Yoga Podcast Ep. 51: The Kinship Initiative

These next episodes will be devoted to one story … Of how a community moves beyond the authoritarian Guru model, and away from the kind of hierarchical structures and rules of silence that have allowed for its members to be hurt, ostracized, and abused.  

It’s a story about learning from one another – and leaning on one another. One that shifts the focus from rules and dogma – to people and relationships; where leadership is shared and all voices, heard. 

Because we are the authors. And this is our story. One that begins today, with Kinship

Ashtanga Dispatch Yoga Podcast Ep. 51: The Kinship Initiative

Erica Morton Magill: It just didn’t feel safe to have honest conversations and that’s a scary thing to say.

Greg Nardi: Like we have this idea that this big rift happened when these revelations about Pattabhi Jois came out, but let’s be honest – this has been developing for years,

Kory Sheffer: Let’s get busy with telling the truth. You know, let’s just get real with this and stop hiding in the shadows and be honest with each other and just get it all out there because I’m just tired of holding my breath.

Pranidhi Varshni: I had a responsibility to be the voice for those of us who have felt like we’re illegitimate and felt like we’ve been disenfranchised.

Spiros Antonopoulos: It’s a tough time for a community of practitioners. And I think it’s actually a fertile time for letting go of what’s not working.

Kory: It was just a relief. It was just a relief to share that experience with so many people and to not feel so alone, and to not feel all that doubt anymore that I had been feeling.

Erica: What’s really important is that we give ourselves permission to begin the conversation and to fumble and bumble through these conversations, but we have to give ourselves permission to start somewhere.

Greg: In my gut, I know that this is one of those situations where nobody has the answer. Nobody should have the answer. You know what I mean? Like something new is being born and we just have to be like present to it, you know, and that to me was what kinship invited us to do. It was really beautiful. 

All the voices you just heard – Erica Morton Magill, Greg Nardi, Pranidhi Varshney, Spiro Antonopoulos, and Kory Scheffer –  participated in a weekend gathering in the California desert last December as part of a Kinship initiative. It’s a change of course from the historically heirarchical, authoritarian model that has defined the Ashtanga Yoga community. Here’s Erica Morton Magill who organized that weekend.

Listen on Spotify

Kinship: A Gathering of Yogis

Erica: You know that what I hope to become is this really rhizomatic or mycelial network of practitioners and teachers that you know – we are united in our love for this practice. It’s not out of anger or fear. It’s out of love for the practice and for each other. And I think that we’re really devoted to this collective authorship of the story moving forward, and non-hierarchical ways of practicing, teaching and also sharing.

Erica’s Opening Talk

Most of us showed up for the weekend, not entirely sure what to expect and Erica was the first person to speak which helped bring some context to our weekend. We’re  now going to listen to Erica’s opening talk:

Erica: We – as yogis, but really as members of the human race, and even more broadly as earthly creatures – are in the uncomfortable, loud, and crunchy middle of what Michel Foucault might call an epistemic break – a radical severing with now outdated, ideological conceptions. Foucault also uses the word rupture which to me is so vivid, like a ripping in the seam of reality, a tear in what’s known, a sudden bursting forth. We can’t go back. 

And we can’t un-know what we now know. About climate change and environmental degradation. About corrupt governments. About virulent hate. About power dynamics and rape culture. 

In September of last year, 2018, Christine Blasey Ford served as the face of a movement, when she testified before a federal committee about the abuse she had suffered at the hands of Brett Kavanaugh. Millions around the country watched with tears in our eyes, a similar story in our hearts. 

The US president smeared and mocked Ford, questioning her testimony by wondering why she didn’t report these incidents when they first happened – in 1982, when she was 15 years old. And despite Ford’s convincing testimony Kavanaugh is now serving a life term as a Supreme Court justice. 

Just under a year prior in November 2017, Karen Rain came forth on social media to share how Pattabhi Jois sexually assaulted her and countless others – in plain sight, over the course of many years. This came as a shock to some. Others kind of knew. Others had known all along, but didn’t know the extent of harm and hurt it caused.

