my commitments to you, yoga this week, and an opportunity for community giving
week of Monday, June 1st
I’m back with live classes this week, and the schedule is below. But first, I want to make some acknowledgements and state my commitments to all of you and our broader, worldwide community of people.
As a white woman and a yoga + movement teacher, I acknowledge my privilege and understand the obligation I have to my students, peers, friends, community, and the world to promote justice, compassion, awareness, observation, self-study, and safety, among other values and practices. I have a responsibility to create a safe space for the people practicing with me. I understand that each person’s individual experiences come with them to their yoga practice and what we do on the mat can either heal or hurt. I do not take these responsibilities and awarenesses lightly.
As a yoga + movement teacher, I am committed to:
hearing and understanding the stories and experiences of the people I work with, and their broader communities; at this time, specifically listening to the experiences of the black community.
examining my role in the experiences other people have and making changes in my lifestyle and behaviors to support others. Our experiences as individuals are not, in fact, “individual”: they are not separate. What we do affects others profoundly. What white people do (and do not do) affects black people profoundly. Teachings on awareness and compassion cannot be separated from these issues, and teachings without behavioral changes are nearly useless.
actively aligning how I use my time, voice, money, and position with my belief that what I do with these resources affects other people.
continuing to learn about the historical and cultural roots of yoga and staying aware of cultural appropriation. I acknowledge that I do not have a cultural connection to yoga practices and this acknowledgement informs how I learn about them and teach them.
acknowledging that the “yoga world” and “wellness world” center and cater to white, thin, wealthy, young, injury-free and able-bodied people, mostly women. I am committed to rejecting this as the status quo.
continually learning about trauma and how it affects different people, in different bodies. I am committed to keeping my classes physically and emotionally safe for all people. I acknowledge that I cannot fully understand every individual’s circumstances, and because of this, I am committed to making room for as many experiences as possible, offering modifications and alternatives to physical positions and practices that may not be supportive to someone working with trauma. In person, I will never touch you without your consent, and I will renew consent (or accept refusal for hands-on touch) each time we meet. I understand that at any time, there are many reasons you may prefer not to be touched, and none of them are my business. You are safe to tell me the truth about your touch preferences, and safe to change them.
having an open-door policy for feedback and establishing that working with me (in person or virtually) means we are in a conversation, learning from each other: I want to hear from you. Your experiences before coming to the mat are deeply important to what we do on the mat.
the philosophy that every individual is their own best teacher about their own body. I do not know you better than you know yourself, and while I want to offer you information and practices that may be helpful and supportive to you, you are in charge. I encourage you to become your own guide as you move with your body and breath. Looking within is a crucial starting point, for a yoga practice and for living.
acknowledging that I am not everybody’s teacher, and encouraging you to find a teacher who can support you the most, as you see fit.
My livestreamed YouTube classes are always donation-based, and this week 100% of the donations I receive are going to Brown Sugar Yoga: “Brown Sugar is a yoga and mindfulness practice for people of color, as well as a community in NYC. We offer nurturing, flowing yoga classes to help people of color connect deeply to ourselves and others, learn tools for reducing stress and trauma, and build resilience and joy … Brown Sugar is a space for people of color, because the racism that exists in our society also shows up in yoga spaces, and can be yet another source of stress and (re) traumatization. We aim to provide a warm, nurturing yoga class and community that centers on people of color.” You can send donations to me on Venmo @laurenfrankfurt, or you can make a donation directly yourself and then send me a note with the amount so I can tally our collective donation. Please make your donation or inform me of your donation by Saturday, June 6th at 12pm ET.
As I listen to the black people in our community of human beings, and as I learn from them, I am committed to keeping humility and honesty at the forefront of my disposition. The white people in my community must do the same; our own discomfort is not something to be afraid of confronting.
Let’s put our practices to work. This is what they are for: learning to tolerate uncomfortable feelings, and then initiating and sustaining growth and change.
If there is a way I can support you individually, please be in touch. And please join me for livestreamed classes this week:
Tuesday at 9am ET, 45-minute practice: full-body mobility flow
Some shoulders, some hips, some feet. A balanced yoga flow for full-body mobility and strength. A reliable, foundational sequence with some go-to movements.
Thursday at 9am ET, 45-minute practice: forward folds and meditation
Forward folds are an opportunity to look inward and reflect. We’ll move through a sequence that focuses on forward folds (and the requisite neutralizing) to put space and length in the back of your body and create room for internal observation during a short guided meditation at the end of class. Have a blanket (or sturdy towel) nearby, and if you have a strap (or something similar) bring that, too.
Saturday at 9am ET, 60-minute practice: chaturanga workshop and flow
We’ll dive into chaturanga: alignment, modifications, and the purpose of the pose (there are times you should skip it!). If you have two blocks, please have them nearby. This class will have a teaching/workshop portion followed by a flow portion to put everything to use.
You can reply to this email to respond privately to me with questions, concerns, or comments.