Yoga Journal USA – June 2017

(Barré) #1




editor’s letter


we practice

A FEW MONTHS AGO, I was settling onto my mat before my favorite
yoga class, when I looked around the room and noticed, once again,
that almost all of the other yogis waiting for class to start looked pretty
similar to me: white, female, and relatively slim. It’s true that I live in
Boulder, Colorado, a notoriously homogenous town. Even so, it was
a subtle reminder that while yoga has the potential to unite us, it also
has a reputation for being pretty exclusive.
This is not new. When yoga first emerged in India, it was taught and
practiced by men, and only men. But as the ancient practice migrated
West, it evolved. Today (in this country at least), classes, trainings, events,
and media dedicated to yoga (this magazine not excluded) are predomi-
nantly filled with similar-looking, able-bodied, financially stable women.
Part of my mission as editor of Yoga Journal is to expand the con-
versation and include a more diverse group of yogis in these pages.
We’ve dedicated nearly half of the issue you’re holding right now to
the subject of yoga inclusivity. In the following pages, you’ll meet
four incredible yogis, including Chelsea Jackson Roberts, a black yoga
teacher who says that even after 10 years of teaching, new students still
act surprised that she is the teacher. You’ll hear from Anna Guest-Jelley,
founder of Curvy Yoga, who shares her path to body acceptance and
being at peace with being the curviest yogini in the room. You’ll be
inspired by Dan Nevins, a soldier turned yoga teacher whose transfor-
mative experience of embracing yoga may very well have saved his life.
And you’ll also meet Teo Drake, a trans yoga and meditation teacher
who asks not for sympathy from those who hear his story, but rather
a commitment to finding a commonality. “I want them to feel empa-
thy,” says Drake, “and to act in solidarity.”
That is my ultimate wish, not only for this issue, but for the yoga
community as a whole: that we, as yogis, commit to remembering that
we are all united and to doing what we can to make this beautiful, accept-
ing practice available to anyone who wants it, regardless of gender, race,
size, ability, or socioeconomic status.
In that spirit, I’ll ask you the same question I promise to continue to
pose to myself: What will you do to help make yoga more inclusive for all?

In solidarity,


Carin Gorrell
Editor in Chief

Anna Guest-Jelley, Carin Gorrell, Dan Nevins,
Chelsea Jackson Roberts, and Teo Drake.
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