For some the news had no bearing on their daily practice or their commitment to showing up. It deeply moved others. With no overseeing body of Ashtanga Yoga, many (but not all) looked to Sharath who some (but again not all) consider to be Pattabhi Jois’s heir, for some sort of acknowledgement. 

It was more than a year and half between Karen Rain’s first post, and Sharath’s first and only acknowledgement. 

Personally, when I looked up in the direction that I’ve been socialized and trained to respect, there was no one responding in a way that resonated – that felt kind, generous, understanding or sensible. 

The general timbre and tone was one of grief, denial, anger, excuse-making, shaming and blaming. On social media conversation was hateful and mirrored our current cultural practice of calling-out and shaming rather than steering towards healing. 

On Sharath’s tour last spring, I was struck with the authoritarian imagery, and a general desire to carry on in silence. The overarching message was to tow the party line. 

And while Spiro and I are devotional, we’re not dogmatic. So we’ve spent the last months in deep thought, asking – What is lineage? To whom do we give our power to and at what cost? Who gets a seat at the table? What are our biases and privileges? How do we honor where we come from and yet stand up for what we know to be right? How can we encourage diffuse & diverse power, accountability and shared responsibility?

But the conditioning of authority runs deep; the residue of hierarchy is greasy and not easily washed away. 

On the morning we posted the announcement of this gathering online and shared it with our dearest counsel, I was nauseous, and teary. I took my own teacher off the email list and added him back in at least three times. You remember when I said last night that half of you called to say you didn’t think you belonged? I called a dear friend who is here today just moments before pushing send and said, “What if I’m ostracized? What if I’m alone?” It is vulnerable and uncomfortable to step out on a ledge. 

Yet we are not alone. We have each other.

And I know that transformation lives in risk, at the edges of what’s been done and what’s known. I know that this is a time for speaking up, speaking out, and challenging the prevailing attitudes and power imbalances. 

The process of sharing my story and acknowledging wrongdoings been such an important part of becoming who I am.

I too have lived through sexual assault. I was young at the time and years later I was called on by another young girl and her mother for support and faced my abuser in court. My testimony was thrown out, the jury asking, “why didn’t she say anything when it happened?” I too, like so many women coming forth in all arenas in the last two years, including those assaulted by Pattabhi Jois, have been shamed, ridiculed and silenced.

Our stories parallel the one told by Christine Blasey Ford. A reporter present at the Ford-Kavanaugh trials recently wrote: “The problem with power is there’s no speaking truth to it when it holds all the cards.” However, she adds, “there is a teaspoon of power in refusing to normalize that which was simply wrong and which continues to be wrong.” 

So I sit here naming that which was simply wrong and continues to be wrong – the abuses by Pattabhi Jois and the enduring silence and silencing – and to collectively do better. To find a way to refuse to replicate or acquiesce to the structures of power that allowed this behavior in the first place. 

I found yoga at 17, nearly half my life ago, as a way to cope with the anguish I felt. The bones and blood, nadis, bindu and prana of the body slowly healed. I believe that yoga can be a space of healing. And I want to, with you create ethical cultures that maintain physical and emotional safety. 

It is not clear to me that we can move in this direction while we maintain the traditional model of the guru over the needs of the community and the individuals that compose it.

Douglas Brooks is a Hindu scholar, and constructive critic of John Friend, and he says: “Enlightenment is a collective experience…We must delegate the seat of authority, the seat of the teacher, each to their gifts and for the benefit of the community.” 

When you’ve grown up in a house, and you’ve come to love it dearly, you address the creaks and cracks, and work hard not just to patch them up, but to fix the systemic, structural issues that caused them in the first place. I love this practice, and this community. They feel like the truest home I’ve known.

And so I am not willing to turn a blind eye to its woes. As with any rupture – whether it’s a physical break in the pipes of a home or an epistemic cultural crack – there is an opportunity for deep work and repair from the foundation up.


