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The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

Helping yoga teachers to stay connected to information, entrepreneur advice and a community of supportive yoga teachers and professionals.
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Now displaying: June, 2022
Jun 27, 2022

The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

278: Religion & Cultural Respect in Yoga with Emmy Chahal

 

Description:

How are yoga and religion connected? Why do some people, depending on their religion, feel like yoga is evil? What does spiritual bypassing look like and why is it harmful? These are the challenging questions Emmy Chahal tackles in this episode.

 

Emmy Chahal is a trauma informed yoga teacher, bodyworker/energy healer and workshop facilitator based on Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Territory (in the place now known as Vancouver). Emmy works at the crossroads of business, social justice, and spirituality. Emmy has experience of more than 19 years of steady yoga and meditation practice, and over 10 years of teaching. She integrates her educational background in Cultural Studies, and Gender and Women’s Studies to offer tailored workshops for workplaces around wellness topics, cultural education for yoga teachers and practitioners on topics like cultural awareness, ancestral healing, and uncolonizing yoga, as well as intuitive healing sessions. Emmy also offers mentorship for yoga teachers and semi-private or family yoga classes. 

 

There’s no denying that yoga and religion intersect at some points - yet they are different. Emmy explains how colonization shaped our understanding of religion, the impact of that, and why it is important to learn about other faiths and belief systems to avoid causing harm and violence. Emmy also shares more about how yoga can strengthen your faith practice, and how to be respectful of other cultures we partake in while also learning about and connecting to our own culture. This is a rich discussion answering a question many yoga teachers and practitioners have no doubt encountered - is yoga religion?

 

Key Takeaways:

[3:28] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode - Emmy Chahal.

[8:20] What does Emmy do and who does she do it for?

[11:16] How do yoga and religion intersect and how are they different and similar?

[15:05] Shannon and Emmy discuss how people in North America may not have had the experience of interfaith exploration or learning about other faiths different from their own.

[18:03] Emmy shares her thoughts on the idea that yoga is not religion and addresses the idea that people have that yoga is against their religion.

[22:46] How are things like colonization and residential schools tied to yoga and religion?

[28:10] Shannon reflects on her ancestors' history.

[29:08] Understanding your ancestry and history can help you avoid something Emmy calls "hungry ghost syndrome".

[34:27] Learning about whose land you are on and the history of that land can be a healing practice.

[35:18] Emmy shares her experience of a Kundalini awakening.

[38:08] Shannon shares a short conversation she had with Sara Villamil about OfferingTree.

[40:31] What are Emmy's thoughts on Christian yoga?

[44:45] Yoga is a great system to have difficult conversations through.

[46:14] There is a lot of ignorance about the history of yoga and lack of cultural awareness among yoga teachers, particularly white yoga teachers in the west.

[48:23] What actions can yoga teachers take to make a difference in how yoga is treated?

[54:07] Do not turn to South Asian yoga teachers and expect them to tell you what to do.

[54:52] Research your ancestors and learn about your own spiritual, embodiment, and earth-based practices.

[55:26] Is yoga religion?

[60:14] Emmy has found that yoga can help people in their faith practice.

[63:18] Find out more about Emmy's work and learn more from her via her website.

[66:08] Shannon shares her key takeaways from this episode with Emmy.

 

Links:

 

Gratitude to our Sponsor, OfferingTree.

 

Quotes from this episode:

"Yoga became a way of connecting to a collective consciousness, but also connecting to our own personal spirituality."

 

"[Yoga] is a mind body spirit practice and that it can help you in your faith practice."

 

"Yoga is about union. It's about finding that connection between your mind, body and heart and really connecting to yourself."

 

"There are really interesting links between yoga and Christianity that if we dig deeper, we could see some deep connections about the mystical quality."

 

"There has been a denial of the roots of yoga and this is something so common in the yoga industry. ... Something is lost here because we're not recognizing, we're not acknowledging where the practice comes from."

 

Jun 20, 2022

The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

277: Yoga and Land Acknowledgement with Jessica Barudin & Emmy Chahal

 

Description:

What are land acknowledgements? Who needs to do them, and why? How is it relevant to yoga, and how does this fit into the larger context of deepening our connection to the lands we occupy? Jessica Barudin and Emmy Chahal answer these questions and more in this episode.

 

Jessica Barudin (she/her) is Kwakwaka'wakw, a member of the 'Namgis First Nation living in Alert Bay, BC. She is a proud mother, Sundancer, yoga student, and trauma-informed yoga teacher. Jessica is the co-founder of Cedar and Gold, and collaborates with Nations and organizations across Turtle Island. Additionally, she is completing her doctoral studies focusing on developing a culturally-rooted, trauma-informed yoga for First Nations women and two-spirit folks. Jessica's classes weave in Indigenous embodied practices and teachings as well as honors Yoga's roots through sound, mudra, and a variety of forms made accessible for all bodies.

