68 episodes

Welcome to the Accessible Yoga Podcast, where we explore how to make space for everyone in the yoga community. This podcast is brought to you by the Accessible Yoga Association, a nonprofit organization focused on accessibility and equity in yoga. Hosted by Anjali Rao and Jivana Heyman.

Accessible Yoga Podcast Anjali Rao & Jivana Heyman

    • Education
    • 4.8 • 41 Ratings

Welcome to the Accessible Yoga Podcast, where we explore how to make space for everyone in the yoga community. This podcast is brought to you by the Accessible Yoga Association, a nonprofit organization focused on accessibility and equity in yoga. Hosted by Anjali Rao and Jivana Heyman.

    068. Radical Honesty with Saira Rao

    068. Radical Honesty with Saira Rao

    Saira (NOT Sara) Rao grew up in Richmond, Virginia, the daughter of Indian immigrants. For forty years, she wasted her precious time aspiring to be white and accepted by dominant white society, a futile task for anyone not born with white skin. Several years ago, Saira began the painful process of dismantling her own internalized oppression. Saira is a lawyer-by-training, a former congressional candidate, a published novelist and an entrepreneur. Saira is the co-founder of Race2Dinner, the New York Bestselling Co-Author of White Women: Everything You Already Know About Your Own Racism and How To Do Better and the subject and Executive Producer of the documentary Deconstructing Karen.

    In this episode, Anjali and Saira discuss:

    The role of radical honesty in challenging white supremacy
    How performative activism upholds the status quo
    How yoga practitioners can actively disrupt racism in yoga spaces
    The impact of speaking truth to power

    Connect with Saira on Twitter or on Instagram @race2dinner @sairasameerarao 

    Purchase Saira's book: White Women Everything You Already Know About Your Own Racism and How to Do Better

    Watch Saira's documentary: Deconstructing Karen

    • 17 min
    067. Practice Isn’t Meant to “Fix”, It’s Meant to Heal

    067. Practice Isn’t Meant to “Fix”, It’s Meant to Heal

    Teo Drake is an organizer, a teacher, and an artisan who works in wood and steel.

    As a queer and trans long-term HIV/AIDS survivor, the practices and philosophies of yoga and Buddhism have been both life-saving and provided the foundation for his organizing and teaching.

    He is a co-founder of the Transforming Hearts Collective, a collective dedicated to the spiritual care and liberation of queer and trans people, and has served in leadership in several different organizations in the worlds of HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ advocacy, faith and spirituality, well-being, and anti-oppression, including being a founding member of the Transgender Law Center’s project Positively Trans and serving on the faculty and board of Off the Mat, Into the World.

    His writing can be found in the anthology Yoga and Body Image and at the blog Roots Grow the Tree, and his artisan crafts can be found at The Tinkering Gnome

    Connect with Teo: www.transformingheartscollective.org | @TeoDrake

    This week's episode is a recording of Teo Drake's keynote at the Accessible Yoga Conference Online: Practice Isn’t Meant to “Fix”, It’s Meant to Heal. 

    • 1 hr 2 min
    066. The Audacity of Hope for Yoga

    066. The Audacity of Hope for Yoga

    Tejal Patel is a first-generation Indian American yoga teacher, writer, podcaster, and community organizer.

    She advocates for yoga through a social justice lens and educates and empowers individuals and groups around the world to do the same.

    She accomplishes this with the Tejal Yoga online studio, the abcdyogi global community, and the Yoga is Dead Podcast.

    In this live episode, Jivana and Tejal discuss:

    The Yoga is Dead podcast
    How to go from having a concern or awareness and turning it into action
    The importance of service in yoga
    Taking yoga off your mat
    Yoga and politics
    Tejal's opening Accessible Yoga Conference keynote - "The Audacity of Hope for Yoga"

    Connect with Tejal: @tejalyoga

    Enjoy one free class at Tejal Yoga, now through Dec 31, 2022 Use code: 100PP-AYCTY at tejalyoga.com

    Tejal Yoga offers accessible movement and continuing education in a warm online environment. Our knowledgeable South Asian instructors are committed to the authentic and spiritual practice of yoga. Join us for any of these community-focused practices: Meditation: All Beings, Meditation: BIPOC Centered Pranayama & Breath Control Pranayama & Breath Slow Poses & Philosophy, Meditation: On Philosophy, Meditation & Sun Salutations, Restorative Poses & Poetry Readings, Science & Spirituality Satsang, Go Beyond The Asanas

    Learn more at tejalyoga.com


    • 47 min
    065. Yoga & Cancer with Anusha Wijeyakumar

    065. Yoga & Cancer with Anusha Wijeyakumar

    Anusha is the Wellness Consultant for Hoag Hospital, one of the top rated hospitals in the USA where she leads on integrative medicine and implementing mindfulness and meditation practices for maternal mental health programs, early risk assessment for breast & ovarian cancer prevention programs and breast cancer survivorship programs. Anusha is very passionate about her work in STEM and is one of the first people to create a meditation program to be used in clinical research at Hoag Hospital. Anusha is a sought after motivational speaker around the world on the science of mindfulness and meditation and the intersection of wellness and social justice. She has delivered keynotes for health and wellness conferences, Universities, Fortune 500 companies and corporate events across North America and the UK.

