The Spaces in Between: Yoga, Activism, and Showing Up for Liberation

by Jardana Peacock

I am a white spiritual teacher who often feels like I am balancing in two different, although very connected worlds. One world is that of antiracism, social justice activism, and radical healing. The other world is of Tantric yoga and spiritual practice, where my practice and community works deep and hard to uncover our dharma, or individual purpose, and the barriers within us to enact that fully in our lives. The first world, rarely centers practice. The second world, rarely centers embodied action. What I have come to understand is that these communities need each other, especially now.

Building that bridge means that in our practice communities, we must talk about cultural appropriation, privilege, and how oppression shows up in our bodies, practice and communities.

Too often white folks in power and privilege positions don’t want to change a system that’s benefiting them unless they see and understand that it’s actually not. The divisions rooted in our differences are fractured through binary thinking, where white privilege and white supremacy deeply affects the internal and external ways that we as white yoga teachers and communities are creating and maintaining division. We must go into that shadow truth, if this heart-centered revolution is to be actualized.

We must embody our values in the world. As spiritual practitioners, our greatest strength lies in the deep work of loving ourselves and nurturing an understanding of our interconnection, but it only matters when it is embodied in the world. Whether that is through protest, work, how we build family and community, how we relate to and protect the earth, to how we show up in interactions with strangers or people whose religious and political beliefs are dramatically different than our own. 

The foundation of practice is to inform, act, create and build. Preserving our energy and cherishing practice to the extent that it doesn’t interact with or change or even is challenged by the world—is an exercise in privilege and how our practice contributes to division and oppression.

Embodying liberation requires us to take risks, to go deeper into the shadow of our own oppression and build resilience with each other when we are challenged.

by Jardana Peacock

Click here for a meditation exercise that explores the space in between extremes.


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