Business as Usual

This was a radical undertaking indeed. I wanted to know more specifically what Erica experienced on Sharath’s tour that brought her to this place. Here’s Erica to describe. 

Erica: You know, it was the usual gathering of Yogis for the tour, but it didn’t feel like business as usual. You know, it felt it felt to me very different. It felt like a very thin crew of people, you know, it felt like a lot of people were not there, and it felt like a lot was being swept under the rug.

That was the week that Magnolia announced that she was not coming back to San Francisco and was leaving Ashtanga Yoga. That caused a bit of a ripple in the Bay Area. You know, she was a major part of the Ashtanga yoga world there.

And so we all came to this practice session and, to me it felt like there were things that needed to be addressed and that nobody wanted to talk about. You know, it felt very much like, OK  let’s just go with the program, you know. Stay with the status quo. 

And there were a couple things that I was not very comfortable with, you know this year. They replaced the large pictures of Pattabhi Jois on the stage, were very large pictures of Sharath. 

And there was a question during conference at one point, you know a student asked, “How do you hold safety in a room?” And Sharath didn’t know how to answer that. And he said, “I don’t know what that means.” 

To me, that felt very concerning because I want to be very careful as we continue this practice which has historically been top-down and hierarchical. We want to be conscientious of not replicating systems that allowed for this abuse.

And so I very much respect Sharath. But I think it would be helpful to have conversations around safety and authoritarianism and power. And I didn’t feel like that was going to happen from the top down.

It felt dark in Ashtanga yoga and it felt like I didn’t know what else to do. I really wanted to be having these conversations and I really wanted to be with my community.

I really wanted to be going forward together and and I didn’t see how else that was going to happen. I sort of thought, you know, if no one else is gonna do it then I guess I have to. And and Spiros, you know was very much behind me and a supporter and a couple close friends as well. 

I actually think I wouldn’t have done it if they hadn’t said I think you have to do it.  Just go forward and so really Spiros and I just said let’s try you know, I don’t know what it’s going to look like, you know, by the time we really started planning more thoroughly and realistically Sharath had made his acknowledgment on Instagram and there had been the New Yorker article that came out.

And so there had been a few other things that happen that sort of shifted the way we were viewing it. So when I really had the impetus, it was just a desire to talk. Because nobody was saying anything

The Fear of Being Ostracized

Still, it took a lot of courage. Because like I said earlier, what Erica was proposing flew in the face of the usual top-down model followed in Ashtanga Yoga. Erica and I talked more about what she was most afraid of:

Erica: I was absolutely terrified. Yeah, it was really hard to put that out into the world. It was very vulnerable and it felt very raw. And you know, there were many days where I thought, we shouldn’t be doing this. You know, this is too big.  I don’t know what we’re doing

And there was just something the whole time that was like this – you have to keep going. This is what has to happen. Even though, I swear to you it was there were so many days. I was like, I’m just gonna pack up. This was a good idea, but it’s too big. I don’t know. I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how. And it was just really remembering that, it’s ok not to know how but it has to be done.

Just before I pushed send on the email that went out to close friends and teachers and things like that letting them know that we posted this, I was like –  I can’t even tell you how terrified I was. And I called a friend and I said, I don’t think I can do this. You know, I don’t think I’m ready. I don’t know what this is. 

All of these questions, all this doubting, all of this just not knowing. And she asked me that question.

She asked, what are you most afraid of?  And I burst into tears and said, That I’ll be ostracized. That I’ll be alone

I think one of the biggest fears that we have is of being kicked out of this human family of ours, you know. And then, within that human family, we have these other families, these smaller families. And Ashtanga Yoga is my family. And I think I was very afraid that I was going too far out on a limb.

And she said, You’ve got me. You’ve got Spiros. How many other people have said that they’re interested in this?  You know, I’d been in conversations on the phone. I said, Maybe five. She said, You’ve got a you got a soccer team you’re good. You know, what more do you need? And she said, Just send it, you know. You can you can work out the details later. 

