IMAGE PROVIDED BY HARDASS KAUR
It is a reality to be confronted that there is an absence of people of color in the world of yoga and other self-care practices. Do a simple Google search and see for yourself the lack of representation of Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) in yoga media. Inspired to take action, the Yoga e Negritude project was born in Brazil, coordinated by Sunderta Kaur, a Kundalini Yoga teacher, and hosted by the Brazilian Friends of Kundalini Yoga (ABAKY)
“We questioned the predominance of white people in Kundalini Yoga classes and the difficulties of black people to attend due to economic and cultural issues,” explained Sunderta. “We, teachers and students, got together to discuss these issues and thought about actions that could promote equality. One of the outcomes was photo essays with black teachers and students from our classes in Belo Horizonte (Brazil) based on the understanding that an image enhances the power of expressing and communicating with others.”
What has resulted is a remarkable photo essay called “Yoga e Negritude.” These pictures are amazing! Bursting with energy, spirit, and consciousness, a host of beautiful images welcome us to yoga as one-world.
“Our image, our vibration, and our vigor reflected in these images awaken us to a process of appreciation and recognition of the places that belong to us,” says Prakash Sangeet Kaur of ABAKY. “Our color belongs to all places and to all eyes. It is a recognition that awakens us in the purest form that exists.”
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then these images smash the barriers that exist in yoga in a way that no dialogue can. KRI is looking forward to highlighting these images on our new website as we move to a more inclusive and informed paradigm. It is time to break down the barriers in yoga.
“Racism is the most explicit form of the social barriers that separate human beings according to color, loaded with value judgment,” says Devaroop Kaur of ABAKY. “For people with black bodies, integration into society comes with the denial of their history, their faith, and their way of life. It is a denial that has many forms of expression and it impacts the potential in us of what is most vital and connective … our self-love, self-appreciation, and self-care. For years, black bodies were marked and perceived by themselves as unworthy of love and, above all, of self-love. And it is in this reality, in the dance of that polarity, that we are called to serve.”
See for yourself and celebrate the experience of yoga as one-world – Yoga e Negritude
If you enjoy these photos, consider supporting the Yoga e Negritude project with a donation. The way to support ABAKY in Brazil is to send funds through PayPal, using the email Comunicacao@abaky.org.br. All donations go towards funding the studies of BIPOC children at Miri Piri Academy in Brazil.
Image provided by Bernard Machado
There is a lot more work to be done.