Monday, May 25, 2020

Ease within trauma: practices from and for radical communities

In this video Jivana Heyman talks with Simran Uppal about finding ease within traumatic times. Maintaining a yoga, meditation, or other practice during this crisis is immensely challenging, and also one of the most valuable things we can do for ourselves and even those around us. But many communities were living in crisis before this pandemic, and people living in adverse or oppressive conditions have always continued to practice. It's those people who have often created some of the most radically powerful, liberating, and trauma-inclusive spiritual communities and traditions we know today. 

What insights can radical yoga and meditation traditions, both classical South Asian and contemporary LGBTQ and racial justice-focused ones, offer us for practicing in crisis? How can we engage with or dissolve the new obstacles to our practice? How can we adapt what we do to find ease and gentleness on the mat or the meditation cushion? How can we organize as and support the communities around us who were already excluded from access to many resources, for practice and for survival, especially those oppressed by white supremacy and queerphobia? In short, how can we practice when we feel unable to practice, and how can we support the practice and wellbeing of those around us?

Simran Uppal has been teaching yoga since they were 17, and now teaches full time, alongside their work as a poet and writer. They're a faculty member for 200 and 500 hour yoga teacher training courses and an internationally recognized voice in decolonising yoga. Although their practice has roots in traditional training across yoga, chant, and Buddhist mindfulness schools, they teach a fresh, contemporary, dynamic and highly creative practice. Simran is devoted to making yoga accessible for all, especially LGBTQ people, people of colour, and people who've experienced trauma.

This post was edited by Nina Zolotow, Editor in Chief of the Accessible Yoga Blog.

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