Welcome to the accessible yoga Podcast where we explore how to make space for everyone in the yoga community.
Amber Karnes 11:59:55
This podcast is brought to you by the accessible yoga Association, a nonprofit organization focused on accessibility and equity in yoga.
Hi, I'm your host, Jivana Heyman, my pronouns are here on him, and I serve as the director of accessible yoga.
Amber Karnes 12:00:09
And I'm your co host, Amber Karnes, my pronouns are she and her, and I serve as president of the accessible yoga board of directors.
Hi, everyone, it's Jivana. So happy to be back with you here today. It's been such a busy time for us at accessible yoga. We just finished our big event of the year the accessible yoga conference online. And I have to say, I think it was a real success. We had about 50 presenters, and just an incredibly diverse group of teachers, many of whom I don't think I presented at conferences before and there was just so much wisdom shared and I learned so much myself. I actually haven't listened to every session, but almost all of them. So if you did, if you did attend and register, you can always go back and listen to the recordings. If you didn't get a chance to join us, you still can I actually think you can still sign up for the conference. If you go to accessible yoga.org You can find information there. Anyway, at our conference, we had a whole series of amazing keynote speakers and and they were really inspiring. We started off with Indu Arora we had incredible Tracee Stanley and Jacoby Ballard, Colin Lieu, I gave a keynote myself, which actually we shared through the blog. So if you want access to my keynote, you can also check out the accessible yoga blog and watch the video there. But we thought for the while I thought for the podcast, what I'd really like to do is to share the closing keynote that we had with Reggie Hubbard. And that's what we're going to do today. So Reggie is just like a force of nature, he was so amazing. And this talk just, it had me smiling and kind of excited the whole time. And I just am so excited to share it with you again here today. I want to just tell you a little bit about Reggie, what I think is so exciting about him is that he has a lot of real world experience working in politics. And, you know, I find politics, incredibly frustrating, but I'm always really inspired by people who can, who just have the strength and the wherewithal to work directly within political systems and make positive change there. And that's what he was doing. So he'll share a bit about that in the keynote, and I'll let him share that with you directly. But I wanted to just introduce him before he begins. His He's the founder of and chief service officer, chief serving Officer of active peace yoga, a practice rooted in embodied yogic philosophy, somatic awareness and mindful living. His wellness journey was born out of curiosity forged in the adversity of a toxic employment situation and has now become his lifestyle and calling. Adopting discipline yogic practices has saved his life, serving as impetus for sharing them widely in service to the well being of all. Reggie, Reggie has taught elected officials, activists and people from all walks of life, the practice, I'm sorry, the wisdom of miracles that exists in commitment to personal peace and well being as a foundation rather than as an afterthought. He regularly counsels organizations and individuals on diversity, inclusion and justice seeking to expand the scope of wellness beyond its current homogenous nature, more toward wellness for everybody and everyone. And you can find out more information about active peace yoga at active peace. yoga.com. So here's Reggie's keynote address. I hope you enjoyed as much as I did.
Reggie Hubbard 12:04:10
Absolutely. Jivana Thank you. Thank you to everyone who's here, everyone who will watch this later. And if you watch it again, because I'll tell y'all a little bit about me. I've got the gift of gab right so like I mean there's some things you may need to watch this again because like when the spirits alive in the kid the kid just drops bombs, right? So and without apology, right? Like we live in a time where truth needs to be spoken. Not around like so not on the Beltway, we need to take the Express way right and sometimes the most compassionate thing you can say to someone has a direct quote, right? Not Be nice about it. Because sometimes being nice is being phony. We don't have time for that, like, Earth is on fire. People are sick and dying, people are being evicted. We're still in a pandemic. So rather than be nice, let's be honest. Because sometimes the nicest thing you can do is be honest. Um, so as Jivana said, I'm the Founder / Chief Serving Officer of Active Peace Yoga. And and I'm the former congressional liaison and senior political strategist for moveon.org. So I took a leave from the political hustle in April to basically heal from the past four and a half years where I served in the heart of the resistance against Donald Trump. And unlike most Yoga teachers, I took my teacher training while in the fight, so no shade on you, if you got your teacher training in Bali, I didn't. I got my teacher training while flipping the House of Representatives while passing Amendment 4 in Florida, which restored rights to a convicted felons of returning citizens and I got my 300 hour training while impeaching Donald Trump, right. So like, for me, activism and Yoga teaching are combined. Um, I don't see like for some people, and you know, I'm newer to the scene. But I'm a living testament to the power of Dharma, and ancestral favor. You know, I spent the weekend with my grandmother who turned 95 this weekend, so I'd be remiss if I didn't share that blessing with y'all. I'm the true American story. So we're Nigerian Scotch Irish Monacan Cherokees, I'm an American mutt. That's, that's why I'm the color brown that can be anything. And having spent time on our land with my elders, I've never been more excited to be in community with y'all. Because I haven't been this grounded in quite some time. Right? It's a beautiful opportunity to share from my lived experience, which is rooted in the story of my ancestors. So if you're wondering, Why in the world is this guy talking about politics and Yoga, as a Black man in the United States of America, my success is a political endeavor, right? We live in a system and a society that seeks to kill and destroy people who look like me, and they won't be quiet and nice about it. Um, I don't believe that. I believe silence is violence. And part of the reason that I speak is because people who look like me used to be hung from trees for speaking. And so I started my teaching practice April 2, 2020. And as I said, in my family this weekend, I started talking on April 2, I haven't shut up since.
