Panel Discussion | Evolution of Yoga Summit and Blueprint, Part 3: Cultural Appropriation

April 20, 2021

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About This Event

The Cultural Appropriation track of the Evolution of Yoga Summit invites practitioners to explore questions and nuances raised within the context of yoga and cultural appropriation. Look closely at the fine line between cultural appreciation and appropriation, assess impacts within the Indian and South Asian diasporic context and within Black and Indigenous Native American cultures, and explore the depth, creativity, and richness of indigenous rites and practices that are often missing from Modern Postural Yoga practices. Eventgoers will also dive into and practice restoration of ancestral wisdom and other yogic cultural elements.

About the Presenters

An Indian yoga practitioner in the Shankaracharya tradition, Susanna Barkataki supports practitioners to lead with equity, diversity, and yogic values while growing thriving practices and businesses with confidence. She is the founder of Ignite Yoga and Wellness Institute and runs 200/500-hour Yoga Teacher Training programs. She is an E-RYT 500 and Certified Yoga Therapist with the International Association of Yoga Therapists (C-IAYT). She is also author of the #1 New Release and International Bestseller in Yoga in Nov 2020, Embrace Yoga’s Roots: Courageous Ways to Deepen Your Yoga Practice. With an Honors degree in Philosophy from UC Berkeley and a Masters in Education from Cambridge College, Barkataki is a diversity, accessibility, inclusivity, and equity (DAIE) yoga unity educator who created the ground-breaking Honor {Don’t Appropriate} Yoga Summit with over 10,000 participants. Learn more and take her complimentary masterclass to embrace yoga’s roots without appropriation:

Rina Deshpande, Ed.M., MS.T., (E-RYT 500) is a writer, artist, and teacher of yoga and mindfulness. Rina grew up with yoga as a first generation Indian American in Florida, at times taught through lectures and mantra led by a guru invited into her home or Temple to share with the community. Other times, she was taught indirectly such as waking up with morning practices that she still observes in her parents not talking until the mind has cleared and gratitude has been offered. As a new public school teacher in NYC in 2004, she suffered from severe stress and found herself in a yoga class where she was happy to reconnect with Ujjayi breath. For 15 years, she’s taught academics and pedagogy to kids and teachers in the U.S., helping to found Relay Graduation School of Education. Concurrently, she practiced yoga and completed her 500-hour teacher training at ISHTA Yoga while learning from her parents and gurus brought by the Indian community in Tampa, Florida and Bangalore, India. In 2015, she graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education Mind Brain and Education program, where she has since designed meditation and yoga research curriculum for the Marines and Massachusetts General Hospital. Her first published book of handwritten, hand-illustrated yoga-inspired poetry, Jars of Space, comes out in 2020. Learn more @rinathepoet and

Kelley Palmer is a writer, wellness advocate, and community organizer committed to using the tools and philosophies of yoga to cultivate liberation, joy, and peace for herself and others. Her connection to yoga's living practice as a path of mindful wellness and self-realization fuels her work, impacts her life, and propels her to want to share it with others through her writing, events, and guest teaching opportunities. She remains focused on making this healing practice accessible to all, connecting to communities normally excluded or ignored in mainstream wellness circles. Being a mother of two liberated souls has created a point of focus that brings these tools to how she mothers and calls her to share this with all parents. Through in-person and online offerings, she centers her work on making these connections with authentic and sustainable tool building. Her writings, offerings, and more can be found at

Luvena Rangel is a body-positive, Yoga Teacher Trainer with a background in Medicine and Holistic Health and teaching credentials in Ayurveda and Meditation. She is one of Bangalore’s leading Yoga Anatomy and Physiology educators and thinker in Philosophy. She is the founder of The Curvy Yogi, modeling inclusive and accessible yoga for everyone regardless of body type, limitations, or stereotypes. She focuses on therapeutic and holistic management of spinal conditions, physiological disorders, and thyroid imbalances in her private sessions. Luvena comes with years of study in philosophy, scriptures, holistic health, healing, and well-being from eminent thought leaders, spiritual advocates, and holistic healers like Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. David Frawley (Pandit Vamadev Shastri), Yogini Shambhavi & Vianna Stibal. Through her input on Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI), she has offered workshops to organizations like eBay, Amway & HP, and Bangalore Police and BHEL in India. She has also served as an advisor to Yoga Alliance for the Standards Review Project.

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