We’d been working so hard on the event page itself, Just to answer people’s questions that they might have. And address the fact that this was both about #metoo and not about #metoo, right?  It was about so much more than that. And we just really had a lot of things that had to be ironed out. And it took a lot of a lot of jigging to get there and to really be comfortable sending it out into the world and off to our teachers.

That was terrifying for me to send it to my teacher and in some ways it felt like defying him, you know, even though I don’t think he saw it or sees it that way. But it felt like going above my level right it sort of like –  I’m doing something that I shouldn’t be doing. Because I’m just not listening from the top down. I’m sort of jumping ahead of myself and I’m doing something that hasn’t been granted to me. It hasn’t been authorized, right? It hasn’t been approved and it hasn’t been granted.

I’m doing this. I don’t even know why – because I have to right? 

And so that was really scary sending it to my teacher. I was so nauseous. And I took him off. I actually took him off the list the email list and I said, OK we can send it now, I took him off. And Spiros said,

What is the point of this if you’re not going to send it to your teacher?

And you know, I burst into tears and I said, “But you know, what if I’m not loved?” And that’s such a silly thing because of course, we’re loved not by our actions, but by our hearts. And my heart was really in the right place. My heart really just wanted community and healing and friendship and coming together.

But it was very scary to say these things out of order. Out of line.

A Defining Moment

I would say that this Kinship initiative was going to be the biggest, hardest, and most important thing Erica has ever been called  to do – but that’s wouldn’t be true. Because she’s done it before. Seven years after she was sexually assaulted by a family friend, she had a similar call:

Erica: I remember sitting at home in my apartment on Telegraph and Channing when the NCIS that Navy criminal investigation service came knocking on my door and a federal agent. She said a young girl had brought charges against this man and someone he had bragged to all those years ago about about me that I might be able to help.

 I remember feeling shame and panic and like I was in trouble, you know, like I had done something wrong and and I remember thinking at the time I did Officer came into my living room. I can remember sitting with her and getting her water and we sat there and she told me about this case that was being Broad and I listened and I pretty much said I don’t think I can help you.

And then I was like well, fuck – yes, I am. I have to. I have to speak

And I remember feeling thankful that I could finally share my story and that I could sit there with this other girl and possibly prevent other girls from having to go through what we went through.  I remember, you know, staying for the staying for the verdict and this girl and I walked into court holding hands together and ultimately my testimony wasn’t enough. And he walked free.

But I remember being there with this other girl. And we had each other, we had our families, and we had our truths.

Peg: I had to be a defining moment. 

Erica: It really was. Of course this is an odd way to say it but you know, it’s shaped who I am. And I love who I am. I’m so thankful for who I am and for all that brought me to this moment in time.

It’s shaped who I am. And I love who I am. I’m so thankful for who I am, and for all that brought me to this moment in time.

That’s been so helpful, the process of sharing my story and acknowledging wrongdoings been such a important part of becoming who I am – and healing.

A Safe Space

A lot of care was taken to make sure every one felt safe to participate, like having outside facilitators from Olive Branch there to help hold the space. Because these conversations are hard, sometimes awkward, and make us feel incredibly vulnerable. And why they are also done best, face-to-face. Here’s Erica again:

Erica: When you’re in the room with somebody you don’t hate them you’re not angry, but you can have a conversation and you can say this is what happened. And this is how I feel. This is what my experience was. This is what was wrong. This is what is wrong.

And I think most of the time there isn’t the space for   somebody called the KPJAYI teachers safe space Facebook page –  like this safe space. It’s more like a firing squad! You know, it didn’t feel safe, you know? And so I had been very quiet on social media because I think that on social media

And just on the web in general because to me that didn’t feel like the space to use my voice. It felt like my voice was best used in real time, in community, with the people who actually made the effort to show up. It was an effort to get there, you know? And it was an open invitation to anyone. And we were looking forward to welcoming whoever showed. We knew that they were going to be different opinions and different experiences and different ideas. And we were really welcoming to that, welcoming to whoever came.

