CPD training on diversity, anti-oppressive practice
& access in Yoga

  • Have you ever wondered about who is not coming to your yoga class?
  • Do you wish to work more inclusively, with people of different race, culture, faith, gender, sex, age, ability & body shape?
  • Are you teaching yoga in therapeutic settings, in schools, prisons, day care centres or hospices?
  • Would you like your yoga teaching to touch into the hearts of people and help them feel validated and seen?
  • Would you like to understand why certain yoga teaching practices are experienced as oppressive?

Yoga teachers, trainers and therapists, spend a lot of time interacting with people: thinking and caring for their needs. In other professions, where this role has been identified, so too have the risks. Where there is care and relationship, there is responsibility and where there is responsibility there is power and the potential for oppression.

Anti oppressive practice (AOP) is an interdisciplinary approach that challenges power imbalances and honours the need for people to feel represented, seen and heard. It gives the facts about inequality and asks us to self reflect as we support others. It is compatible with yoga teachings that direct us to non violence, self study and service in our community

This CPD training will open your eyes and heart to important anti-oppressive issues around relating to people and teaching them yoga.

It will stimulate you to think about diversity and disadvantage, the role of power in a student – teacher relationship and the importance of personal agency in yoga . Over the 2 days, we will draw upon social justice thinking, concepts from interpersonal neurobiology and person centred theory. You will learn about your privilege and positionality in relation to others, how oppression is experienced and why this is so relevant to yoga.

This course, will turn your attention to the importance of process, the ‘how’ rather than the ‘what’ of your teaching. It will support you to reflect on your use of communication, organisation of space, boundaries and touch and empower you to teach inclusively and responsibly.

Day 1: AOP, yoga ethics and reflexivity 

What is anti oppressive practice and why do we need it in yoga?
How do we reconcile yoga, an ancient philosophy with the complexities of our 21 st century society? We will explore how AOP enables us to apply our yoga ethics (niyamas and yamas) relevantly and thoughtfully to our context and communities.

What are our real motivations and intentions for helping others? How can we show up and ground our efforts in self reflection and inner inquiry. We will look at how AOP supports our reflexivity: our ability to know ourselves: our own frames of reference and socialised biases. 

Day 2: Anti oppressive teaching skills

Language has the potential to be inclusive or alienating. We will reflect on what we are communicating through our language, tone of voice, eye contact, posture and gesture and how to mindfully use different communication methods depending on need and circumstance. We will consider the use of instructions, invitational inquiry and body centred/ ‘owned’ language.

Boundaries & space:
How are people positioned in the room and how do we as teachers, move about and interact with our students? We will look at the importance of utilising boundaries and respecting personal kinesphere to create non- threatening environments.

Adjustments and touch:
How might we trigger feelings of unworthiness and shame? How and when are adjustments harmful and intrusive and how can we use touch to validate and further connection. We will think carefully about student to student interaction, how unresolved trauma and oppression in the body determines people’s experience of intimacy and how to encourage consent & agency in yoga.