And I don't plan on it because we got things to say and things to do. Um, and I'll share more about my path and my remarks. But I'll begin by saying I never capital N E V E R. Or in my world, "nevah" N E V A H, I've never planned on being here. I never planned on being a teacher. You kidding me? Like pre-pandemic, where in the world was there a place where I'm 6"3, 265 pound Black dude. Like, it wasn't no space for people like be pre pandemic. So thank god and goddess and whoever you pray to, for the pandemic, because it ripped asunder norms that allowed me to bust onto the scene. And now that I'm here, I ain't going nowhere, and neither of the people who I represent. So I promise you, you may have never heard of me before today, but I promise you will never forget me. So gratitude to Jivana and Brina and Sam and Garrett and the Accessible Yoga community, for allowing me to serve in the closing keynote. It's not lost upon me how special it is to offer this to someone. And it's my sincere wish that my words and this offering be an inspiration to the community and be in integrity with yogic wisdom, and be in service to our collective healing, awakening and transformation. You know, Jivana talked about values. For those of you who are about honesty, liberation, transformation and healing, connect with me. That's my life's work. That's how I get down. And gratitude to the teachers who helped me find this calling again, I didn't plan on being a Yoga teacher. I started practicing Yoga to not call my boss an MFB for those of you who have colorful language, fill in the blanks. And so gratitude to I'll name a few. So Julia Romano, Patrick and Carmen Harrington, Jeremy Wolf, Faith Hunter, Amy Ippoliti, Yirser Ra Hotep from the Kemetic Yoga school, and 1000s of other teachers with whom I've taken class with are various Asana workshops, Ariosa here, so Blessings to you, she was my third teacher ever. You know, each of these teachers helped me establish Yoga as a discipline, rather, and a lifestyle rather than something you do on Tuesday at 6 once a week. So for me, Yoga is disciplined practice. It's not a an activity. And therein is the crux of my approach as a practitioner, but also as a teacher. And shout out to Jivana for the keynote about broken heartedness and authenticity as a means of deconstructing and disrupting the toxicity of good vibes only and opening us to the magic that exists in the alchemy of adversity. Right, you know, life is suffering. And that's not a bad thing. Because when we find the wisdom in our wounds, when we find the halo in our harm, that's how we can create change in the world. It begins with us. So if you are like Cory Booker, when he was running for president said the best I think like, if America hasn't broken your heart, yet, you don't love it enough. Broken heartedness is the key to societal transformation, not stuck in platitudes, and like platitudes and attitudes rooted in comfort, and not changing. But um, I told y'all, the spirit gets in the kid and he won't shut up. But, blessing to all of the keynote speakers and presenters, and gratitude for your medicine, I hope that the medicine that I offer is on par with what you offered as well. So I want to begin by offering just a moment of ceremony, because I believe that often in Yoga world, people get caught in routine and forget the sacredness and sanctity of what the what these practices are. These practices are 1000s of years old. And they have survived many different iterations. And it's in that sanctity that I want us to pause. Before I get into the remarks I want us to pause, find a tall seat, or find a tall position posture. Close the eyes or soften the gaze. And just be with the breath, feel the ground beneath you be with the breath. And allow the beauty of the conference to wash over you. And if there's anything that has stuck with you thus far, don't take that for granted because awakening happens when we pay attention. So pay attention to a phrase that may be stuck in your mind or a feeling that you have in your heart. We'll take three breaths as a community. I will toll a bell three times. And then I'll begin my remarks. So deep inhale through the nose, fill the belly, fill the ribs, fill the upper chest, exhale out the mouth, soften and land. Inhale through the nose, fill belly, ribs, upper chest, exhale out the mouth, soften and land. Deepest breath thus far in through the nose, fill belly, ribs and upper chest. Exhale out the mouth, soften and land. (*Singing bowl chimes)