We have to be a big enough to contain all of that all of the paradox. And so that means inviting in a wide range of people whose experience might be different.

There was this podcast that I was listening to with a woman named Eula Biss and she’s a white woman talking about dismantling white supremacy and racism and she says, you know, we have to give each other a permission to just start somewhere. We’re going to say the wrong things were going to fumble and bumble through these conversations, but we have to give ourselves permission to start somewhere.

And I think about that with these conversations because I think a lot of us have been afraid to say the wrong thing, you know to say ‘victim’ when we should have said ‘survivor’ or vice versa. Or you know for a time – I think many people have moved away from this – but for a time it was ‘inappropriate adjustments’ instead of ‘sexual assault’ and ‘sexual abuse’.

I think so many of us have been afraid to say the wrong things and to be called out and shamed that we haven’t said anything at all.

And so I think that what’s really important is that we give ourselves permission to begin the conversation and to fumble and bumble and to begin and to apologize when we need to and to ask more questions when we need to but to begin to begin that walk.

It’s a tough time for a community of practitioners. And I think it’s actually a fertile time for letting go of what’s not working.

Social Courage

Erica: The social courage that I see rising up within the community. People willing to come together in kinship and in mutuality to really grapple with the discomfort. And to be with each other, vulnerably.

Social courage is when we deliberately behave in a way we believe noble and worthy despite any repercussions we may suffer.  And in the past few years, much research has been done to study predictors of such behavior. In 2017 a study published online in the Journal of Positive Psychology reviewed the research and found power distance  to be significant influencers. 

So in groups where rank and position in the hierarchy have special privileges and where members are discouraged from questioning – individuals are more likely to protect their own standing in the group or remain silent.

Let’s listen to Kory Sheffer and Pranidhi Varshney discuss: 

Kory:  I just never found it satisfying or appropriate that when I actually was confident and felt brave enough to ask questions, that I was given answers like well, ‘that’s just how it is’ or ‘that’s how they do it in Mysore’ or whatever. These just very dismissive answers that have been just sort of circulating within the community. It’s never sat right with me.

And that made me doubt myself and it made me feel like a fraud. Certainly as a student – but then when I started teaching, I was like, Oh my God, should I be doing this? Because here I am, this person that maybe doesn’t believe wholeheartedly all of these aspects of the practice. Am I doing the right thing? For a long time like constantly second-guessing the way that I was practicing or the way that I was teaching. Or even second-guessing myself for having questions and having doubt.

It was just a relief to share that experience with so many people. And to not feel so alone and to not feel all that doubt anymore that I had been feeling.

“I Don’t Belong”

Pranidhi: Over the years I’ve I felt ostracized from the mainstream conventional Ashtanga community. And so I was ambivalent about walking into a group of perhaps authorized or you know, formally authorized – some people have given up their authorization – you know teachers who, in the past, maybe not they themselves but perhaps their friends or people they associate with or that general demographic – hasn’t been so welcoming to me. And so I was very conscious of the fact that I might be like, you know walking into a room where I may not feel totally welcome.

But then ultimately what it came down to was I felt really called to be there. I felt like I have the opportunity right now to attend and so I almost felt like I had a responsibility to be there. 

I had a responsibility to be the voice for those of us who have felt like we’re illegitimate and been disenfranchised

Like I had a responsibility to be the voice for those of us who have felt illegitimate and felt like we’ve been disenfranchised. And because I knew Erica I felt like – Okay, there’s going to be love there. I may have all these mixed feelings but I know that those spaces going to be held with love.

In fact, both Erica told me many of the people who responded to her invite said this:

Erica: “I don’t think I belong.” It just was such an eye-opener to us. It’s like we knew this right? This is why we were doing it because everybody felt ostracized. Everybody’s felt alone. Everybody felt like they couldn’t speak out and talk about these things – but that’s who we want in our circle.