 

Emmy Chahal is a trauma informed yoga teacher, bodyworker/energy healer and workshop facilitator based on Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Territory (in the place now known as Vancouver). Emmy works at the crossroads of business, social justice, and spirituality. Emmy has experience of more than 19 years of steady yoga and meditation practice, and over 10 years of teaching. She integrates her educational background in Cultural Studies, and Gender and Women’s Studies to offer tailored workshops for workplaces around wellness topics, cultural education for yoga teachers and practitioners on topics like cultural awareness, ancestral healing, and uncolonizing yoga, as well as intuitive healing sessions. Emmy also offers mentorship for yoga teachers and semi-private or family yoga classes. 

 

Land acknowledgment is just a tiny but important step within a much larger journey. Emmy and Jessica share why emotions like pain, guilt, fear, and anger are high for everyone with this topic and how we can deal with them. They also explain why deepening our connections to the land we inhabit is important and how we can learn about and honor different traditions, including yoga and indigenous healing traditions.

 

Key Takeaways:

[3:14] Shannon introduces her guests for this episode - Jessica Barudin and Emmy Chahal

[11:26] What do Jessica and Emmy do?

[15:07] Shannon shares why she was nervous about approaching the topic of land acknowledgements.

[17:12] Why is it important to share land acknowledgements and who needs to be doing it?

[23:23] Many people may start to feel defensive when talking about land acknowledgements. Why is that, and what can we do instead?

[29:20] Jessica highlights the importance of continuing these conversations even as we may feel hesitant or uncomfortable about them, and how we can move forward from there.

[32:54] How can we strengthen this practice of giving land acknowledgements beyond just paying lip service? Where can we start with this, especially if it may feel uncomfortable?

[37:38] Shannon shares a clip of a short conversation she had with a yoga teacher about OfferingTree.

[43:13] Jessica shares some insights about her particular geographical location and the history and connection she has to the land.

[50:38] There may be no easy way to wrap up land acknowledgement and lineage acknowledgment into one or two sentences that encompass the entire history.

[54:36] One key thing Emmy would like to see is people of European descent remembering their ancestors and going back to their earth-based embodiment and spiritual practices.

[56:44] How has yoga helped indigenous communities? There is a lot of cross cultural learning, rather than blending or merging traditions and systems.

[65:02] Jessica and Emmy share more about how you can work with and learn from them.

[70:46] Shannon shares her reflections and takeaways from this discussion with Jessica and Emmy.

 

Links:

 

Gratitude to our Sponsor, OfferingTree.

 

Quotes from this episode:

"Land Acknowledgments - I feel like it's the tip of the iceberg. It's one tiny tiny gesture that is an invitation for people to really look at their complacency, complicity in colonialism." - Emmy

 

"Emotions are always part of this conversation and I think it's really important to be gentle with yourself and forgiving and to sit with the complexity and the pain and the guilt and all of that." - Emmy

 

"When we acknowledge the land, is it just a token gesture or is it something that we're deepening our relationships with where we are and what time in history." - Jessica

 

“It has to be heartfelt and it has to be honest and it has to point towards deeper action." - Emmy

 

"When people tell me they're nervous or they're scared or hesitant to say the wrong thing, I always take that as a good sign. That means that you care, and have the courage to make mistakes and try and try again. I think that's really important." - Emmy

Jun 13, 2022

The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

276: Caring for Yoga's South Asian Roots with Susanna Barkataki

 

Description:

A topic the yoga community has been quite hesitant to approach is that of caring for yoga’s south Asian roots and re-centering South Asian yoga teachers and practitioners. In this episode, Susanna Barkataki shares her insights on why this is important and how to do it well.

 

Susanna Barkataki is an Indian yoga practitioner in the Shankaracharya tradition. Her work is dedicated to supporting practitioners to lead with equity, diversity and yogic values while growing thriving practices and businesses with confidence. As the founder of Ignite Yoga and Wellness Institute, Susanna runs Yoga Teacher Training programs and offers other trainings and courses designed to create a fully inclusive and diverse yoga community. Susanna is also the author of Embrace Yoga’s Roots: Courageous Ways to Deepen Your Yoga Practice, and a renowned speaker and trainer on topics like diversity, accessibility, inclusivity, and equity (DAIE).

 

Susanna shares more about yoga’s roots and how it has changed and evolved over time, the two criteria for cultural appropriation, and the current practice of yoga in white communities around the world. She explains why it is important to re-center South Asian yoga teachers (and teachings), and guides us to finding our own answers about whether white yoga teachers should be teaching yoga and how to do so in a way that uplifts the yoga community.

 

Key Takeaways:

[2:21] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode - Susanna Barkataki.

[6:16] Susanna shares a little about her background and how she came to do the work that she does.

[9:37] Shannon and Susanna discuss what her parents went through as a mixed race couple in the 70s and how those experiences shaped Susanna.

[14:27] What does Susanna have to say to yoga teachers who are just starting to learn about cultural appropriation?

[19:01] Susanna outlines the two criteria for cultural appropriation to be present.

[23:00] Susanna explains a little about using the term South Asian yoga teachers or practitioners to refer to the people from the lands where yoga originated.

