Breath and Privilege

Like so many others, I am wrestling with everything that has been going on in the world today. This post is meant as a means to open up a dialogue and, hopefully, improve upon the SILENCE

Each morning, I wake up and (since we are still distancing from one another) make my way to my yoga mat for my morning yoga practice. While I have always been aware that it is privilege to practice yoga, and to teach it, I have never been so acutely aware of just how much privilege I am blessed with until now.

I am not alone when I say that the breath has always been at the heart of the practice. In yoga, we cue the breath, “ekam. inhale…”, listen to it, move to it, and watch it. It’s not just important; it is essential. 

This post isn’t about yoga. It is about racism, injustice, murder, anger, and no longer accepting the way things are. But, I am still learning. On one hand, I feel that my voice is not the voice that needs to be heard right now. Now, it is my turn to listen, read, re-post, and help amplify the voices that support the Black Lives Matter movement and work to put an end to racism. Yet, silence isn’t the answer either.

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” — Dr Martin Luther King Jr

If I am being honest, as I do the work of trying to educate myself on concepts such as white supremacy and white privilege, I struggle in placing myself as “white.” Like an elaborate recipe, I have a pinch of this and a pinch of that. Growing up, I quickly learned that a pinch “don’t mean sh!t.” At least, according to the hispanic girl who followed me around in middle school threatening to kill me. Instead the widespread inclusion that I envisioned, the result of my genetic melting-pot was a widespread othering. But that was in the 70s, and times have changed — for some that is.

In a statement following the harrowing death of George Floyd, Michelle Obama notes how race and racism has been a reality that so many of us grew up learning to “just deal with.”

But if we ever hope to move past it, it can’t just be on people of colour to deal with it. It’s up to all of us – Black, white, everyone – no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out. It starts with self-examination and listening to those whose lives are different from our own. It ends with justice, compassion, and empathy that manifests in our lives and on our streets.”

It is now 2020 and I am a grown woman recognizing that I have indeed been given the privilege of a white middle-class woman….and I can use this privilege to be an ally to support the end to the injustice, inequality, and hate. You can too! 

Please know that I am still navigating this myself. Just begin the process with whatever calls to you. Use whatever talents you have in support of change, like this amazing artist I recently discovered on Instagram. Sign petitions, donate to organizations that support any aspect of change that resonates with you, attend a protest, make a sign for your window, post to social media, support black owned businesses, VOTE… 

Leave a Comment