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Our critical reading circle is for our community members to come together to read critical texts about systems of oppression, strategies of liberation and resistance, and their connection to our yoga and meditation gatherings for people of color. We closely read the texts of radical intellectuals of color as a wellness practice of the mind that supports the healing that yoga/meditation brings to our emotional and physical bodies.
The scope of our reading includes and is not limited to: Critical Race Studies, Critical and Comparative Ethnic Studies, Critical Indigenous Studies, Indigenous Feminisms, Queer Indigenous Studies, Women of Color Feminisms, Transnational Feminisms, Asian Feminist Diaspora Studies, South Asian History and Politics, Black Feminist Critique and Literature, Chicana/x Literature, Queer of Color Critiques, Transgender Studies, Studies on Disability Justice, Arab and Muslim American Studies, Social Movements, etc.
Why do we have a Critical Reading Circle (CRC) and how is the CRC connected to yoga and meditation?
The reason for yoga and meditation for people of color exclusively comes from an anti-racist critique. In understanding this critique we also need to learn about other power dynamics that structure our collective society, while expanding our imaginations of solidarity, identity and embodiment. As POC, we have an internal and experiential knowing of all of this, and the CRC empowers us further with the language and historical context to speak and assert ourselves, and to shed ideologies and social constructs that no longer serve us. To this end, the CRC encourages our responsibility and accountability towards ourselves, one another and our extended communities through critical literacy building as a mental health practice to then actualize individual and collective empowerment and liberation.
Through reading, thinking, questioning, and speaking on various topics we also come to understand why yoga and meditation for POC is crucial and necessary, and what it means to reclaim yoga and meditation. As oppressed and depressed peoples living in the United States we need healing and wellness options accessible to us like yoga and meditation. At the same time, yoga and meditation in the West have been colonized and appropriated. The CRC informs us of this violent history and helps us re-member and embody de/anti-anticolonial ways of practicing yoga and meditation. So, the time spent in these circles also informs us of the framework of all of our gatherings that tend to the emotional, spiritual, physical and mental wellness of historically marginalized communities and individuals. Doing so also connects and grounds us to a political lineage of radical thinkers and revolutionaries of color, so we know why we do what we do and where we are going.
What is the CRC like?
We begin with meditation, followed by an introduction to the text/s (context and main points), free-style group reading, then question/discussion, and close with a short meditation. Throughout we have snacks and food provided (dry/vegan/gluten-free), bring something to share Dana.
How do I get the readings?
Readings will be emailed out to the entire list-serve two weeks before our circle; and hard copies will be provided at our circle.
Do I read before coming?
You are not required to read before coming. We understand that not everyone may have time to read but you can read before coming, if you'd like.
What if I have questions after the CRC?
We will always do our best to give context, explain and highlight main points of the selected texts. We will be mindful to address all questions prior and during the CRC. Any questions that come up afterwards or that were not addressed can still be asked to our community on the Facebook page, in the emails sent out, at the Sunday Yoga for POC practice, etc. We encourage the dialogue from the CRC be carried onto these platforms so that others who were not able to come can have some insight on what took place.
A note on text and text length:
Selected texts will be connected to and supplement the monthly themes of Yoga for POC, other gatherings, and any other topic our community needs that arise. They will come from various book chapters and articles. We won't be able to read everything but we will get through the highlights. What we don't get through, you may go back and read whenever you'd like. You can begin to build your own electronic POC reading list and library!