Expecting Something – Yoga as an equity practice

28 June 2021

A rare treat and honour to run a session for Starcatchers Expecting Something group, using yoga practices, to foster unity, self care and support community. This free weekly creative group for young parents and their little ones, is led by the phenomenal Katy Wilson, at Whale Arts centre in Wester Hailes, Edinburgh.

Here, an example of embracing Yoga as an equity practice. The impact of cultural appropriation of yoga in the west, has created a deep separation, and revealed gross inequities within the wellness industry and society.

Honouring Yoga’s roots, means restoring a sense of community and connection, through practices that cultivate unity, within mind, body and heart, and which uphold social justice. Yoga practices provide tools for self regulation and a means to transform intention into positive action for liberation, personally and socially.

Katy had the vision to create a relaxation retreat in the woods for the group, sharing Yoga practices, Asana, Pranayama (breathwork) and self massage to promote relaxation and restoration. 🌱🌳

What was most evident, this second time working with the group was its impact, in facilitating young people to navigate through, this incredibly transformative and challenging time as parents, and for many, amidst great personal challenge.

Challenges made harder by the inequities they experience within the health care system, maternity care, education, and lets not forget, the wellness industry.

Here was a group of young people, receptive to a total stranger and these seemingly unfamiliar practices; Pranayama, sound practices, self massage and combinations of seated asanas (poses). What happened, in this time was nothing short of extraordinary. These young adults began to share openly; aches and pains, mental, emotional tensions, questions about managing emotions, changing mindsets, coping strategies.

One young mum stated she found it very difficult to connect to herself, to recognise changes or signs in her body, mind, or her breath. We explored simple techniques in self massage, movement and breathwork that could be used to soothe, stimulate, relieve anxiety. How a little bit goes a long way in sensitising to self and exploring new coping tools. We discussed the importance of healthy boundaries as parents, which prioritise self care and worth.

I was humbled by their honesty and desire to expand self awareness. I listened to how a young mother had advocated for friends about self respect and body autonomy, skills she was teaching her young daughter.

After working as a teacher for over 9 years, predominately, with students who experienced inequity as a result of socio-economic status, race or religion, I experienced the deeply important work, needed to earn respect and trust, by those let down so chronically by systems, that should have been working to liberate not oppress.

What I witnessed within this group, was a truly diverse space, a community bound by inclusion not exclusivity. A group Who welcomed and trusted me to share some practices that may provide some small pathway to fostering self worth, healing and unity in self and beyond.

So deep respect and gratitude to Starcatchers and Katy Wilson, for the work they do in building community and promoting equity. And to these #extrodinaryhumans, who are raising the future 🙌🧡.