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Study Group on Racism and Yoga

June 23, 2020 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Study Group on Racism and Yoga

Led by Jacqueline Shea Murphy and Francesca Nicosia

Tuesdays 7:30 to 8:30 pm – June 23 and June 30 and then every other Tuesday

Developing an asana practice requires periods of discomfort — staying in stretches, holding difficult balances and kicking up with courage despite fears of collapse. In this study group, we will tap into the resilience we have been cultivating through asana and use it to sit with difficult discussions around yoga and racism.

Over the past month, the United States’ foundational base in white-supremacy, anti-Black racism, genocide and colonialism, has become glaringly obvious. Modern yoga as it is practiced today, however painful it is to acknowledge, also benefits from its complicity with this foundation. We, in solidarity with many yoga practitioners, want to direct yoga practice as a tool not of racism but of anti-racism. Yet, transforming foundational structures cannot occur without transforming our ways of thinking. In this group we will work together, in community, toward that transformation.

This study group is geared toward white yoga practitioners who have done some work around whiteness – folks who are familiar with the concepts of white privilege and white fragility – and are ready to deepen their engagement with these issues. We invite participants who are willing to work together slowly, carefully and thoughtfully, with space for reflection and critique. In line with yoga asana practice (not press the foot or turn the leg, but both), we will approach topics with an “and/and” mindset, where sitting with complexity is expected and encouraged.

Each session will begin with review of a pre-assigned podcast, video or short essay. Discussion topics will likely include:

  • “race-blindness” and racism inside the studio and out
  • whiteness and spiritual bypassing
  • individualism and universalism
  • presumptions around seeing, taking, owning and selling such as appropriation and commodification
  • white self-actualization and neo-liberalism
  • orientalism and exotification
  • hegemonies of British colonialism and Hindu nationalism.

This series is geared towards white folks, yet open to all. Pre-registration, willingness to engage the week’s materials and to sit with hard issues is required.

The initial two sessions are for the group to form. Plan to attend them both. New participants may will be allowed after that by emailing


Tuesdays, 7:30 to 8:30 pm held via Zoom

June 23 & June 30

Then every other Tuesday:

July 14

July 28

August 11

August 25


$5+ donation to Adeline’s Yoga Blessings fund encouraged OR you can use your current membership or pass.

You can register online and pay $5 that way.  We also are collecting donations for the Yoga Blessings fund here. Suggested donation for the whole series = $60 or $5 for a single session.

Donations appreciated but not mandatory, No one turned away for lack of funds.

Prior to the session you will receive a unique zoom log-in and specific instructions.

First time on Zoom with us? Check out our tip sheet! Our tips will help you get ready for your first class with us.

About your group leaders:

Jacqueline Shea Murphy, Ph.D., (she/her/hers) (Welsh/English/Irish/French Canadian), has been teaching about race and dance for over two decades as a professor of Critical Dance Studies in UC Riverside’s Dance department. She is the author of “The People Have Never Stopped Dancing”: Native American Modern Dance Histories and co –director of Jacqueline is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher, and has been a serious practitioner of Iyengar yoga for over 25 years.

Francesca Nicosia PhD., (she/her/hers) (Italian/Irish/English/Ukrainian/Polish), is a medical anthropologist and faculty at UC San Francisco’s Institute for Health & Aging. She has been involved in activism and advocacy related to the prison industrial complex and structural competency in healthcare settings for two decades. Francesca has been a dedicated yoga practitioner for over twenty years and is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher and certified yoga therapist (c-IAYT).  She is a teacher at Adeline Yoga, specializing in asana, yoga philosophy and chanting.




June 23, 2020
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm


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