Space for Listening

So lot of care was taken to make sure every one felt safe to participate, like having outside facilitators from Olive Branch there to help hold the space. Again, here’s Erica:

Erica: I think that those of us who practice Ashtanga yoga and have been grappling with the sexual abuses, and power abuses, and infighting, and articles, and finger pointing that’s been going on over the last couple of years. I think we’re still –  I think I’m moving towards more regulation. But I think a lot of people have been quite dis-regulated from that, you know?

And it’s hard then to show up in a circle and move and speak from your best highest, most regulated competent self. When you’re in that space of anxiety and grief, you’re not functioning at your best. 

Peg: You’re too close.

Erica: You’re too close.

One of the challenges of having these conversations is actually giving others the space to speak while we listen. Which Kory Sheffer got to do a lot of as she’d shown up with laryngitis. Listen as she describes one of the most powerful moments for her that weekend – and it didn’t require her to say a word:

Kory: There was one moment – which I had to sit out because of my voice – but the part where everybody partnered up and did active listening. One person was speaking and one person was doing active listening. And I was in tears watching the people listening. There was so much empathy and compassion and love and genuine listening going on in that room, that it was just mind-blowing. You could tell there was so much care and so much connection. I mean they didn’t even have to say it, but they were saying ‘I understand’ and in ‘you’re not alone, I feel the exact same way’ and like ‘I’ve got you’. It was the most incredible 15 minutes of the weekend, just getting to watch that. And it really did sort of just sum up the whole weekend. 

The Kinship of a Community

I asked Spiros Antonopolous and Greg Nardi if anything from the weekend surprised them. Spiro answers first:

Spiros: Well, I didn’t expect to break into tears at all during the whole thing. And I broke into tears just because all the people came. Because it’s people we care about. It’s a community that we actually care about that cares and that, you know, we can get lost on our yoga mat in our own little school, or own little home in the woods, or in a big city when we’re just practicing alone or with a small group of people, but to have people gathering and have people coming from sometimes quite long distances like yourself, and to have that sort of open heartfelt feeling and discussion at the root of all of what else was discussed that somehow there was a sweetness to the whole thing. That was the best.

Greg: I had been struggling with this feeling of lost community. And I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do that again – gather in community, as an Ashtangi, in a way that spoke to me the way that it did when I have gone to Mysore in the past. And I was just not in the teacher role at all, and just with other practitioners, and being a student. And this totally gave me a new view on like what’s possible, you know? Not an abstract view or something I’m planning or creating or dreaming about, but like an actual experience that I can be around other people and not have to play a role. And it felt amazingly liberating and healing.

Here’s the truth: We need each other. 

Remember that study I mentioned earlier about what discourages social courage? Well that same study found that there was an element that could serve as a buffer to the fears of exclusion and repercussions for speaking up – and that’s high levels of social support. 

Because no one – no one likes to be alone. And why Kory Scheffer jumped at Erica’s invitation to Kinship:

Kory: It was just like – I guess because I had been waiting for it – and it was like Yes! That’s all I could say was Yes, of course I’m going to go. Because here was this opportunity to gather with other people who were in that same boat. And of course being put on by Erica and Spiros, I knew the conversation was going to be powerful. I knew that the group was going to be honest and also was going to, I think, be like really embracing and really welcoming – which I found that everybody was.

And I didn’t go thinking that I was going to come out like feeling better or having questions answered. I guess I was really just like – yeah, let’s sit in a circle and just be honest and let’s just get this stuff up and out in the open. And I think that’s what happened. I mean at least through my experience.

Greg Nardi agreed:

Like something new is being born and we just have to be like present to it. And that to me was what Kinship invited us to do it was really beautiful.  

Greg: There was no agenda. There was no expectation. We were just going to meet in person without anybody being expert. Without anybody being a charismatic teacher at the front of the room. And we were just gonna figure it out together. There was no intention to come to any conclusions by the end of the weekend either. You know, it’s just that we were going to sit down as a community and talk. And that oftentimes can get lost online right? Like everybody gets so polarized, you know?

