Famous Black Change Makers That Practiced Yoga

Feb 20 , 2020

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Meshayla Green

Famous Black Change Makers That Practiced Yoga

We couldn't allow black history month to pass us by without highlighting some revolutionary change makers and their yogi ways. Have you heard of the 8 limbs of yoga? They come from the Sanskrit term Ashtanga. Essentially acting as guidelines on how to live your best (meaningful and purposeful) life. Whether conscious of these practices or not.. here's how three freedom fighters exemplified yoga at it's core.

Martin Luther King Jr. - Ahimsa (Nonviolence)

The creator of the infamous quote "hate can not drive out hate, only love can do that" believed that one can triumph through nonviolent action. While others forced their point by any means necessary MLK organized peaceful protest, and used civil disobedience. In his book Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story he wrote “The nonviolent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent but he also refuses to hate him.” This is a beautiful example of what Ahimsa looks like in action. Namaste Dr. King.

Rosa Parks - Asana (poses)

Rosa Parks practicing yoga at an event. Alabama Tuskegee, 1973. March. Photograph. 

Most of us only know of Rosa Parks as the woman who refused to give up her seat on the bus. "Nah" - Rosa Parks, 1955. This critical moment making her an icon of the Civil Rights movement. Up until now we didn't know who she was outside of being "The activist." But thanks to a recent exhibit at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C, we get a look at Rosa Parks "The Yogi". You learn that Parks started practicing asana, meditation, and switched to a vegetarian diet later in her life. This may be our favorite black history fact we learned this month. I've never seen a more beautiful bow pose Mrs. Parks.

Malcolm X - Satya (Truthfulness)

This revolutionary was a force to be reckoned with. He didn't believe in false realities, sugar coating, or beating around the bush. "I'm for the truth no matter who tells it." There is so much to learn from him but for today's focus of Satya, lets consider the ways he remained true to himself, his mission, and his people. In the face of intimidation, violence, and rejection he stood on his truth in his being, words, and action. This is satya off of the mat. The light in me sees the light in you Malcolm X.


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