Why Do We Care About LGBTQ Pride?

The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth. TTP estimates that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth (ages 13-24) seriously consider suicide each year — and at least one attempts suicide every 45 seconds. In addition, 2021 was the deadliest year for transgender violence ever recorded, with Black trans women at the greatest risk.

What does yoga have to do with these horrible statistics? Queer yoga teacher Susanna Barkataki is taking advantage of Pride Month to point out the natural compatibility between yoga and supporting LGBTQ issues. Susanna’s work centers around creating fully inclusive and diverse yoga spaces rooted in yogic teachings and history.

Barkataki notes that sometimes we think that the goal of yoga practice is to elevate “beyond” the realm of earthbound human struggle, that if we turn away from mundane social or political concerns, we are exhibiting enlightened nonattachment. In fact, the traditional practice of yoga, which is based on The Eight Limbs described in Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras, teaches the exact opposite can be true.

Woven deeply into the foundation of yoga practice are the yamas and niyamas, an ethical guide for living described in the first and second of The Eight Limbs which include values such as self-study, contentment, and surrender to divine wisdom.

The first of the yamas is ahimisa, which means non-harming. Given the pain, suffering, and violence experienced among LGBTQ people, it becomes quite obvious that there is much harm to elminated. In this way, ahimsa means more than gentle practice or peaceful meditation. Ahimsa becomes speaking out against injustice, offering care to those in harm’s way, and working toward a more equitable, safe society for everyone.

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Mary Jacobson

Mary Jacobson is Content Creator for INlighten Community. She has been a certified yoga and meditation teacher since 2009 with an emphasis on trauma-informed Accessible Yoga influenced by a variety of yoga lineages such as Kundalini, Hatha, and Restorative. She is the creator of Yoga for All Seniors, a program adapted for students in assisted or independent living dealing with moderate to severe physical and cognitive limitations. Mary also offers private intuitive counseling for those experiencing the debilitating effects of trauma, childhood sexual abuse, chronic PTSD, or grief. She is also acting COO of For Land & People, a nonprofit partner of INlighten Community.

About the Author

Mary Jacobson

Mary Jacobson is Content Creator for INlighten Community. She has been a certified yoga and meditation teacher since 2009 with an emphasis on trauma-informed Accessible Yoga influenced by a variety of yoga lineages such as Kundalini, Hatha, and Restorative. She is the creator of Yoga for All Seniors, a program adapted for students in assisted or independent living dealing with moderate to severe physical and cognitive limitations. Mary also offers private intuitive counseling for those experiencing the debilitating effects of trauma, childhood sexual abuse, chronic PTSD, or grief. She is also acting COO of For Land & People, a nonprofit partner of INlighten Community.

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