Yoga for Social Justice: Developing Anti-Oppressive Tools for Change through Yoga


  • Valin S. Jordan San José State University


yoga, praxis, liberation, suffering, embodiment


This paper presents the practice of yoga as both a method of pedagogy and inquiry to create transformative social justice praxis. The Sanskrit word yoga translates to yoke. The practice of yoga, rather the practice of creating a yoking or connection of body, mind, and spirit, provides an avenue for how transformation begins with the self, and then spreads into our collective engagements and anti-oppressive work. Through self-examination of body, mind, and spirit we are able to unearth the roots of oppression that exist within our being, in other words the embodiment of marginalization, oppression, and silence. I use autobiographical methodology to examine how my practice of yoga has informed not only a critical examination of the self, but a critical examination of how to disrupt the interlocking systems that continue to marginalize, oppress, and silence. I draw from different spiritual philosophies to create a more well-rounded view on how suffering can be used to traverse human connection, recognize the alternatives, and bring about balance within individuals.


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