Thank you for indulging me in that moment of ceremony. Love and grace to all. So when I say Yoga is political, I'm sure you have ideas about what you think I mean, such is the nature of the mind. But what I hope to offer in this talk are ideas that deconstruct norms rooted in the status quo, that neither service us as individuals, don't serve stewardship or sanctity of these ancient practices, and is not in keeping with what the times are asking of us. The times are not asking us to go back to 2018. You know, back to studio culture, and everyone's great and everything's chipper. Look, things kind of suck right now. And guess what? That's magical. Because when things are torn asunder, it gives an opportunity for us to recreate or reimagine how things are, if things weren't bad, you wouldn't want to do better. That's, we get comfortable. We don't want to do things, right? We don't want we don't want things to shift or change, especially for those of us who are not part of a marginalized community. Um, so I want to offer like, in the spirit of my sister Oneika Mays, I want to disrupt some norms with love, right? Because I'm not just willy nilly trying to tear things asunder. You know what I mean? Like, I offer my full Dharma, from a loving place. Um, I know that our best days are ahead of us, but they're not going to be ahead of us if we keep looking at the past. We can't embrace the future holding on to the past. We take the wisdom of the past as a foundation and thereupon build the future. But if we keep looking back nostalgically to things that never worked for us in the first place, we ain't gonna get nowhere. Right? So first, so why, why would I dare say something as controversial and impolite, as Yoga is political? First of all, I did include the rejoinder "...Let's discuss". Right? So shout out to my Southern roots. Let's talk about it. Right? And I'm open to alternative points of view. You know, there's some of you who think that like, there should be a separation between church and state, that you know, Yoga is Yoga and I respect that. I don't agree with you. But I respect that, you know, I worked hard to hold the First Amendment, you know, I fought for the Constitution. So I believe in freedom of speech. I just don't agree with that. And, you know, I'm also I'm not a member of the cancel culture crew, it's not how I get down, I believe in hard conversations, respectful disagreement, and redemption. Secondly, as I will share in detail, my personal experience with yogic practice has been to merge it with my activist practice. I became a beast activist, because I was yogic. I did it the other way, a long time where I had bourbon and cigarettes for breakfast and cursed people out for lunch. Let's just say that a yogic discipline is far more sustainable than parliment lights, orange juice, with with orange juice and a splash a Jim Beam for breakfast, let's just say that. Thirdly, in the context of my various identities, thank y'all for laughing. I've been told I was funny, like, I just keep your mad real, it's just kind of how I get down. And in the context of my various identities, authentic expression, rooted in a sense of well being is a political act. I'll say that again, as a Black male in a system that seeks to kill us, my defiance and desire to be well is political. They don't make it easy for us. And so as such I ain't going to make it easy for them like I gave a I gave a talk recently to a bunch of Black and brown people. I was just like, yo, if they trying to kill you, why you helping them? You taking better care of yourself is not only in the spirit of the dearly departed Audre Lorde, an act of self preservation, which is an act of warfare. Um, yo, if the society is trying to kill you don't make it easy for them. That's not how I'm getting down. So claiming that I belong in these systems that seek to ignore, marginalized, demean and destroy confident and competent Black male existence is political. And I don't shy away from that. And the other thing I'll say about that, too, is just like, if it's my activism versus yours, you need to be on my side, because we get down if you're against me, you're going down. Lastly, my entire career as an educator, market strategist and an activist has been about opening minds and broadening perspectives. And in the modern Western Yoga aesthetic, a plus size Black man with an opinion has not been welcomed. And trust me, I don't care. Because it's because of this tacit overt reality, I stand in defiance to milk toast norms, mediocre gymnastics, its exclusionary attitude and extractive behaviors. Right so you can have your way I disagree with you, whatever. And just to get nerdy about it, so what Jivana didn't say is I majored in philosophy at Yale's, I trained hella nerdy. Political is commonly considered as pertaining to the government or a political party variety ology. And again, out of respect for those that may disagree with me. You know, I said, I believe in freedom of speech, but I also believe that Yoga philosophy holds space for differences of opinion, especially when rooted in truth, respect and compassion. But when I'm talking about politics, y'all, I'm not talking about like the first four or five definitions and like, if you go to Merriam webster.com, I'm not talking about the first four. I'm talking about the fifth one.
