[BONUS] Yoga for Peace with Shannon Crow
What place does yoga have in the context of the ongoing situation between Israel and Palestine, particularly in light of the current lethal bombardment and blockade in Gaza? What responsibility do yoga teachers have to advocate for a ceasefire, liberation and freedom of all peoples, and peace in the region? Shannon Crow tackles these big questions in a vulnerable and open live video.
Shannon is nervous about addressing what is happening in Gaza right now, but a recent interaction with a member of the community has prompted her to share her thoughts. She reflects on how we can apply the teachings of yoga and yoga philosophy, particularly the aspect of ahimsa, non-harm to the current situation. Shannon invites us to consider our own positions, why it is necessary to speak up rather than remaining silent, and how we can use our yoga to amplify compassion.
There is complex historical context at play here, and people who have ties to Jewish, Israeli, Muslim, and Palestinian communities are being affected, so it is important to keep that in mind as we navigate this situation. We are all interconnected. However, we must also speak up against harm when we see it and Shannon invites us to consider: What action can we take today that embodies the teachings of yoga?
[1:47] A Connected Yoga Teacher messaged Shannon on Instagram to respond to a question she had asked on her Stories: How are yoga teachers and students feeling now? This question is in light of the current situation in Palestine.
“I was also feeling on edge about it, like something was really not feeling settled in me about it. So I’ve learned over the years and by making many mistakes, that this is when I need to pause and reflect.” ~ Shannon Crow
[5:18] In the discussion that followed, Jim asked Shannon a question that gave her pause: Why do the other conflicts going on in the world right now not deserve our action, our compassion, our urgency?
[8:55] Jim had also written that he sees his role as expanding people’s awareness and hopefully their compassion.
[10:15] Shannon brings up the idea of scope of practice, staying in our lane, and niche work. Yet, one aspect of yoga is also ahimsa – non-harm and speaking up when you see harm.
“How do we address all of the suffering in the world?” ~ Shannon Crow
[12:49] Shannon shares her personal experience as someone who is speaking up and calling for a ceasefire in Gaza now.
[15:05] In the midst of this, Shannon has experienced some moments of hope and excitement.
[19:36] Shannon addresses how yoga students may be feeling coming to their classes and what might support them in this time.
“There isn’t just one genocide happening right now or one war or one conflict. And there’s a lot going on in our own countries and our own communities. There’s a lot that we can be doing right now to help the suffering of others.” ~ Shannon Crow
[24:15] Anyone who is not speaking out to call for a ceasefire is being counted in the group that doesn’t want a ceasefire. Shannon reflects on and share some of the conversations she has had with others on this issue.
“You might assume that everyone wants peace and a cease fire. But there are a few people who don’t. And when people say nothing, they start to get lumped into that group.” ~ Shannon Crow
[30:44] Shannon has also been speaking with her therapist about everything that is going on in Palestine.
“The safety of Jewish, Israeli, Muslim, Palestinian and really all of us, all people, all of our safety is intertwined. So more violence is never the answer.” ~ Shannon Crow
[33:50] What is an action that you can take right now that embodies the teachings of yoga?
[37:24] Shannon shares some of the things she is doing in her business.