Social justice yoga

(Saturday, 9/7/2019) – Day 2 of our yoga teacher training. A powerful day, if a LOT of interaction for this introvert.  By the end of the day, I was saturated and ready to go.

I stopped to pick up a few groceries and by a healthy fast food place on my way home. The line was long. Very long. Too long. What was taking so long? Did homeboy really just pull out a list, like, ordering for his whole crew? [Fully aware that I was failing at everything I’d just spent the whole day learning]. One of the workers finally — FINALLY — opened up a second register. And it was my go. Or not.

Because she wasn’t trying to take my order. She began venting under her breath. They told her if she left she would be fired. She’s a single mother. She can’t keep working these double shifts. Her godmother is elderly. Her godfather is sick. They can’t keep watching her baby for 12 hours a day. If her child is sick, she’s leaving, end of story. They keep making her work these double shifts.

I won’t lie, I was ambivalent at first. This wasn’t the time or the place.  If she didn’t know, she would unfortunately learn the hard way what it means to be professional. But then…but then this weekend. Where was that reaction coming from?

The little sister was hurting and angry. Me too. Because my skin was like hers, in that moment, I was her safest place. Of all people, I would get the devastation at what life had to offer her.  I did. I listened for I don’t know how long. Much longer than it took to take an order.  I encouraged her to hang in there. That she was doing a good job. That I would pray for her. These efforts felt so small.

I’m grateful that this yoga training teaches with a social justice framework, with an understanding of how racism, capitalism, and sexism work hand in hand. My lens is getting upgraded. And I’m back to impact. Realizing it must be macro and micro. Top down and grassroots. At the systems and individual levels. I feel helpless to help little sis in a truly impactful way. She is still with me.

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