It says the complex relations of people living in society. So when I talk about political, it's the complex relations of how we how we work together, how we live together. Um, Jivana and I had a we had an Instagram Live and like, when we were going back and forth, I was like, this conversation is political, because it's two people, political is how people interact. You know, it has been extrapolated to be like a partisan ideology, all these other things. But the true essence of politics is people coming together. So in my words, the sense of people coming together to positively impact our collective well being that's political. And in that spirit may the merits of our, I believe that the merits of our practices should benefit and alleviate the suffering of others. Not be a social club, rooted like I said, mediocre gymnastics and platitudes, we can do better than that and the times are requiring us to do better than that. So when we factor in this definition, it brings to mind the first lens of the eight limb path of Yoga, Yama and Niyama. And unlike what is commonly accepted in the western Yoga aesthetic, I trust the order of this of this wisdom, you know, rather than the veneration of an Asana centric model, and personal observances and ethical norms, personal observances and ethical norms form the foundation that I believe should be a commonly held opportunity for us to, from which discussion can bloom and blossom. So, pre pandemic, Yoga was largely about fitting a class into your schedule, socializing with people, and then moving on with your life. And I'm not against Asana. I'm not against socialization. It's okay to have friends. Okay. It's not what I'm saying. But let me be clear. Or to quote Obama, (*deep voice) "let me be clear", going to class is not the same, and doing the same routine without thinking about it, is not Yoga. Right? There's no svadhyaya that there's no self study, right? So Yoga is not about platitudes and pretty pictures on social media. Yoga is not about homogenous environments, exclusionary attitudes nor routines rooted in comfort, the entire practice of Yoga, for me, Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi, the embodiment of yogic philosophy, is not an individualistic pursuit. Self Care should not be selfish. And in my opinion, and based on the research I've done through my lived experience, as we take care of ourselves, we should serve people from that abundance. You know, like, what sickens me quite candidly, I don't know if y'all notice, I tend to be pretty candid. But what sickens me about Yoga norms or when people like, I'm so peaceful, and they don't do anything with it. I mean, there's a reason that my teaching practice is called Active Peace. It's not called passive peace. It's not called solipsistic peace, I'm gonna sit here by myself, and pretend like everything's okay. It's called Active Peace, because when we fill our cup, we should be willing to serve others. Like I, part of the reason that I'm such a aggressive teacher, aggressive in terms of my schedule, is that y'all, I feel so good. I'm gonna tell everybody about it. Right? Like, again, like Black male, huge fro, fuzzy beard, in a world that seeks a kill, like Yoga has made this beast. And I want people to be inspired by the authentic rendering of me in this body at this time. So as we find our authenticity, and stand in that authenticity, that political act, will inspire others. So a little bit more about my journey. Like I said, just just, Deanna - never. I know too much. Thank you for that. Never say never, but I will say, I'll plead the fifth on that. So a little bit more about my journey. Like I said, y'all I took I undertook 700 hours of Yoga teacher training, while serving in the heart of resistance. I finished my 200 hour training on 11/11/2018. So shout out to all my number folks out there, that's all the elevens just after we flipped the House of Representatives. I finished my 300 hour training on the winter solstice, days after we impeached Donald Trump the first time and I served as a key strategic advisor and spiritual advisor in the impeachment process. So again, for me, yogic discipline and service helped make me a healthier human being and a dope activist. Right.
So again, just just to go a little deeper into it. I'll share a quick story. So I get my training on 11/11/2018, on 11/12/2018 I'm in a room, and AFL CIO headquarters in Washington DC, with the new members of the 116th Congress, right, so that's like Ayanna Pressley, that's Rashida Tlaib, that's Ilhan Omar, that's AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), Veronica Escobar, Deb Haaland, like all these, Joe Neguse, like all these progressive beasts. The backstory behind that is I had to argue with my former employers to get in the room. They were like Reggie, you know, you can't get in the room because you don't have the title and I was like, and whose fault is that?
