Honoring the Roots of Yoga with Susanna Barkataki



For this episode, I sat down with Susanna Barkataki. Susanna is a yoga teacher, Certified Yoga Therapist and the founder of Ignite Yoga and Wellness Institute where she runs Ignite Be Well 200/500 Yoga teacher Training programs. She is the author of the forthcoming book Honor Yoga’s Roots: Courageous Ways to Deepen Your Yoga Practice. With a degree in Philosophy from UC Berkeley and a Masters in Education from Cambridge College, Barkataki is a diversity, accessibility, inclusivity, and equity yoga unity educator who created the ground-breaking Honor {Don’t Appropriate} Yoga Summit with more than 10,000 participants.


Listen to the full episode here:




MY 5 BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS EPISODE:


1- Originally, the practice was meant to help transcend the attachment to the body. A full yoga practice is far beyond the physical. It includes all 8 limbs, yoga philosophy, ethics, mantra, mudra, spiritual and lineage acknowledgment and appreciation, and more.


2- To be a responsible and holistic yoga teacher today, you need to have some understanding of social justice and social equity since yoga is about unity.


3- Yoga was pre-religious, it was a earth based spiritual practice. Yoga came from the elements as a way to understand suffering, understand the world around us, and to learn to be more in harmony with that world and with ourselves. It later co-existed and was influenced by the major world religions. It's at least 2,500 BCE, possibly 5,000-10,000 BCE.


4- The lack of accessibility, representation and equally in yoga classes is a public health issue. As a teacher, ask yourself who is not here and why are missing?


5- As a student, diversify your feed, seek out a variety of teachers, support organizations that work towards equality and diversity. Commit to stick to a variety of practices. There are no rule book. It's about thinking critically and acting in a way that brings balance to the power difference and tries to heal the harm that was made in the past.


QUESTIONS SHE ANSWERED DURING THIS EPISODE:


  • Why are you passionate about this work? And who do you it for?

  • You say “There has been some misunderstanding as to what yoga is in the west today” Could you explain what is the definition of yoga you work with, just so we’ll all be on the same page?

  • How does the definition translate and look like in our experience of yoga in a studio in the western world?

  • What as westerner yoga teachers should we study, look at, consider?

  • Can we do a brief overview history of yoga?

  • Was the watering down of the practice to make it more palatable was a good strategy?

  • How does racism shows up in the yoga community and how can we create more equality and diversity?

  • As a student, how do you make other students feel more welcomed and participate in the efforts of the studio to be more inclusive?

  • What is cultural appropriation, what isn’t?

  • What does cultural appropriation look like in the yoga context?



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ABOUT OUR GUEST


An Indian yoga practitioner in the Shankaracharya tradition, Susanna Barkataki is the founder of Ignite Yoga and Wellness Institute and runs Ignite Be Well 200/500 Yoga Training programs. She is an E-RYT 500, Certified Yoga Therapist with the International Association of Yoga Therapists (C-IAYT). She is the author of the forthcoming book Honor 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 more than 10,000 participants.


IG: @susannabarkataki susannabarkataki.com ignitebewell.com

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