Everybody gets really entrenched in their positions. And this was a platform for the muddled middle to have a voice.

This was just that wonderful opportunity to like just come with your ‘not knowing’ and and sit in that discomfort together. And we don’t really ever get that. Especially with this idea of like, you know, ‘being experts’ or ‘being teachers’ or ‘being authorized’ – like there’s this expectation that you have the answer. And in my gut I know that this is one of those situations where nobody has the answer. Nobody should have the answer. You know what I mean?

Like something new is being born and we just have to be like present to it, you know? And that to me was what kinship invited us to do it was really beautiful.  

Join Kinship

And now I’d like to extend this kinship invitation to you. You can sign up at www.layoga.com/kinship and Erica will make sure you’re in the loop.  Here’s Erica again to share what’s coming up next in this new frontier:

Erica: A Practitioners Symposium – that’s not an official title. Just a coming together of practitioners and teachers for a couple weeks where we can be in practice together – a little bit like we talked about earlier, where there’s no set definition of what practice means to you. You can be with fellow practitioners, be with fellow teachers, and we’ll have a little bit of structure in the afternoons. I’m planning that in concert with Greg Nardi.

And we are developing a website with the content – a little bit TBD.  But we’re hoping to really have a space for people to come to find resources to connect with other practitioners and teachers. 

I have this vision of a guild where we’re all sort of a part of this of this network and and we can tap into that. And it’s both virtual and it’s in person.

Again, we don’t want to create another top-down structure but a place where people can go and find tools a place, where people can go and find a connection, a place where people can go and find the things that they’re really curious about.

So one of those things might be offering grievance procedures that other other studios are other shalas have implemented. We talked about having a list of teachers that you can call on, you know –  having a chat room and we can have discussions about some of these bigger issues that we’re talking about. 

So again, it’s still a little bit in process, but I’m really envisioning this space where practitioners and teachers can come together and meet each other both in person and online

What I keep coming back to and that keeps fueling me as I’m moving onward from kinship is the quote that I shared in my opening talk that a quote: “There is no speaking truth to power when power holds all the cards, but there is a teaspoon of power in refusing to that which was wrong and which continues to be wrong.”

And so in all of the decisions and all of the friendships and all of the movements that I’m making as I practice, as I teach, as I continue forming the guild and planning future gatherings and talking to you and talking to other curious practitioners and teachers – I get to carry a teaspoon of power with me wherever I go.


If you want to be part of Kinship, please sign up at LAyoga.club/kinship

Also, if you live in the Ft. Lauderdale area, come to the Winter gathering February 15th, hosted by Greg Nardi and his Amayu cohorts. You can get more info at ashtangayogaworldwide.com

And I’ll also be doing some traveling this spring – I’ll be in Los Gatos in March, followed by Dorset, Glasgow, and Amsterdam in April. Then back home in Bozeman where Meghan and I will host a 5 day retreat in June and David Keil and I will hold our annual Mountain Yoga Retreat in August. 

And just one more thing before you go – I want to say thank you for supporting me personally as I find my way with this podcast. Many of you have written me personal notes and donated money towards equipment and such – and it just really means so much to me.

Very special thanks to Marc Pilley whose music you’ve been listening to. The song, Be with Me is from his latest album, Acorns,  which you can download at arksong.net

The Ashtanga Dispatch Yoga Podcast is written, edited, produced, and hosted today by me, Peg Mulqueen. We appreciate your support and donations. Thanks for listening.


Erica Morton Magill has trained as a social scientist in Medical Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley; and spent over a decade at the intersection of yoga and social justice teaching yoga, mindfulness, meditation, writing and art to incarcerated and at-risk teenage girls in the San Francisco Bay Area. Erica has written a guidebook on teaching trauma-informed yoga; and in collaboration with neuroscientists, artists, teachers and activists has crafted an extensive curriculum on teaching yoga in prisons and schools. Learn more about Erica at www.layoga.club


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