Give me the title. If you're my boss, give me the title. Get me the room, right and so we went back and forth and back and forth and I had to pull my, I had to pull their card and be like, Okay, look here. So here's what you don't want to hear. Your favorite is leaving. Your other favorite is on paternity leave. So I'm the only N word that you got. So get me in the room, stop playing, you're wasting my time, you're wasting your time. So they got me in the room. So I'm in the room with all these members of Congress like these freshmen beasts, and then I'm like, Oh shit. I'm in the room. What am I gonna say? Oh my god, you know so i totally had a bit of a moment. So that's what prayer beads are for y'all so got out my malas, and was just like, oh god, what am I gonna say? Like, I basically went all in, won the pot. What am I gonna do with this money? Oh, my God. So basically, basically become a channel I was just like, whoo, here we go. So they call on me. Um, and I'm like, blessings and best wishes to all, Reggie Hubbard here for Move On. And I want to thank you all for running and winning. Because you all are the fervent, you're the answer to our fervent supplication. For those of us who have been toiling in these in the trenches. We have been waiting for reinforcements. So thank you for encouraging, running and winning. We have been waiting for you. Um, so can y'all tell I grew up in the church? So like, I'll never forget, like Rashida. She had her glasses. She took her glasses down. Ayanna was like, basic, like who is this ...? Right? So um, then, my second sense was something similar to this it was just like, so, I'm not just here to talk about activism, I got my 200 hour Yoga certification yesterday. So it would be remiss if I didn't mention that, yes, I want you to be good activists. However, if you do not take care of yourself, you're doing yourself a disservice. You're doing the movement, a disservice. You're doing your district a disservice. And you're letting down yourself, 750,000 people in your district and the millions of people that are following you as as the icons that you are, and so at that point, everyone's just like, Oh, this dude is on one. So basically, that was my speech. And so there was a question answer session afterwards. And I'll never forget this. My dear friend Rashida Tlaib, this is called foreshadowing yo. So Rashida is like, I got a question. And she's like, How do I know if I call on y'all at three o'clock in the morning, or some craziness. It's not going to end up on the on the front page, of the paper? And I was like, I'll take that one. And everyone's like, Oh, God, Here he goes. And I was like, okay, Rashida. Look, I'm gonna be honest with you. I'm a 41 year old like, I'm a 44 year old Black man in politics. I didn't get here by running my damn mouth. Right? So whatever you tell me, is your business, I ain't saying shit. Right? And everyone's just like. (*Claps). So imagine what happened on January 3, 2019? When Rashida and I broke the internet. So Rashida said, When Rashida said, we're going to go in and impeach the mother, that was my party that came out of my budget. And if you ever look at that clip again, you'll see this. It's me. So like the tall, handsome lad standing next to Rashida when she's gonna impeach them. That's me. So the next day, I called her, and I was like, sis, last night was kind of wild, huh. So I think we gonna need some crisis communication support. And here all of my phone numbers, I got your back. Right. So that moment, laid the, and the next day, y'all, I was back in training for my 300 hour. So Rashida says, we're going to impeach the mF, we know the internet. The next day, I'm in 300 hour training, I went to my teacher was like, look, if you haven't been paying attention to the news, I have to look at my phone the entire class, because like, there's some stuff going down that I need to pay attention to.
Um, so that steadfastness laid the foundation for me to be of support to Rashida, to Ayanna, to all these folks. So as we built the case for impeachment, I never left them high and dry. And like my yogic practice allowed me to be of service to the moment. And that moment was flipping the house. (*Laughs) Jivana's face! Thank you for that. Oh, that's, that's great. And, you know, I give gratitude to the pandemic because that's how my teaching practice started as well. So when the pandemic hit, it was right after impeachment. So go through the house, fails in the Senate or whatever. It didn't fail in the Senate, they failed us. So let's just say that. And in my mind, I was gonna go out to all these Yoga retreats and like tune out from the world, and like live my life. I was just, I did my service. I'm good, right? So pandemic hits. And I was in Boulder, Colorado, with one of my teachers, Amy Ippoliti, and like 50 other like 200-300-500, like 50 other teachers, at least a 500 hour level, and pandemic hits. I'm the only one that didn't freak out. I'm lighting incense, like I'm buying flowers for our Puja, like I'm giving everyone elbow bumps like trying to lighten the mood or whatever, like the day. So the day that everyone on earth bought all the toilet paper, like I went to sprouts in Boulder, Colorado, and it was cracking jokes. I was like, yeah, so why are people buying toilet paper for a respiratory ailment? Like, riddle me this? I really don't understand like, this isn't Ebola, like people are getting sick in their lungs. Why are you buying so much toilet paper? So I'm cracking all these jokes. And I didn't understand that that piece, that lightheartedness, was because of the discipline of my practice. I didn't understand that. And so people were like, Reggie, you should teach. And so in typical Reggie fashion, I was like, I ain't no damn teacher. I'm not gonna do that. That's cute. I'm not doing it. So and 18 people asked me to teach. It's not an exaggeration. So 18 people asked me to teach, and I avoided all of them. But y'all the March For Our Lives kids asked me to teach them. And I used to teach civics to high school students. So I can't I can't duck the kids. You know what I mean? Like I ducked everybody else, but I can't duck the kids. And so when the kids are like, Reggie, can you teach like a 20 minute Yoga and meditation thing for us? I cut off my zoom camera. I looked up at the sky. I was like, that's so not fair. That's so not fair. Like that's *** alright. And then I cut the camera back on is like, so when would you like to me to teach? Right? So taught the kids, they didn't see my little meltdown. And that basically got me out of my own way. And I launched Active Peace on the 2nd of April 2020. Y'all guess who my first political client was?
