Last month I had the great privilege to participate with an inspiring group of people on a Cultural Immersion Retreat with Seane Corn. It was my intention to share a description of my experience in this newsletter. But then I received the email passage below from Seane whose words are far more on point than mine could ever be.
“” I just returned from my “Learning and Listening Yoga and Cultural Immersion” to South Dakota. It was a remarkable experience led by a Cheyenne elder, Rain Bear Stands Last, who is also a Standing Rock activist and Native American historian. My intention in creating this tour was to understand more about Native American history, including their genocide, institutionalized oppression, and the impact that racism, prejudice and discrimination has had on the viability of their culture and how they continue to navigate this bias until this very day. We also learned about their spiritual practices, and the ways their leadership (and resiliency) is influenced by ancient beliefs, rituals, ceremonies and commitment to Mother Earth. It was a life altering experience to learn about our real American history and how the roots of systemic oppression in the USA began– and how they are instrumental to understanding many of our nation’s issues, especially the continued discrimination towards people of color and other marginalized communities.
It is so important for those of us who want to participate in creating social change to understand the root causes of oppression, and the ways in which we, even with the best of intentions, may be perpetuating that very same oppression via our own words, deeds and actions.
That is why we at Off The Mat, Into The World are committed to creating opportunities, like the “Learning and Listening” tours as well as leadership programs, both online and in person. These programs provide education about social justice issues, including racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ageism and ableism, just to name a few. They also inspire direct action and compassionate service through movement building and how to step into leadership within your own community. These trainings also focus on the mind/body connection, the emotional and psychological impact of personal and collective trauma, self-accountability and how to cultivate and use the tools of yoga and mindfulness to affect necessary social change… from the inside out.
With everything going on in our world today, it is time for all of us to wake up, do the inner work necessary, get engaged and work together to create a world that is free, fair, equal, safe, happy, peace-filled and loving for ALL. Join us and be part of the OTM family and the movement for social change!
Blessings and love, “