Live Be Yoga Tour

Ev­ery year, Yoga Jour­nal sends am­bas­sadors into the field to get a view of yoga from the ground up. Our reps this year—yoga teach­ers Jeremy Falk and Aris Se­aberg— share what they’ve learned about in­clu­siv­ity, ser­vice, and be­ing in love with the prac­tice.

Yoga Journal - - CONTENTS -

Yoga Jour­nal Based on what you’ve seen, what do you think the fu­ture of yoga will look like?

Jeremy Falk The fu­ture of yoga is be­ing shaped by con­ver­sa­tions about in­clu­siv­ity, ac­ces­si­bil­ity, and au­then­tic­ity. For ex­am­ple, in Char­lotte, North Carolina, the yoga com­mu­nity is hold­ing sum­mits around heal­ing #metoo and the cul­ture of ex­clu­siv­ity cre­ated by the com­mer­cial­iza­tion of mod­ern yoga, which has per­pet­u­ated the idea that yoga is for young, skinny, af­flu­ent white women.

Aris Se­aberg A few teach­ers said that yoga in the West has be­come wide but is lack­ing depth. But I feel there is a con­scious shift hap­pen­ing. Yoga is here to stay and is go­ing to grow much deeper—deeper into our cul­ture but also deeper in the sense of what is taught.

It’s in­spir­ing to see yo­gis like Aadil and Sav­itri Palkhivala at the Alive and Shine Cen­ter in Belle­vue, Wash­ing­ton, stand­ing strong in the tra­di­tions of yoga. YJ How can we re­main rooted in those tra­di­tions and make the prac­tice ac­ces­si­ble?

JF Some of my fa­vorite mo­ments on the tour were of meet­ing mas­ter teach­ers who wanted to dis­cuss the in­tegrity of the prac­tice as it pop­u­lar­izes around the globe. In Wash­ing­ton, DC, John Schu­macher urged stu­dents to stay con­nected to a lin­eage, cit­ing the adage, “If you want to dig for wa­ter, dig a deep hole, not sev­eral shal­low ones.” In Lon­don, Ste­wart Gilchrist re­minded us that yoga is not a well­ness trend but a time­less phi­los­o­phy of self-re­al­iza­tion and ser­vice.

AS These prac­tices have stood the test of time, and now I see them ex­pand­ing into all cor­ners of the world. It has been in­spir­ing to wit­ness the in­te­gra­tion of so­cial is­sues and yoga. Yo­gis like Raquel Bueno from Lib­er­a­tion Yoga in Nash­ville are not

just speak­ing up and talk­ing about top­ics like as­sault and in­clu­siv­ity but ac­tu­ally us­ing the prac­tice to bring about a shift. YJ What has left a last­ing im­pres­sion?

JF Or­ga­ni­za­tions that are liv­ing ex­am­ples of yoga in ser­vice. For ex­am­ple, I Grow Chicago is a non­profit work­ing tire­lessly to heal the most vi­o­lent neigh­bor­hoods in the city, in part with yoga. In Lon­don, the or­ga­ni­za­tion Our­mala pro­vides safe spa­ces and trau­main­formed yoga classes for refugees. My big­gest take­away is that when we cre­ate a cul­ture of in­clu­siv­ity, it am­pli­fies our abil­ity as yo­gis to cre­ate pos­i­tive change.

AS Ev­ery sin­gle per­son I have in­ter­acted with on this tour has made an im­pact on me. Some have shown me ways I can grow, as a hu­man and as a yoga teacher; some have re­minded me what it looks like when ego takes over; and some have been out­right revo­lu­tion­ary and in­spir­ing. As I now dive into fa­cil­i­tat­ing a train­ing, all of this will in­flu­ence my prac­tice and my teach­ing.

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