It was Rashida. My second was Deb Haaland. Why? Because the entirety of the impeachment process, I showed up, like with prayer beads, like in service to the moment, in service to the community. And so when all hell broke loose, and I was still peaceful, people were like, this brother is on to something. Let me hire him. And like, like I said, For someone who didn't I, one of my screenshots on my on my computer is an email exchange that I had with a good friend of mine. She's like, Reggie, what platform will you use to teach? And I was like, I'm not gonna do that. And then six days later, it's like, I'll probably use zoom. So like, it changed like that. And so like, I got humbled up and stepped into service. So taught Rashida, taught Deb, and over the course of the pandemic, y'all I thought I taught 1000 classes in meditation, like meditations, Asana, all these other things. And I didn't I mean, I keep a spreadsheet, because I'm a geek like that. But I didn't really care about the number because the moment called for me to step in and serve. And so I served Planned Parenthood, I served Move On's volunteers, I served, um, Black Lives Matter protest, just giving them space, to hold complications of the emotions that we had. So again, when we say Yoga is political, it's not about partisanship. It's about creating space for us to have more robust opportunities to serve and love one another. So you know, what, I didn't know was happening. And I mentioned this and just in conclusion for this section, and then I'm almost done is that I didn't know when I was doing all the Asana, all the training, that all these shifts were taking place to allow me to hold space for some stuff. I didn't know that. And what ended up happening is the clarity, wisdom, expanded awareness and reduced attachment to destructive mental habits, a heart of service, and broader compassion through self study. This is what happened over the course of all like, when I combined my philosophical studies with my activist practice, the synergy of those things, allowed me to be more clear and have broader awareness, to like step into like a shitstorm, like impeachment was and be unphased, as a Black man in the Trump era, right? And so, I was able to see like Yama and Niyama in my life and to operate fully there from, right? And so you know, again because I'm a teacher I can't help it yamas, Ahimsa, non violence, Satya, truth, Asteya, non stealing, Brahmacharya, moderation, Aparigraha, non coveting. And for senior elder Iyengar, these are the commandments are the rules of morality for society and individuals which if not obeyed, bring chaos, violence, untruth, stealing, dissipation and covetousness. The roots of these evils are the emotions of greed, desire and attachment, which may be mild, medium or excessive. That's in Light on Yoga, page 31, 1995 edition. So again, I'll read that quote, because when I when I read this quote, again, in my studies, I composed a thesis in 20, like in the course of impeachment, when I read this quote, I was like, what!? So if the Yamas are not followed, the following ensues: chaos, violence, untruth, stealing, dissipation. covetousness. The roots of these evils are the emotions of greed, desire and attachment, which may be mild, medium, or excessive. Where is that mentioned in the modern day Western Yoga asthetic? Everyone's talking about, oh my goodness, I got all these likes on my social, I don't give a shit about that. I got a pretty robust social following, but you know what I care about more. I care about the opportunities that we have to bring peace, patience, truth, community, that's what I care about. If you like it word, if you don't like it, get out of the way. Because I wasn't put here on earth to care about your insecurities. I was put here on earth to transform myself and other people. So the niyamas rules of individual conduct, are Satya, purity, Santosha, contentment, Tapas, cthat fire which clearly I have, Svadhyaya, study of the self and the one that no one likes to talk about. Everyone wants to be all ecumenical and shit, but like Isvara Pranidhana, devotion to the Supreme Being, for those of you that don't like the word God, goddess, or whatever, something bigger than yourself. Right? The inability of our society to think outside of itself is a travesty. It's a disaster, we got to do better, the times are calling us to do better. So as practitioners and teachers, not begrudging anyone of the necessity to make a living. Can we begin to see ourselves as custodians, servants and stewards of this wisdom, technology, and share the benefits with love and grace, rather than hoarding the merits of our practice and perpetuating the status quo? I'll say that again, for y'all in the back. Can we as practitioners begin to see ourselves as custodians, servants and stewards of this technology and wisdom practice and share the benefits freely with love and grace? Rather than hoarding the merits of our practice, and perpetuating the status quo? Perhaps perhaps I'm idealistic, but y'all I'm not naive, you know, and even a cursory overview of Yoga philosophy, points to service points to transcendence, points to liberation. So for those of you who aren't keen on philosophy, if you listen to the core of your being, you'll likely hear gentle murmurs like this. There's got to be more to it than this. There's gotta be more to Yoga then a monochromatic, unimaginative