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Foundational Concepts in Social Justice: Online Course

with Hala Khouri, Teo Drake, and Tessa Hicks-Peterson

Tues/Thurs, April 10 - 26, 2018
(6 sessions, 90 min. each)
4:15-5:45pm PT / 7:15-8:45pm ET

It’s not enough to be compassionate, you must act. —Dalai Lama

As yogis we often talk about how we are all connected. We strive, through our practice, to break apart the illusion of separation so that we can feel that we are all One. At the same time, our world is wracked with profound unrest and struggle. How can we rectify these two truths—the centrality of interconnection to our practice and our yoga community and the fact that we live in a culture that so clearly does not uphold this value? And what is the role of yoga practice and yoga community in a journey to help create a better world?
We created this course as a response to hearing again and again from people who want to make a difference but don’t know where to begin; people who are interested in social justice but overwhelmed by the magnitude of inequality and oppression in the world. It’s a perfectly human response in the face of overwhelming injustice to feel frozen and unsure what to do. This course will provide the grounding and connection to take your practice to the next level and find your place in larger movements for social change.
In six 90-minute sessions over the course of three weeks, you will experience an accessible introduction to the underpinnings of injustice in current U.S. culture, a framework for locating your own identity and position within our larger culture, and models for how to understand yoga practice and yoga community as tools for effectively engaging in social justice.
In this course we will introduce and utilize the practice of “compassionate communication” as a way of creating an openhearted and resilient learning community able to engage with challenging material, take risks together, and strengthen our ability to connect across lines of difference. We will also discuss (and practice) yoga as a tool for remaining openhearted and engaging with unfamiliar and uncomfortable things from a place of care, compassion, and curiosity—learning how to stay embodied, present, and grounded in the face of discomfort.

Topics will include:

  •     Off the Mat’s philosophy of how yoga and social justice are linked
  •     Introduction to prejudice, oppression, power, and privilege
  •     Identity and positionality: mindfulness around the role of the self within activism
  •     Compassion practice as central to sustaining heartbreak and sitting in discomfort
  •     Engaging in social justice: how to approach meaningful activism

*A note on participation: We have observed that engaging in this material authentically requires being present on all live calls and participating in the group discussions; those who participate fully will gain the most from this course. Although recordings of missed sessions will be made available, we ask that you commit to being on calls 1, 3 and 6 because they will be more discussion based.  

No one will be turned away due to funds.  Please inquire about a reduced rate if the lowest tier is unaffordable. For discounts, email