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Imagine yourself floating, as if weightless, through calm waters. Now imagine you’re suspended somewhere in that place of conscious recognition just before you fall asleep – that sensation of complete physical surrender and of total relaxation is what Yoga Nidra is all about.
This action plan seeks to recognise, address and combat racial, structural and social inequality within YogaLondon. This draft will be reviewed and expanded upon as we learn, grow and receive external advice from D&I stakeholders, whom we are currently reaching out to.
1. LISTEN & EDUCATE OURSELVES
As we begin on our journey of self-improvement, we recognise that we have unconscious bias and therefore need to educate ourselves in order to fully comprehend how to best take positive action.
- Build a D&I advisory board
- Reach out to activists and diversity voices in the yoga community
- Bring on board a London-based inclusion trainer in an ongoing advisory capacity
- Refine this Action Plan with our advisors
- Implement training resources and share learnings internally
- Dismantling racism training for our team
- Reading materials shared amongst staff
- Internal forum to share information
- Get feedback from our faculty and broader community
- Grads & students: D&I survey went out in the 12th June newsletter to help us gain a deeper understanding of diverse backgrounds’ experiences at our school, and to open the conversation with those willing to help us.
- YL team: share this work-in-progress with the team to get their input and ideas.
2. TAKE VISIBLE ACTION
This is important for us to share our journey with our community, to hold ourselves accountable:
- Share this aspirational plan publicly – here and relayed on our social channels and newsletter.
- Join the ‘amplify melanated voices’ campaign in our own way by making our next interview a black voice from our community. We want this to become a regular series of interviews to promote and amplify people with diverse backgrounds, including but not limited to people with diverse ethnic or social backgrounds.
- Ensure all the YogaLondon channels showcase teachers and students from diverse backgrounds, therefore signalling we are open to all as recommended by change activists.
- Report on our progress and new iterations of this plan publicly on a quarterly basis, for accountability reasons.
3. IMPLEMENT DEEP CHANGES
As we want to change ourselves structurally, we believe taking actions that will take longer to implement, but will have a lasting effect, is paramount:
- Provide training for our teaching team and “back-office” staff. We’re currently reaching out to training providers, with a view to deliver the training as soon as possible.
- Adjust our 200-hr curriculum to include a specific class focused on diversity and inclusion in yoga, plus key topics embedded throughout the course, starting September 2020.
- Design and add a 500RYT anti-racism CPD, subsidised by YogaLondon to ensure as many students as possible can educate themselves on this topic, starting Autumn 2020.
- Offer free community yoga classes in under-served areas of London, delivered by YogaLondon students and grads so they can gain experience as a teacher.
- Start a bursary programme, to give access to free YTT. We aim to partner up with relevant charities, who will select a candidate on our behalf; we will begin by selecting two charities for 2020.
- Gather data to monitor ethnic ratios within the business and take positive action to regroup from groups that are under-represented. Our long-term goal would be to have an ethnic make-up in line with the London population.
- Appoint board member(s) with diverse backgrounds, to help keep this D&I focus to the forefront of our business decisions from the top down.
To be reviewed and updated as part of our quarterly progress update.
Do you have any feedback for us? We’d love to hear it.
Here is a selection of online articles compiled by Yoga Alliance, which address racial injustices.
- Al-Jazeera focuses a series of pieces on ending police brutality, as well as looks at reviews of racism around the world.
- Curve Magazine writes about how LGBTQ organizations are uniting to combat racial violence.
- Ebony Magazine posted an op-ed asking corporate America to stand up to racism.
- Essence Magazine posted an article on what would have been Breonna Taylor’s 27th birthday, including action items that can be taken to serve justice in her name.
- Mashable shared mental health resources for black people trying to cope right now.
- MindBodyGreen posted links to 75 black trainers, yogis, and fitness professionals’ accounts to support.
- Out Magazine shares five ways you can support protestors wherever you are.
- SELF posted a list of ways that black people are taking care of their wellbeing.
- The Spokesman-Review covered how one yoga teacher helped set the intention for protests in the state of Washington.
- The Washington Post published a piece on how residents are being encouraged to eat at black and brown-owned restaurants across the U.S.