self-serving practice with no mention of spirit. Right? You know, I am harkening back to the famous speech of John F. Kennedy, I want us to consider the following. Can we ask not what Yoga can do for us, but what can we do for others with the practice? How can we serve the practice? How can we serve one another, instead of being so extractive, so solipsistic, so ignorant, I would say but like I don't want to hurt nobody's feelings, so you may want to edit that. My last reason for design trends and the false choice, and to begin to use the merits of our practice is rooted in a personal anecdote that occurred to me this afternoon as I was driving, I hate driving. I don't hate many things. I hate woke white people telling me about Black history, and I hate driving. Like those are the two things that I hate. Um, but, you know, one of the things that I don't like the competitiveness of driving I live in the DC metro area, people act a damn fool on the Capital Beltway. And the way nearly everyone only cares about themselves, you know, they cut people off they tailgate, and all this other stuff. To me, that's the epitome of everything that's wrong with our culture. And I found myself wondering out loud, there's got to be a better way than this, right? So similarly, Amber I see that, similarly, there's got to be a better way than, you know, the way that everyone is wanting to go back to what was which never served us in the first place. The times require us to move beyond the norms of scarcity, willful ignorance and destructiveness rooted in individualism, comfort and habituation. I consider my personal and teaching practice, a hybrid of karma, the Yoga of service, Bhakti, the Yoga of devotion. And with my background as an activist, merging the two, that is how I like to be of service. So I'll end there and catch my breath and give you a chance to catch yours. But thank you for the opportunity to be of service with my words. And I hope they've been a blessing to you. And I'll take whatever questions y'all have, if any.
Wow, thanks, Reggie. That was amazing. I didn't stop smiling the whole time, I don't think. Thank you. Yeah. Everyone wants to know, how do you do a standing ovation on zoom? I agree. Okay, I see Brooke has a question. But I just want to say if other people have questions, you can put them in the chat or Reggie, maybe you want them to come on the mic, I can read. Garrett is saying if you want to come on the mic, just raise your hand. Brooke asks, Can you talk about redemption more?
Reggie Hubbard 12:42:12
So Brooke, thank you for the question. And thank you all in advance for whatever questions you may have. Um, redemption for me is in the context of what I shared. So I had in some extents, I had like vestigially I have a, their voices in my head from a culture who has told me what I'm not, what I can't do, what I shouldn't do. And my yogic practice has allowed me to look those demons in the face and be like this. Right? So higher self looks at lower self, and it's just like, uh uh, that's redemption. And that redemption for me has allowed me to be this guy who just like opens his heart and pours it through this dot and speaks directly to your soul. Right? Like without yogic practice, I would have all of these different things that fracture my pure light. So redemption allows me to like basically de-prism the purity of the light that I offer so it can be like authentically expressed as opposed to like I want to say something, Oh, but who am I to say this? No redemption allows me to
stand fully in this truth. Look ignorance in the face. And tell like if that's what you got to bring it. So that's what I mean by that.
Okay, Linda has a question. How are you investing or balancing rest?
Reggie Hubbard 12:43:48
So if you look over my shoulders, in addition to like the Prince LPs on the left, and the Marvin Gaye and the Earth, Wind and Fire, I have 100 singing bowls and a dope meditation cushion, so my gift to myself for resigning from Move On was was Tibetan singing bowls because I was just like I'm going to get into and I took a Silent Retreat after I resigned from Move On, because I needed to be quiet, right, I needed to be around no noise right? And so what I found is that the purity of pure sound melts noise and melts the tiredness of the mind and so I sit in deep meditation with these bowls and darkness often, one. Two, I'm writing a lot just to just kind of process in these sorts of things. really need to get my act together on this book, but like, because Black and brown people know this, if we don't write our stories, we can't get pissed when no one tells them right so like, they go, people go out of their way to not tell our stories when we write them, but if we don't write them that's on us. So like, for me, I'm trying to like find refuge in articulating my story, um, in a manner that allows people to be uplifted. So a lot of meditation. And I don't want anyone to go through this but Amber and I have bantered back and forth about this. If you don't take care of yourself and rest the people who govern you will make you rest. I sprained my ankle, deliciously, in June. So all of my summer plans of being active, yo, I was stuck in this room with these bowls and my meditation and my thoughts. So I had to rest because I couldn't walk. So that for me was a blessing to basically calm down and like heal from all of the expenditure that I had done for months.
