Guest Blogger: Yoga and Social Justice Thoughts with Atum

For any practice to take effect in the outside world, or to have enough meaning to propel us to
want to share it with the world, it must start internally. It makes sense then, that in any conversation
about our practice of yoga or of justice, before even combining these elements or considering their
reach with others, we must grasp them for ourselves. In order to truly understand the world and the
way things are, we must first start from an understanding of ourselves and where we stand as
individuals. It is key to note that yoga and justice are not separate or distinct ideologies, but lend
elements of themselves to each other. One informs the other.
So where do we stand? We can begin by asking a few simple questions. What do I know about
justice? What are my biases and prejudices and where did I learn them? Who taught me to be biased
and who taught them? To what I do display hate/resentment? What is this school of information based
on and where did it come from? How does what I believe serve me? Who am I helping when I act on this
information? Maybe write it down and think about how you are serving justice in your own life. There is
a lot that we have come to learn and live by that we never stop to question or re-evaluate. It is my belief
that any practice of justice must involve a constant and consistent self-evaluation, and an openness to
receiving new insights. Are my ideas of justice consistent with my culture only? Do any of these things
amount to reciprocity and balance? Fairness? Equality? What else can I learn? And having knowledge of
this, what can I do, as an individual, to upheave some of these patterns and replace them with
something more progressive, more inclusive, and more open. We must always challenge ourselves to
see more and learn more and to be exposed to more ideas that can help to inform our opinions about
the world, about each other, and none more important than about ourselves.
This is not an abstract think-piece. These words serve only to encourage self-observation and
self-evaluation, without judgement. So often our social structures give us reason to believe that justice
is a form of or is tied to judgement, but let us explore an idea of justice without consideration to
judgement. (A strange consideration, since how is something just or unjust without a judgement, right?
But…) let us just for a moment, conceive a world where we have no need to judge, because what is just
is what already exists, underneath the layers of injustice and hardship. These things that we deem
unjust about ourselves, are they really what makes us who we are, or are they things we have inherited
from the outside world; and if they are the latter, what can we do to release them, to make way for that
which is just and true to shine? The answer may lay in the softening of our edges, the pattern of our
breath, the difference between resistance and surrender, the relief during the release, the letting go of
some our learned behaviours and practices. Spirit dwells in ease.
In our practice of yoga we are often confronted with ourselves sometimes in ways that can be
frustrating or difficult to face. When the conditions seem too much to bear, it may just be a calling to
find ease. Find more ease with yourself, ways to be less tense, less rigid, less formal and structured.
Sometimes, allow yourself to just soften, to root and ground in the midst of uncertainty, to find the
patience to flow through changing tides. Sometimes we do would do well to put down the façade of
surefootedness and allow the unknown to be our guide. Sometimes we have to trust in the things we do
not yet understand and be moved by them. These very things can inform us greatly, and perhaps bring
to light new concepts, new ideas, and new ways of looking at old things. We might see ourselves a little
differently, and in so doing find a new way to see the world.
Maybe just breathe a little deeper into your belly for the next few moments and write down
what justice feels like to you right now, and whether you think you have been a just person, and how
you could bring a little more justice to your own life and to your own self. Let your yoga practice inform
a deeper relationship with yourself and thereby all these things about you that you are beginning to
remember. Breathe and go slow…
Love & light till a nex’ time