Why Yoga for People of Color?

The roots of yoga are in India and there is significant evidence of yogic practice in Ancient Egypt and other parts of the world as well, suggesting an ancient common root.

The multi-billion dollar yoga industry in the West is an industry that is modeled on colonialism, and as such Yoga in the West does not reflect yoga's origins, nor the diversity of the general population.

Satya Yoga Cooperative is a member-owned yoga cooperative consisting of yoga teachers of color.

In 2014, Lakshmi Nair, a yoga teacher of South Asian heritage, created a yoga immersion/teacher training program for people of color in Denver. It was the first yoga teacher training in the country to hold brave space to apply the wisdom of yoga to the physical, mental, and spiritual trauma of living as a person of color in a racist society. Yoga provides invaluable knowledge, understanding, and tools for self integration from all psychic/spiritual wounds, including those caused by racism.  It is well documented that people of color live with far greater levels of chronic stress that have direct consequences on physical and mental health of individuals and communities.  On a very basic level, yoga is one of the greatest stress management tools around.  

Brave space allows us to reclaim yoga as an indigenous healing wisdom tradition with authenticity, but also with a critical inquiry that is informed by our multicultural, multi-dimensional, and intersectional perspectives.

Satya Yoga Cooperative was created by graduates of the Satya Yoga teacher training to provide brave spaces for healing and to promote diversity in yoga. We lovingly chose the cooperative model to offer a non-colonial economic model that has proven successful in marginalized communities the world over. We offer a model of a POC owned business which will allow us to provide accessible yoga to our communities while ensuring that all our members thrive.

In addition, Satya Yoga Cooperative provides a culturally sensitive and relevant alternative to Western yoga that has been romanticized,  commercialized, and very often stripped of any spiritual essence or connection to its culture of origin. 

Our logo is an elephant, which represents the wisdom, strength of our origins. But above all, it is reminiscent of the story of the 6 blind friends and the elephant, which teaches us that Satya, truth requires all of our perspectives.

Satya Yoga, we believe that a yoga that does not hold social justice at its heart is not a complete or true yoga.

In addition to honoring Yoga's traditional Indian roots, our program also offers a unique exploration of multicultural healing and wisdom traditions, weaving together knowledge from all corners of Mother Earth. Though yoga is the Indian word for union of body, mind, and spirit, we believe that all of our cultures knew this essential truth and it is called by many different names.

Satya Yoga Cooperative offers both

  • opportunities to learn yoga from teachers of color who honor the roots of yoga.

  • a nurturing spiritual community where our cultures are respected, our differences are honored, and our historical trauma as well as our present daily traumas are acknowledged and given space to heal... a space where you are seen and heard and your issues are not bypassed or ignored.

From Root to Fruit by Satya Yoga Cooperative. How we apply the wisdom of yoga towards understanding ourselves and understanding how oppression affects us at all the energetic levels of our being.

After practicing yoga in studios for 12+ years, being part of the Satya Immersion and YTT was such a different and powerful experience. I gained so much from being in community with other yogis of color and learning how to recognize and heal experiences of trauma and oppression with yogic practices. Now I’m equipped to share that healing with my community and I have an amazing sangha (community) alongside me.
— Maritza V.
Lakshmi is an outstanding teacher.  She knows her subject well and easily transmits to students her great respect for the roots and wisdom of yoga.  From her perspective, yoga is not only a marvelous tradition of exercise, meditation and holistic healing – it is also a tool for social justice activism and an important resource for well-being in communities of color where people often experience extraordinary stresses. I love her courses and plan to take them again and again!!
— Rachel E. Harding

 We are helping people take their health back into their hands from systemically racist health care systems.

Yoga is a lifelong journey of self study and self improvement.  Side effects include stress reduction, improved health, and inner peace.