IYNAUS Yoga and Equity Symposium: The Legacy of Racism and The Ethics of Yoga

Saturday, January 30, 2021

“Uncertain knowledge giving rise to violence, whether done directly or indirectly, or condoned, is caused by greed, anger or delusion in mild, moderate or intense degree. It results in endless pain and suffering. Through introspection comes the end of pain and ignorance.” 

--B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sutra II.34


In our current moment, all of us are being called to deepen our understanding of what it means to be a yogi.

This series of facilitated discussions and presentations, offered throughout 2020-21 by the IYNAUS DEIJ Committee, aims to help us understand race equity and inclusivity as it relates to one’s personal yoga practice and in teaching yoga.

Join us for our third topic, a presentation and facilitated discussion with Dr. Andrea Benjamin (University of Oklahoma) and Dr. Ann Ostendorf (Gonzaga University) about the history of the idea of race and racism. Together we will learn how the active legacies of these ideas play out in all our lives in the present day. Investigating this gives us a tool for understanding our own individual identities necessary for overcoming ignorance (avidya) and delusion (vitarka). Part of our calling as yoga practitioners is to strive to be more ethical, and confronting racism and other “isms” (heterosexism, ableism, ageism, etc) on and off the mat helps us to go more deeply into our own self-study (svadhyaya) and deepen our understanding of the ethics of yoga (yamas and niyamas).

About the presenters:

Andrea Benjamin earned her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2010. Her research interests include Race and Politics, Local Elections and Voting behavior, and Public Opinion.  Her first book, Racial Coalition Building in Local Elections: Elite Cues and Cross-Ethnic Voting, explores the potential for Black and Latino Coalitions.  Using the Co-Ethnic Elite Cues Theory, the book shows that Blacks and Latinos rely on endorsements from co-ethnic leaders when casting their ballots.  This is especially true when race and ethnicity are salient in the campaign.  This book was published by Cambridge University Press in 2017.  Dr. Benjamin is currently working on a project about coalitions, electoral representation, and policy representation in local politics.  A majority of the data come from Durham, NC.  Dr. Benjamin lives in Oklahoma City and she currently serves on the Boards of Sally’s List and Northeast Oklahoma City Renaissance.  She is also a co-chair of the Human Rights Commission Task Force in Oklahoma City.

Ann Ostendorf is Professor of History at Gonzaga University where she teaches early American history, American culture, and Native American studies. Her research explores the intersection of racial formation, identity construction, imperialism, and nationalism through studies of music, Louisiana, the Mississippi River, and Gypsy/Roma people.

This series is open to all and offered at no cost to participants. Donations to support this work are welcome!

Future DEIJ Symposium dates include: March 20, May 1, June 26, and August 14, 2021. 

IYNAUS Online, Stone Mountain, GA
All are welcome
Free (donations appreciated)
Registration Instructions

January 30, 2021, 2:30-4:30pm EST

Link for more info and to register:


This series qualifies for CE hours for CIYTs.

Contact Information
Denise Rowe

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