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Cultural Awareness for Yoga Teachers by Eve White

Dec 12, 2020

Cultural Awareness for Yoga Teachers

5 Ways for Yoga Teachers to be Respectful to Aboriginal Culture by Eve White (Wiradjuri woman)

I am proud of my Aboriginal heritage I am a Wiradjuri woman from country NSW a little town called Parkes. Our Aboriginality was not embraced in the past, which is why I’m so passionate about keeping this beautiful culture alive and this is why I have created a Cultural Awareness course for yoga teachers.

As a yoga teacher for the last 8 years whilst discovering more about my Aboriginal heritage, I was finding so many synchronicities in these ancient cultures. Every-time we open a yoga class we are holding ceremony connecting with breath and mother earth, to connect with the long lineage of culture and ceremony beneath our feet makes each class more meaningful and potent.

From a modern-day perspective we look at the world as if it is simplistic but through a complex lens, from an Aboriginal perspective we look at the world as if it is complex but through a simplistic lens.

"The basic protocols of Aboriginal society, like most societies, include respecting and hearing all points of view in a yarn. Narcissists demand this right, then refuse to allow other points of view on the grounds that any other opinion somehow infringes their freedom of speech or is offensive. They destroy the basic social contracts of reciprocity (which allow people to build a reputation of generosity based on sharing to ensure ongoing connectedness and support), shattering these frameworks of harmony with a few words of nasty gossip. They apply double standards and break down systems of give and take until every member of a social group becomes isolated, lost in a Darwinian struggle for power and dwindling resources that destroys everything. Then they move on to another place, another group. Feel free to extrapolate this pattern globally and historically." excerpt from 'Sandtalk' by Tyson Yunkaporta

Let’s look at ways that yoga teachers can be more respectful when teaching On Country.

  1. Acknowledge Country before the meeting, event or class. Alternatively you could hire an elder to do a ‘Welcome to Country’ at a big event. This is something that has been done for thousands of years when arriving in someone else's Country.
  2. Tread lightly upon the earth leaving no trace. For thousands of years we made all of our possessions from nature.
  3. Where possible buy from Aboriginal businesses. Supply nation has a listing of Aboriginal owned and run businesses.
  4. Do not take a shell rock or stone with you, unless Spirit or an Elder gives you permission. Thousands of rocks taken from Uluru have been sent back as it brings bad luck. The rainbow serpent story teaches us that animals that misbehaved in the beginning of time were turned into rock or stone.
  5. Learn about the Aboriginal Country you were born on, live on and work on. This can really enrich your life in a profound way. A lot of the roads are made from Aboriginal walking tracks and some of these are Songlines. Each area has a Totem / Spirit / Dreaming connected to the area. You might even include some of this sharing in your yoga classes.

Want to learn more?  Join Eve online for a FREE webinar on Saturday 16th January 2021



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