Monday, October 31, 2011

The Yoga of Acting Out & Speaking Up

This week I took a challenging free yoga class sponsored by Lululemon at Stroga DC in Adams Morgan. Over 40 people moved to the guidance of Beth Onuoha’s powerful voice and her gentle reminder that "Yoga is not about trying to battle your neighbor on the mat."

On my way home, I coincidentally flipped through the Washington Post and stumbled onto the chilling and heartbreaking details of the Lululemon murder in Bethesda. I must admit I was shocked and disturbed that a fellow yogi and woman of color was the culprit of such a senseless and oxymoronic crime. Were yoga pants and cash worth someone’s life? Is this the morbid byproduct of commercializing an ancient spiritual practice?

Other friends in the yoga community circulated speculation about what would possess someone to go through such extremes for personal gain. What disturbed me more was the fact that someone heard the victim’s cry for help. Someone heard her plea, “God Help Me”, but no one acted and no one spoke up.

Photo by Rob Gallop
I am trying to resist judgment or place blame. Who knows what anyone would have done under those circumstances? How many times have we witnessed or overheard something that was so disturbing it stopped us in our tracks? But as human beings and most definitely yogis, we are expected to do better, act better and speak the truth.

I am reminded of poet Audre Lorde’s infamous quote, “Your silence will not protect you.” Silence didn’t save Jayna Murray and silence won't save someone from all the daily senseless crimes that happen in Anacostia and beyond.

This case reminds me of the power of everyday citizens. We can all do little things to change our world. The next time you see, hear, observe or even feel something that just doesn’t sit right, act out and speak up". Somebody’s life might depend on your voice.

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