Yoga Podcast 44: A dialogue on racism with Shanna Small

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Today, I’m talking to Shanna Small, the founder of the Ashtanga Yoga Project and a teacher/student in Charlotte, North Carolina. Our subject is racism. Though not the kind of overt prejudices and discrimination that most of us think of - but a type of racism that is almost more destructive. Because it’s unconscious. It’s implicit. And it’s so deeply embedded within our institutional structures that we barely recognize it. And this includes our yoga culture - a world that is predominately white - and privileged white, at that. Now, as a black woman, there was a time Shanna did not want to call attention to the color of skin. You’ll hear her explain that from the time she was a little girl, she was taught that to be accepted in a white world, she must blend in, assimilate, and make others comfortable before she could show herself. And so for many years, Shanna did just that. But not now. Not anymore. Shanna wants you to see her color. And she wants you to see HER.

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