Wednesday, August 5, 2020

BLM and Kelley Palmer

Kelley Palmer
by Patrice Priya Wagner

Recently I listened to a Dharma talk by Kelley Palmer, a member of the Accessible Yoga community, about Black Lives Matter. During the discussion Kelley shared her wish to see "everyone have access to the life they desire and to feel safe to exist, and for that to occur, each of us is going to have to lean into our responsibility."

I liked Kelley's words that responsibility in this moment involves three things and the first entails,
"knowing our history, who you come from, how your ancestors played a part in upholding or pulling apart systems of oppression. That shouldn't be approached in a place of judgment or shame. It should be approached in a place of being very clear about how you, as an individual, get to be existing in this present moment."
The second part of this responsibility requires being able to sit with the discomfort that arises around the issues. Conversations about race aren't comfortable, and according to Kelley, 
"those of us involved in yoga want to view ourselves as good people but it's hard to do that when we also have to face how we are upholding a system that harms others. But for us to grow, we have to be willing to lean in and sit in that discomfort. Through that we're stretching our perspective ... and creating an opportunity for our individual growth and for the collective growth.
The last place where we hold a big opportunity, responsibility, is to be listening. As we lean into raising the voices of Black, Indigenous, People of Color, trans folks, and LGBTQ folks, you have to just be silent and take in information regardless of what you think you know to be true."
We have a chance to learn more from Kelley in her upcoming  workshop Race & Equity in Yoga: Disruption as a Practice that she is offering on the responsibilities and opportunities leading to further investigation, insight, and action.

Kelley also shared a guided meditation on race relations for us to use in our practice.

Kelley Palmer is an author, coach, teacher and community organizer committed to using the tools and philosophies of yoga to cultivate liberation for herself and others. She remains focused on holding space for others to make connections to sustainable tools that foster more peace, joy and ease in their lives.

Kelley is a 200 E-RYT with Yoga Alliance and a certified continuing education provider with Yoga Alliance. She is also a certified Accessible Yoga teacher and trainer. She is also a founding member of The Sanctuary In The City, a Charlotte based non-profit focused on equitable access to healing and educational opportunities to BIPOC through programming, grants and scholarships.

Her writing, offerings and more about her can be found at

This post was written by Patrice Priya Wagner, Managing Editor of Accessible Yoga blog and member of the Board of Directors.

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