Now, there's a lot of positive, you know, gratitude for you. But someone asked, Laura asked, What would your number one action recommendation for Yoga is you want to get more involved in policy change? What would be your number one recommendation?
Reggie Hubbard 12:46:07
One, pay attention, right? So like, pay attention to what's happening. The system, as it stands now, is predicated on our ignorance and our cynicism. So we cannot allow that to happen. So from dog catcher through Congress and beyond, we have to pay attention, because, and I'll also offer, that the moment now, when every system has melted before our very eyes. This is the precise moment that we need to get involved. Because we can reimagine what has happened, we can reimagine the future because what's going on now is people trying to like resurrect the past, but that's gone. Right? So it the more we the more people of conscience, the more teachers of conscience, get involved, it will push, it'll bring awareness to a system that now is structured on our ignorance and cynicism. So just get involved. Start talking. And then when they then when they tell you to be quiet, tell him Reggie said I ain't got to do that.
Let's see, do you practice yoga nidra and sleep?
Reggie Hubbard 12:47:24
So Tracee Stanley is a good friend of mine. And if I said no to this, she would probably come to my house. So yes, I do. Um, and I need to do more of it, quite honestly. But like, it has been a delightful experience. Because when we get, in order for me to be on, I have to be off.
Do you do somatic writing? Liza is asking.
Reggie Hubbard 12:47:56
I don't know what that is.
Okay, anything else you want to share with us? Reggie? Let's see. We have about five minutes. I don't know if there's more questions people can ask in the chat or raise your hand. Let's see. Did anyone raise their hand? I mean, you gave us so much. I feel like we could just stop there honestly.
Reggie Hubbard 12:48:20
Yeah, I'll Um, I'll offer the following. So I am. If you want to holler at me, I'm already global on Instagram, Active Peace Yoga on instagram. Active Peace yoga.com is the website. And I'm all about like, I'm about collaboration with people who are about healing justice, liberation and transformation. Right? Like we, I want it and Jivana I want to also give a shout out to what you said, because it's like you spoke to my heart. When you said that AYA is a grassroots organization, like the structure doesn't change until we make a change. I know that as a grassroots organizer, like I know that as a grassroots strategist. So when we start to take this seriously, when we start to embody these practices, and when we start to look untruth in the face, and speak truth to power, it will fall. But if we don't speak, it's not gonna fall, right? So I'm here to collaborate in any way that I can, however, I can be supportive to any community. I'm here for that. Because the times require us to be, I would say, like Wu Tang clan, I'm a hip hop kid, I can't help it. So like, they were strong individually. And when they came together, they were just the dopest, right? So like, I'm not ODB I'm more of a Method Man kind of guy. I'm like a cross between Meth and GZA. So like, I do me, but when we come as a collective, we come hard, right? So what I encourage each of you, each of us to do is be the dopest that we can individually which is a political statement, and get away from this scarcity mentality. And come together, form a syndicate and then take on the the moneyed interest, the powerful interest because they can't, we have the people on the passion I mean that that's how we impeach Donald Trump, that's how we did all these other things. So if we don't like what's happening in the Yoga establishment, for organize come hard come correct and take them down. Yeah, like like the the hip hop translation to the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna said, Be the dopest you you can be, you know. Thank you for that. Eliza thank you for that. Yeah, but that's all I got. So if you want to collaborate, reach out, I respond. Like I'm not on that, like, Hollywood shit. Like I respond like to anyone who reaches out to me. Because the time is now. So however I can be of service, please let me know. If as you digest, you have questions holler at me. And Jivana I think I'm cool leaving it there.
All right, thanks. Thank you so much, Reggie. Thanks for your energy, your time, all your service. And thank you everyone for being here. I guess we'll leave it at that. All right. Bye, everybody.
Thanks for joining us for the accessible yoga podcast. We're so grateful to be in community with you.
Amber Karnes 12:51:36
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Amber Karnes 12:51:56
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai