A call to action

Hi all! I know it’s been a while. Just wanted to share a few of my thoughts our our upcoming US election.

America is in trouble. When Trump was elected on a November evening in 2016, I went for a walk around the block when it was evident that he would win. My neighbor was screaming at her TV about the horrors of what Trump can potentially do to this country.

Four years on, her screams were valid. As I am writing we have 180,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19, a jobless rate mirroring that of the Great Depression, and widespread racial tensions and hatred.

On a personal level, I have not been able to teach a live yoga class since March, and because of the widespread virus in Hawai’i, cannot engage in normal activities like hiking, going to dinner at a restaurant, or taking my dogs to the park.

Usually, a US president does not affect its citizens on a daily personal level. In the past, we would get annoyed at a proposed policy or position on an issue and an email to your congressperson would be the most politically active you would get.

Now you don’t have to only worry about catching a virus, you have to worry about being shot by either police or vigilantes with guns, especially if you are a person of color. Unless you are in the top tier economically, your taxes have increased substantially. Forget public yoga classes until there is a vaccine, and Facebook is ensuring that groups who oppose vaccinations are spreading disinformation with more efficacy than the experts. I have seen family members say they will refuse to get vaccinated because Bill Gates will insert a satanic microchip in you. This is seen as fact in many facebook circles.

We still have hope. Here is a list of things you can do:

  1. Register to vote. The GOP has made it harder to vote by kneecaping the US Postal Service and destroying sorting equipment. If you have the option to vote in an official election drop box, do so. In Hawai’i we are able to track if your ballot has been counted. Here is a website to see if you are registered.
  2. Mail your completed ballot within 24 hours of receiving it. Nothing is worse than seeing your unfilled ballot the day after the election and seeing the candidate you opposed give a victory speech.
  3. Get your family and friends to vote, especially if they just came of age in this election cycle. Vote as a family at the dinner table. Discuss the candidates and the issues. Voting as a 3-5 person block is much more powerful.
  4. Follow candidates on social media. They will give updates of challenges they are having. Even retweeting or liking will expand visibility of your candidate.
  5. Recognize bias and propaganda. Russia was successful in manipulating millions of Americans and sowing discord in 2016, and will be using the same tactics in this election. Just recently, Fox news hosts praised a 17 year old for murdering protestors.
  6. Learn to take a break when needed. If you need log off for a few days because the election is causing anxiety, it is healthy.

Those are just a few off the top of my head, please add more in the comments. I don’t expect that all of my followers will agree, and normally I have stayed away from politics. However, as a student of history I’ve always wondered how someone like Hilter could come into power and sow such destruction in such a short period of time. It was because people were silently complicit. VOTE!

14 thoughts on “A call to action

  1. sdeden

    Thank you for posting this. I’ve missed your wisdom and insights. As I live in Boston and we are preparing for a possible 2nd wave, I’ve been trying to figure out a long-term strategy to stay sane and safe this winter. But no matter where you live, we all need to figure out how we will get through the next 8-10 months until there is a vaccine. I am looking up hikes that are an hour away that may have fewer people, and will try ti hike them even in the winter. Spending time in wild nature (rather than a park with people) for me will be key. Nature is very healing. I also wanted to tell you that I’ve been using some of the pose sequences you published previously to do yoga at home. Would you consider posting more of those? I’d be happy to contribute a class fee somehow. Sometimes after being on Zoom all week at work, the last thing I need is yoga on Zoom. Having an experienced teacher’s sequence is calming and comforting for me. I did vote early and tracked my vote as did my son. We’ll do it again in November. And finally, you mentioned Hitler. My father was a teen in Holland during WWII and we have been talking a lot about that time recently–he is 91 now. When I have darker moments, I think at least we know there is an end in sight for COVID, even if it’s longer than we’d like. And we have the power to remove Trump. During WWII (or any war), they did not know when it would end. Thanks again for posting, and I’m sending you peace and breath from Boston.

    Liked by 2 people

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      1. ngyoga

        Yeh all leaders are getting accused of the same thing . What I am saying is this has nothing to do with yoga but rather it’s your political stand. We cannot bring our political views into yoga. Sorry

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      2. YB Post author

        When Guruji came to the US for the first time, he was made to sit in the back the bus and use the “colored” bathroom. He initially declined another invitation to come back in the 70s because he didn’t agree with the US’s “aparthied laws” until he was assured about the civil rights movement. His refusal to teach her was political. In short, I disagree. In these times we need to fight fascism on every front.

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      3. ngyoga

        So what! He made a personal decision and rightfully so. But he did not use his yoga teachings as a platform for a political voice. Sorry I disagree with the use of yoga as political platform

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  2. Amber Foxx

    It takes courage to speak about politics. Thank you. In New Mexico, we have a good vote-by-mail system and the ability to track our ballots, and we are one of the four states told by the Postal Service that we could be confident in our election mail being handled on time. I’ve only taught private outdoor yoga, and I miss my classes, miss my whole active social life, but I’m not objecting to the public health orders that prohibit group exercise classes. I know our governor’s policies have saved lives and kept NM in better shape during the pandemic than some of our neighboring states. I wish we’d had a national strategy as sound and well-prepared as our state’s. I think of political engagement from a foundation of love, respect, and compassion. It’s not only compatible with my understanding of yoga philosophy, but essential. I’ve written post cards, made phone calls, helped organize fundraisers, and I truly miss getting out and knocking on doors. In 2016, as soon as I saw where the election results were headed, I committed to greater engagement than ever before. It was the only way I could get to sleep that night. From the Women’s March in Washington in January 2017 to the phone class I made this week, I feel this is the only way to cope. Be active. Do more than vote. And keep up with my yoga practice daily. Thanks for the post. Good to hear from you.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. YB Post author

      Thank you Amber. New Mexico has done an outstanding job. Very proud of my homestate. Glad to see you are taking action and doing the best you can during these times. Keep writing those books 🙂

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      Reply
  3. chaconnm

    I intended to write simply to thank you for the post. It’s definitely time to speak and to encourage others to do so. Your comparison to Germany under Hitler is quite appropriate….But then I read the comments and your dialogue with ngyoga. That brought this to mind: http://stillinsirsasana.blogspot.com/2020/08/wtf-does-yoga-have-to-do-with-capitalism.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+StillInSirsasana+%28still+in+sirsasana%29.
    (you’ll have to copy/paste to open the link)
    It’s by Hong Gwi-Seok of the Iyengar Yoga Detroit Collective who was taken to task (via Instagram) for the Collective’s advertising a workshop titled “Disrupting Capitalism with Yoga.”
    Her very thoughtful response cites the Bhagavad-Gita and Iyengar’s teaching over his lifetime.
    I agree that yoga is not politics, but in extraordinary times, the practices that we engage in must have relevance in the larger community. I encourage your reading of Gwi-Seok’s essay.

    Liked by 3 people

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  4. k8macdo

    Wow! Reading the comments above, I’m thinking that – while not perfect, of course – things might be a little calmer in Canada… but folks are certainly on edge as the schools reopen, and cold and flu season starts up. It’s going to be a log winter!
    But there are many signs of hope! I’ve been able to connect on a meaningful level with so many neighbours… my community center (I live in Ottawa, Ontario) gave me an opportunity to teach yoga on the cement surface of a large, covered, rink. The response was so heartening. After the first class I thought (and said) “this is who we are” – connection.
    We will get through this, together.
    Sending love to all,
    Namaste.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. YB Post author

      Thank you Kate.

      A rink repurposed for yoga… that sounds great!

      I remember my last yoga class in the studio I had to get real creative about space and assigned each student their own section of the wall.

      For some reason, this election issue was causing me writer’s block. Every day the news would affect me more. Now that I’ve said my peace I feel I can move on. I just hope things go well in November.

      Take care of yourself Kate 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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