If you’ve been with me for a while, you know there’s more to yoga than stretching and breathing. Yoga is a physical and spiritual practice that’s been around for about 5,000 years.

We know a great deal about how yoga made its way to modern times. But I often wonder: how will we, the stewards of yoga in modern times, transmit this practice to future generations?

The historically dominant cultures of the world are waking up to the damaging truths of cultural appropriation and white supremacy. I often wonder how I’m complicit in it. I talk about these questions with other yogis or read books on the subject, but it often feels like a solo experience. I find myself craving interaction – respectful and nuanced – to explore these topics with other yogis.

I teach yoga because I love it and want to share this practice that’s given me millions of opportunities to embody inner calm and strength. The very last thing I want to do is cause harm through culturally appropriating this practice. But as I’m learning: just because I intend not to harm doesn’t mean that I’m not hurting anyone.

I often wonder: as a white female yoga teacher, what is my role in teaching an ancient-and-now-modernized cultural practice? As Susanna Barkataki asks: how can we honor, not appropriate yoga? 

I learned about this Ashtanga Yoga 2021 & Beyond conference on Instagram and I signed up right away. Unlike global yoga conferences before it that have featured the perspectives of white Western yoga teachers, this one aims to address cultural inclusivity with its speaking panel and topics.

If you want to learn more with me and others, I invite you to join me in attending this virtual workshop which will address how the Ashtanga yoga lineage can move forward from a space of equity and inclusion. Sign up at the link above.

I welcome your perspectives on this very important topic. My hope is that with careful conversations, we, the stewards of yoga, can honor Ashtanga yoga’s roots and create a more inclusive yoga culture for all who wish to participate.



Rachel Drummond is a student and teacher of Ashtanga Yoga, handstand enthusiast, and writer. She enjoys practicing and teaching yoga all over the world and writing about how to bring yoga to life off the mat through contemplative physical practices.

Don't leave empty-handed!

Don't leave empty-handed!


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