The Problem with Empowerment and Inclusion

"The terms 'empowerment' and 'inclusion' are a little tricky—as a yoga teacher or a person who holds space, we have to be careful about the idea that we have something we're going to give to our students that they might be lacking in some way."

—Jivana Heyman

In this short dharma talk, Jivana explores the significance of language choices and how the terms "empowerment" and "inclusion" might be perceived or felt by our students. Both terms can imply that one person has power and another doesn't; they can imply that we as teachers are sharing power with our students. The truth is, as yoga teachers, we're helping our students use the teachings to help uncover something they might not already have access to.

Jivana Heyman, C-IAYT, E-RYT500, is the founder and director of Accessible Yoga, an international non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access to the yoga teachings. He’s the author of the book, Accessible Yoga: Poses and Practices for Every Body (Shambhala Publications 2019), co-owner of the Santa Barbara Yoga Center, and an Integral Yoga Minister. Jivana has specialized in teaching yoga to people with disabilities with an emphasis on community building and social engagement. He lives with his husband and two children in Santa Barbara, California. 



Earn your Accessible Yoga Teacher certification online

Join Jivana and inspiring line-up of guest teachers! Learn how to design yoga classes where all students can practice together regardless of age, size, ability, or experience. This continuing education program will offer you expanded possibilities and flexibility as we explore foundational aspects of equity and accessibility in yoga.

Registration is open; we begin May 10th!

We'll meet Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays
2pm-5pm Pacific (Los Angeles) | 5pm-8pm Eastern (New York)

Be part of the next Accessible Yoga Training Online cohort.

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