This is the first strategic plan Yoga Alliance has developed in the period following recent, generational changes in so many wide-ranging facets of our lives – how we think about and approach human interactions and work, our collective understanding of systemic inequities and their deep-and wide-ranging impacts, the concepts of public health and wellness, and our communities themselves. As such, this effort called for a thoughtful, creative, and broadly community-centered approach, which led Yoga Alliance to opt for an Appreciative Inquiry-based framework aimed at gathering a diverse set of stories and perspectives.
This document was written at a high level and is designed as a framework that will guide the six years’ of operational choices to come underneath it. Each year this framework will be supported by an internal implementation plan that will articulate Yoga Alliance’s intentions and goals for the year, all informed by preceding years.
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We opted for an Appreciative Inquiry-based approach to develop this strategic plan. Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a framework used to engage groups in self-determined change. It was developed in 1987 by David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva at Case Western Reserve University’s department of Organizational Behavior of the Weatherhead School of Management. AI focuses on what’s working in a system and leads groups to co-design their future. Inquiries are comprised of a “4-D” Process (Discovery, Dream, Design, Destiny) with five key principles: positivity (affirmative questions enact positive change), constructionist (words create worlds), poetic (life is expressed through story), simultaneity (inquiry promotes change), and anticipatory (imagination drives action). Yoga Alliance’s inquiry included a deep review of feedback from members and the larger community over the last several years; a review of the prior strategic plan; a global survey of the yoga community, broadly defined, and; focus groups to drill down into questions surfaced by these inputs. It culminated in an online Summit titled “Unleashing Our Global Potential Yoga Alliance toward 2030”, which brought together members of the Yoga Alliance Boards of Directors, staff from across the organization, members, and external stakeholders to bring the work of the inquiry into final focus.
To breathe life into our strategic plan, we will focus our efforts on three foundational commitments:
We are committed to “advocating” for yoga in its wholeness, and working to dispel common misconceptions such as yoga = asana; yoga is (solely) an exercise practice; yoga is only for people of certain body types, races, ethnicities, religions, genders, etc. We are similarly committed to advocating for greater access to the kind of “whole-person wellness” that yoga enables, including broadening the public understanding of what it means for someone to be “well,” who is deserving of wellness, and the role a yoga practice can play in one’s wellness. We will do this through:
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On behalf of this community, we proactively seek to understand what keeps people from seeing themselves within it. With compassion for all, we will share what we learn and support the community in adapting and growing to meet the needs. We will do this through:
We invest in community building as a vehicle for collective knowledge-sharing, mentoring, accountability, and belonging, and for creating impact greater than any of us can do alone. We will do this through:
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