of intersectionality is consent by a person with a disability. For a question like “May I touch your arm?," both “consent” and “disability” need to be considered for a person who has communication challenges because you may need to ensure they can understand the question. The group will review this and other areas of intersectionality before the event's closing.

I'm looking forward to having the chance to learn from these incredible presenters at the Summit, and to be empowered with a voice in how Western yoga moves forward. My hope is that yoga charts a thoughtful, inclusive, and caring path as we move into the future. I hope to see many of you at the Evolution of Yoga Summit!

To register for this conference, click here.

Patrice Priya Wagner, RYT 500, C-IAYT, teaches yoga to people with disabilities in Oakland, California, and has been published in New Mobility Magazine, Works and Conversations, Artweek, and Kitchen Sink. She is Managing Editor of the Accessible Yoga Blog and a founding member of the Accessible Yoga Board of Directors.  

This post was edited by Nina Zolotow, Editor in Chief of the Accessible Yoga blog and co-author of Yoga for Healthy Aging: A Guide to Lifelong Well-Being.

° FOLLOW Accessible Yoga on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube

° REGISTER here for our next conference. 

° DONATE here to help us bring yoga to people who don't have access or have been underserved, such as people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, children with special needs, and anyone who doesn't feel comfortable in a regular yoga class.

To order Jivana Heyman's book Accessible Yoga in the U.S., go to Shambhala PublicationsAmazonBarnes and NobleIndie Bound (for independent bookstores), or your local bookstore. People in other countries who want the order the book see How to Order "Accessible Yoga" from Countries Outside the U.S.

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