Mar 10, 2022
Anusha Moore, a fellow Ashtanga yoga teacher, reached out to me after attending one of my Mysore classes. She has been practicing yoga for nearly 15 years and loves the accountability that the Ashtanga practice brings to her life. But she's also holding me accountable.
When Anusha reached out to me, it wasn't to discuss postures and poses or philosophy. She's studied with me many times, and she brought to my attention something she's experienced in many yoga classes taught by Western teachers — white yoga instructors speaking with Indian accents.
We often see this in yoga teachers who have traveled to India and spent time developing their practice and learning about the philosophy and the culture. Yes, it's natural to absorb the mannerisms of those in your community. However, when we return to our home countries and our yoga classrooms, we need to reflect on our actions and understand their impact on our community.
For me, the cultural appropriation was subconscious. When we spend time with our lineage-based teachers, it's hard not to hear their voices, their accents, their syntax in our heads. But, as Anusha explains, there is a big difference between honoring your yoga teachers and adopting an accent that is convenient. We discuss how the collective awakening across the United States and Western Europe has made many of us more aware of the missteps and prejudices we are working to overcome, but we are still working on it.
I have studied in India for over twenty years and never considered how my patterns of speech had changed. It's important to recognize the way you speak and understand its impact on your community.
Check out Code Switch on NPR, which Anusha discusses in this episode. If you would like to sign up for yoga courses with me, get your free 30-day membership on Omstars.com & use code: PODCAST. Keep up with us online @omstarsofficial.
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