Yogis from Ethnic Minority Groups

BAME YOGA CLASSES
led by Amasu

What is BAME?

BAME is an acronym for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups. I have to say that this same community do not identify with this term, we don’t like it particularly as it contains the word ‘minority’ which we definitely do not identify with. The ‘BAME’ world population is clearly the majority as a group. Contrary to this you might like to read another perspective:

https://civilservice.blog.gov.uk/2019/07/08/please-dont-call-me-bame-or-bme/

I will continue to reference as BAME until we have a term that defines us in keeping with how we wish to be viewed. BAME is a political term used to refer to ‘marginalised’ groups in our society and for those that are under represented or proportionally more vulnerable to for example, COVID-19, because of determining social factors.

What is BAME YOGA? 

  • Is a dedicated yoga practice that prioritises BAME communities who are astonishingly under represented in the Health and Wellbeing Industries.
  • seeks to address access and prioritise participation in yoga by offering affordable, wide open door policy.
  • Is the same as any yoga class from a wide spectrum of modern postural yoga, meditation and mental, emotional, spiritual, physical wellbeing and development.
  • Is INCLUSIVE and culturally SENSITIVE.
  • This means that the process of learning yoga has an embedded multicultural foundation, within the context of contemporary and globally living.
  • Actively asserts and responds to the need for both homeland and diasporic engagement, rights to healing, safe environment and positive community bonding.
  • Recognises that the yoga community is culturally and socially diverse, including its teachers who reflect by identity to these same under represented communities.
  • Is sensitive to the particular needs of this group both culturally, religiously irrespective of one’s belief system.
  • ALL classes prioritise safe space for ALL students
  • We celebrate all faiths and religions as well as secular societies. Global spirituality is at the core of BAME YOGA
  • Through union of body, mind and spirit we learn how to engage spiritual technology, to slow down, calming all aspects of self to reveal a more peaceful inner core upon which we build and develop in both strength and flexibility, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Yoga simply put means, union, body, mind and soul/spirit, both within our personal internal worlds and our shared outer world. A unification of spirit, people and souls globally, this is often referred to as creating ‘Sangha’, a community school if you like. It is an education in living a compassionate life both on and off the yoga mat.

Who Teaches BAME YOGA?

UCL Yoga and Meditation Club the first University to engage with and support this initiative, actively providing FREE classes and workshops taught by BAME teachers.

As a response to the current unprecedented experience of COVID-19 and its effect on our student body, personally, mentally and physically, yoga is needed now more than ever. Many students in London are international, away from home, some are first generation others are UK residents of BAME heritage. ALL in this context are classified as ‘vulnerable’ according to government https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-understanding-the-impact-on-bame-communities

What this actually means and what this actually looks like is still vague. We want clarity here, in the meantime there is an even greater call to engage in healthy, positive and mind relaxing activities. This helps to increase one’s immunity as well as will power!

What Can We Do Now?

ALL BAME students are invited and actively encouraged to begin a practise in yoga alongside their studies. Let us aim to give the same priority, to our yoga practise as we do to, dare I say it, our studies

As a yoga teacher at both SOAS and UCL for the past year I have constantly heard the adage “too busy with assignments to do yoga”. May I suggest here, that you look to value your body and soul/spirit/emotional wellbeing as much as your mind and studies. That you prioritise self, that you allow your student experience to be more fulfilling and less draining.

If you would like to know more about me see: www.amasu.co.uk and www.decoloniseyoga.co.uk (under construction until Oct 2020)

Find me on Instagram: Afro Yoga, and Decolonising Yoga Movement (also on Facebook and Twitter)

I am currently a postgraduate at SOAS – MA Traditions of Yoga and Meditation and President to SOAS Yoga and Meditation Society.

Feel free to contact me: 676525@soas.ac.uk

 

– by Amasu Evans