Yoga Stands Up
Justine Cohen

Dear Students,

This year, our faculty has engaged in passionate internal discussions about the purpose of a yoga school and the place of yoga in times of political turmoil. Down Under is committed to being a politically neutral place of learning and a safe sanctuary for all our students. The practice of yoga should be a refuge, a place to reflect, not proselytize. Neither yoga class nor studio communications should be forums for teachers (or a studio owner) to preach personal politics or jump on bandwagons of simple sentiments or solutions. So please know, Down Under's commitment to thoughtful dialogue, reflection, self-study, and the practice of yoga have remained constant for a decade and nothing will alter that.

However, after serious dialogue involving every teacher, Down Under collectively chooses to depart from tradition in the following ways:

  • We WILL acknowledge issues currently at stake in our society by encouraging reflection and supporting opportunities for discussion and debate on important topics, as part of our process of self-study.
  • We WILL support our teachers by promoting their ideas and opinions through writings, and will throw the full weight of the studio behind fundraisers and benefits raising money for causes our faculty believe to be in peril.
  • You WILL begin to see our social media reflect both individual opinion pieces from our teachers, as well as other dialogues occurring around the nation - wedded by a connection to yogic principles. This means our discussions and editorials will be informed and couched within the parameters of yoga. And they will not be simple.
  • Yoga is a conversation. Just as you could gather a group of teachers on the subject of triangle pose and three days later we'd still be debating each other, no one at this studio will see things identically or spoon feed answers.
  • You WILL see a new series written by our most of teachers called Down Under Unites: Yoga Stands Up reflecting on how students and teachers alike can use our practice as a foundation for working skillfully through current challenges.

This is exactly what makes Down Under celebrated in the American yoga world - lead teachers from all the major styles of yoga linked by a common love of practice, a mutual respect for each other's craft, and a belief that what we teach flows off the mat and into the world.

You, the students, are the lifeblood of our community. If anything about this decision upsets you or warrants further conversation please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly. My cell is 617-833-0848 and my direct email is downunderyoga@gmail.com.

My warmest wishes and gratitude,
 

Justine Wiltshire-Cohen