    Anusha has over 15 years of international senior management experience working for Fortune 50, 100 and 500 global corporations, social justice non-profit organizations & private companies in three continents. She holds a BA, MA, Diploma in Mentoring, Certified Professional Life Coach qualification, Yoga Teacher E-RYT and is a Meditation Practitioner. Anusha is an Adjunct Professor at San Diego State University on the intersection of wellness and social justice, a Contributing Editor at Yoga Journal, the world’s largest Yoga magazine, a Faculty Member with Off The Mat and a community partner with the Yoga and Body Image Coalition. Anusha is also a Teacher and Presenter at Kripalu, North America’s largest Yoga Center and Retreat, Ambassador with Yoga International and an Ambassador with the Food + Wellness Equity Collective.

    Women’s health and social justice is at the heart of all that Anusha is involved with. Anusha is on the Medical Advisory Board of the national non profit Living Beyond Breast Cancer and an Advisory Board Member with Yoga Ed, an organization focused on merging science and Yoga and introducing these practices to children and teens in educational settings around the world.

    Anusha co-founded the movement Women of Color + Wellness @wocandwellness which is focused on decolonizing wellness and making yoga and wellness more equitable, accessible, and inclusive. Anusha’s first book Meditation with Intention: Quick & Easy Ways to Create Lasting Peace was released in January 2021 by Llewellyn Worldwide.

    You can order your copy today HERE.

    In this episode, Anjali and Anusha discuss:

    Insight into Anusha’s path as a consultant for hospitals and institutes integrating research regarding meditation for cancer care and survivorship
    Dimensions and role of collective care for those going through diagnosis and treatment
    The importance of disrupting misinformation 
    Dominant culture, politics, and health care at the intersections
    How we can support loved ones, colleagues, and friends going through cancer treatment?

    • 40 min
    064. The Accessible Yoga Podcast LIVE!

    064. The Accessible Yoga Podcast LIVE!

    The Accessible Yoga Podcast is back for Season 3 with a live podcast recording as a part of the grand opening of the new Accessible Yoga Community!

    In this special episode, Jivana and Anjali discuss:

    The new Accessible Yoga Community
    How Anjali started practicing asana
    How yoga intersects with social justice
    The relationship between yoga and politics
    Binaries in yoga spaces
    What to expect during the upcoming season of the Accessible Yoga Podcast

    • 29 min
    063. Community & Innovation in Yoga - Podcast Season 2 Recap & What’s Next

    063. Community & Innovation in Yoga - Podcast Season 2 Recap & What’s Next

    In this Season 2 finale, Amber and Jivana discuss:

    Their lives and current challenges
    How our activism and practice is showing up for us in this moment
    Amber’s bike reels on instagram
    Themes from Season 2:
    Community Care/Sharing Power/Community Collaboration

    Shift from top down teaching to community led
    Jivana’s remixes on instagram
    The current contemporary yoga world is complex, shifting to local
    Not getting caught up in a binary of “advanced” vs gentle
    How Accessible Yoga is often misused to make us fit in rather than to celebrate our differences and individuality
    Encouraging students to find individuality in community
    Marginalized folks are some of our greatest innovators
    Your difference is your superpower

    Safety and inclusion in yoga
    Be sure to visit past episodes with our amazing guests like: Matthew Sanford, Nischala Devi, Michelle Cassandra Johnson, Octavia Raheem, Jacoby Ballard, Marlysa Sullivan, Reggie Hubbard

    What Accessible Yoga Association is up to:

    New online Accessible Yoga Community, ambassadors get first access (join here)
    Accessible Yoga Community Studio - online studio where people can study with teacher leaders from the AY community, dedicated AY content
    Conference coming up, Moving from Me to We, October 14-16
    Pre-conference intensive on Increasing Accessibility - Matthew Sanford, Natalie Tabilo, Ryan McGraw, Donna Noble, and Jivana
    Upcoming monthly themes: August: Yoga & Environmental Justice, September: Yoga & Cancer
    Amber’s term as President of AYA’s board of directors is up, Anjali Rao stepping up as our new president

    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
41 Ratings

41 Ratings

breathingstillness ,

Golden Words

I decided to listen to this on a whim and have to admit that the golden words of accessibility and inclusion have been so refreshing to hear. Many things spoke were what I feel and believe but rarely hear in the yoga community. Thanks!!!

&167 ,

Thank you

Thank you so much for the pod addressing transphobia. Maybe I should preface this by saying I present as a straight, cis-gendered white woman, but a more accurate description would be pansexual, gender fluid, feminist, neurodiverse white person who has always found the societal construct of gender arbitrary, confusing, and frustrating.
I was caught completely off guard by the transphobic podcast you mention. The evening before, I'd watched the doc "Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She" and was in the middle of an ongoing respectful and curious exchange with friends on the topic of sex and gender. So when I saw the title of the pod while looking for something to listen to, I excitedly pressed play expecting to hear an intelligent, thoughtful conversation. That is NOT what I got. It took several hours of pausing and breathing and then coming back to listen until I was so dis-regulated I needed yet another break to actually get through the entire podcast. 
I'm so grateful for your response. I feel like it's a super helpful resource for anyone who felt shaken up by this instance of transphobia masquerading as feminism and open dialogue. Thank you a million times over!

Gooseby ,

Time for a Re-Interpretation

I’ve learned something from every episode of this podcast, but I absolutely LOVED this episode with Justin Michael Williams, who I wasn’t familiar with until this podcast. It spoke to me and hit me in ways that really touched me and left me introspective and curious and hopeful all at the same time. His guided meditation at the end had me in tears - but in a good and beautiful way! Much gratitude & appreciation for this and for all the Accessible Yoga community does to broaden the scope of the yoga practice.

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