BKS Iyengar held the belief that all people, regardless of religion, race, class, caste, or gender can participate in and benefit from yoga, that it is a gem for all who are willing to practice. Much of his life’s work was devoted to making yoga accessible to a wide variety of people, for the good of the collective, and this legacy has been carried forth through the subsequent generations of the Iyengar family.
Yoga practice as we know it has been dramatically affected by westernization, white supremacy norms, and capitalism. In an era of widespread philosophical and cultural appropriation, I seek to honor the lineages of spiritual practice that I have benefited from through practice and teaching that strives to be honest, humble, and sincere. I also commit to give back to the people and places these lineages and that my life is rooted in, financially and energetically. I seek to honor lineage in a way that offers reverence for my teachers and without erasing their faults, growing curves, or humanity.
I also seek to honor, spiritually and materialy, the queer, nonobinry, and trans lineages I benifit from, and am part of through the practice and teaching of yoga.
Yoga with Avery operates in the spirit of the legacy of the healing justice movement, led by Black and indigenous queer disable femmes, though as a for-profit entity and as a white person I do not describe my work as such. Yoga with Avery upholds the perspective that yoga that includes social justice frameworks is a way of honoring the roots of yogic practice, and rejects mainstream tendencies towards spiritual bypassing.
Yoga with Avery rejects notions of competition and gatekeeping and disrupts the common narratives that 1. Yoga is a luxury for thin, white, upwardly mobile cis people; 2. Only certain types of people should teach or practice yoga; and 3. There is one right way to study, practice, or teach yoga.
Yoga is by its nature profoundly valuable, and I believe it’s pursuit is worthy of our investments of time, energy, and therefore under capitalism, money.
As a full time yoga teacher, and the sole breadwinner of my household of 3, I am existing within capitalism. At this stage that includes exchanging money for services, which is inherently entangled with the violence of these systems of oppression.
This business strives to interact with money in a deliberate, responsible, ethical, and mutually beneficial way. It redistributes funds and resources in the spirit of reparations both through
A. Financial access to health, rest, and wellness especially to those historically denied via equity pricing, scholarships, and free attendance;
B. By donating a percentage of revenues to Honor Native Land Tax and other grassroots justice organizing. Currently, 10% of net proceeds goes to HNLT, though sometimes as global crises emerge, money is sent elsewhere to site specific mutual aids, or Black trans led grassroots organizing. This means that for revenue on classes, workshops, and private sessions, after taxes, fees, expenses are taken out, 10% is set aside for such causes.
In order to make such a model sustainable, Yoga with Avery actively welcomes donations to offset the cost of equity pricing and scholarship programs. When you pay the higher price, you help cover someone else. You can make a donation here. Large ticket items like retreats also help fund free community yoga projects.
This business model rejects the idea that money is anti-yogic. It rejects scarcity, and uplifts mutual thriving. It rejects the idea that yoga should be free (which would only allow those with substantial class privilege to teach full time) and supports the movement for yoga teachers, and healing arts practitioners of all types to be able to earn a living wage and be well compensated for their time and skill. As such, while alternative forms of payment such as barter or work trade is occasionally utilized, the preferred method is to exchange financial payment in order to respect the worth of people’s labor, including mine.
Yoga with Avery seeks to contribute materially and energetically to transforming the structures it exists within, via emergent strategies and co-creating new models that benefit us all. In accordance with yogic values, Yoga with Avery upholds a vision of abundance via equity, sustainability and collective prosperity.