Part of the participants homework was to write an essay on the topic of their choice and they were aware that I would be posting it on my website. We also did an exercise in the first weekend to create a life affirmation and core desire feeling, I invited them to share it with us. I am so humbled and touched that I got to support these amazing beings on part of their journey and I am looking forward to witness how life unfolds for them.
Indigenizing Your Yoga Practice
I want to begin by recognizing the Snuneymuxw First Nation for allowing us on their unceded territory. My English name is Ivy Richardson and my traditional name is Snowmokadice. My family on my mother’s side is from the Nuxalk and Gusgimukw Nations and on my father’s side I am a mix of French, English, Irish and Scottish.
I was inspired to create a yoga series called the 7 law series(connect with me if interested to hear more about this series) from the Yoga Yamas and Niyamas. Essentially the Yamas and Niyamas are values/ethics to live by. In Indigenous cultures we also have a set of ethics/values to live by called the 7 Laws (sometimes called the 7 Sacred Teachings or 7 Grandfather Teachings). These laws can vary from nation to nation but have been adopted by most. These teachings are especially important for me as an Indigenous person living in an urban environment. As important as it is to have a daily physical practice it is just as and maybe more important in my opinion that you live your Yamas and Niyamas and the same rings truth for living the 7 Laws. Each teaching tells a story, is interconnected and represented by an animal. People all over the world should and do follow these teachings. Though I won’t go into detail here about each teaching and how it is represented I will share the 7 Laws: Respect, Love, Courage, Honesty, Wisdom, Humility and truth. How do we as Indigenous peoples live these teachings and walk in a good way each and every day? With respect, I believe the healthy and healing movements of yoga fused with the teachings of the 7 Laws can help people walk in a good way in their daily life and at the same time you are indeed Indigenizing your practice.
Some other ways you can indigenize your physical practice include but aren’t limited to:
- Incorporating different cleansing methods in your practice(smudging, brushing off with an eagle feather, candle or cedar…this will vary depending on your nation or teachings around cleansing).
- Translating your practice from English or Sanskrit into your traditional language.
- Using a drum beat to guide your practice.
- Be Indigenous and practice Yoga. J
*Please don’t appropriate a culture that isn’t yours. The 7 laws are universal teachings for all peoples and should be followed by all but be respectful of specific teachings from specific nations.*