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Ahimsa is not enough

Last Updated: May 25, 2022


Dear Community,

It is a dark day in the United States. Today, we are facing the horrific news of yesterday’s act of violence against children in Uvalde, Texas; still processing last week’s shootings in New York and California; and reflecting on the two-year anniversary of George Floyd’s tragic murder.

In short, it is overwhelming.

There have been 27 school shootings and 212 mass shootings this year alone, and the nonsensical access to deadly weapons in our country remains untouched.

As an organization and community, we must be bold in our approach to systemic violence. It is not enough to stand alone in the peace and truth of our own yoga practice, or to hide behind yoga as an aspirational idea. If simply believing in yoga was enough, we would have already changed the world in the ways we envision and strive for.

And, ahimsa—the ethical yogic principle of non-violence—isn’t enough.

In facing violent tragedy after violent tragedy, Yoga Alliance has leaned into ahimsa as a guiding light. Ahimsa, as yoga teachers know, is an incredibly beautiful keystone in yogic philosophy. But, to be more than theoretical, it requires concrete, practical application in our federal, state, and societal systems—real action to enforce real change. In order for each of us to live into ahimsa, to bring it to life through our practices, we each must act to demand these changes as well.

The difficult truth is there is not one clear path forward- no single antidote to this unique sickness we are experiencing as a nation. Many steps must be taken, many things must dramatically shift; but what is certain is that we must reject and take action against the forces that make violence like this so possible.

This moment is demanding that we step into being the organization we're called to be. In the days ahead, our team will be evaluating the actions that we, individually and organizationally, can and should take; and invite you to join us. As always, we are open to your ideas and welcome input and feedback. To share your thoughts, please email feedback@yogaalliance.org.

In the meantime, we are closing our offices from Friday, May 27 through Tuesday, May 31, 2022 to give Yoga Alliance staff space and time to support their mental and emotional wellbeing. We encourage you to be gentle with yourself and take care of your heart and others in the ways that you can.


For a changed and better future,
Yoga Alliance

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