[27:54] Why is it important to center South Asian yoga teachers if yoga doesn't belong to anyone and has moved around and spread to different parts of the world?

[34:22] Shannon gives a shout out to the sponsor, OfferingTree.

[36:21] Susanna shares a story from Indian mythology about why only understanding or focusing on one part of yoga is insufficient.

[39:47] Shannon speaks to the fear that white yoga teachers may have around re-centering South Asian yoga teachers. What actually happens when we re-center South Asian yoga teachers? Why and how should we do that?

[50:09] What are the benefits of collaborating with others and lifting others up, even if they do similar work to you?

[53:43] Shannon and Susanna discuss how being in a position of privilege is not actually beneficial to the people at the top of the hierarchy either.

[58:09] Should white yoga teachers even be teaching yoga?

[62:31] Susanna shares her final thoughts around caring for yoga's roots.

[65:08] Find out more about Susanna and her work via her website and on Instagram.

[67:06] Shannon reflects on her conversation with Susanna and shares her key takeaways.



Links:

 

Gratitude to our Sponsor, OfferingTree.

 

Quotes from this episode:

"There's so much to this practice and being a humble student is a great place to start, even if you're already a teacher."

 

"There is a diversity in this tradition [yoga] and an openness and kind of an agreement to disagree civilly and to have a different perspective from one another but to be on this path together."

 

"Should you be profiting from this practice that comes from a people who have been held down oppressed, marginalized and not centered?"

 

"When we look at power and balance, we can utilize our power when and where we have it to continue to empower ourselves, but also to lift up others."

Jun 6, 2022

The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

275: Kicked Out of a Yoga Class!? with Shannon Crow

 

Description:

Have you ever been kicked out of a yoga class, or made to feel unwelcome, excluded, or shamed? It may feel shocking to hear if you have never had this experience, but sadly this is something many people in The Connected Yoga Teacher community have experienced.

 

In this episode, Shannon shares comments from members of The Connected Yoga Teacher Facebook community describing their experiences when they were kicked out of a yoga class, or felt uncomfortable, ashamed, and rejected from the class, both because of yoga teachers and other students. 

 

This episode invites us to consider how we are showing up in our yoga classes and in the world with empathy, compassion, and understanding – and encourages us to think about how we can disrupt harm when we encounter it to create safer and more welcoming yoga spaces for everyone.

 

Key Takeaways:

[2:55] Shannon explains the topic for this episode - how we don't want our yoga classes to go and how we don't want yoga students to feel.

[4:25] Shannon shares the inspiration for this episode - the experience of Shannon's friends who were kicked out of a yoga class based on their gender.

[7:50] One of the things that people shared was not being allowed to leave or drink water or modify something in a yoga class.

[14:05] Shannon shares an audio message from Aarti about not feeling welcome or feeling excluded from yoga.

[19:19] Shannon invites us to think about Aarti's experience and to reflect on our own actions in yoga spaces. 

[20:42] Shannon shares experiences from yoga teachers who have been turned away from yoga or discouraged from practicing it because of their size or age.

[22:35] Shannon shares a comment from community members who felt unwelcome for needing visual cues or modifications in a yoga class.

[25:23] Shannon shares an article Sinead wrote for OfferingTree.

[28:02] A community member shares two stories of not feeling welcome in a yoga class.

[33:17] Shannon reads a comment from a community member about their experience with non-attachment.

[35:35] Clique behaviors is another common theme that has made people feel unwelcome at yoga classes or studios.

[38:16] Trigger Warning: The next section of this podcast deals with sensitive topics like intimate partner violence and sexual assault.

[38:45] We may also make people feel unwelcome based on things we cannot see or know about them or their experiences. Shannon shares a comment and an audio clip from a community member talking about survivors of intimate partner violence.

[44:39] Shannon shares a comment and a clip from a male community member who felt unwelcome in his class of all women.

[50:10] We have no idea what people are dealing with as they walk into a yoga class with us, which is why it is important to have empathy, understanding, and compassion for others.

[50:42] Shannon shares a few more comments from people who have felt excluded in yoga classes.

[56:21] Shannon invites us to call out harmful practices we may encounter and reflect on our own practices as well.

 

Links:

 

Gratitude to our Sponsor, OfferingTree.

 

Quotes from this episode:

"How often do people not feel safe or included in a yoga class due to gender?” - Shannon

 

"Why are we not allowing students or yoga teachers, yoga practitioners to modify?" - Shannon

 

"Why do we feel the need to control other bodies instead of letting them choose what they want to be doing, and not only choose what they want to be doing, choosing what they need to be doing?" - Shannon

 

"When we just pull out a tiny piece [of a culture] and place it on merchandise for sale or change the meaning, that's cultural appropriation. That's harmful." - Aarti

 

"We can learn from this, we can definitely take a look at how we are showing up to teach yoga to share yoga and look with a bit of self compassion and reflection as well." - Shannon

 

"We have no idea what people are dealing with as they walk into a yoga class with us." - Shannon

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