Ever since a young age, I have always wanted to belong and learn within a spiritual community. I am thankful for the various communities that allowed me to explore and seek my truths. Through these experiences, I have been able to formulate my needs, values, and desires. First and foremost, I realized that for me to feel true belonging, the community must center social justice and that it be radically diverse. I realized it can’t be sermon-based or even leader-based although these formations were/are necessary for my own growth and others. At this time, for me, the sangha must have a collective, communal approach. It has to be holistic, embodied and thus must include mind, body, and spirit interconnectedness. I realize that I am not the only one with these needs; these are also the needs of many people of color living, loving, surviving, thriving, working, struggling, thinking, feeling within the dominant systems perpetuated in the settler nation and colonial empire known as “The United States of America.” I hope that Yoga POC Sangha can provide that place of belonging and refuge for people of color.
Farah Nousheen is a community organizer, cultural worker, healing justice activist, and critical race theorist living in Albuquerque, New Mexico on the original lands of the Pueblo, Diné, Jicarilla Apache peoples. As a working-class, immigrant, non-heteronormative queer, South Asian Muslim American woman and mother, Farah has worked for the majority of her life to end systemic racism in educational institutions, activist communities, media arts, and spiritual spaces.
As a non-traditional student, Farah received her B.A. at University of Washington in Comparative History of Ideas and her M.A. at University of New Mexico in American Studies. She works as an academic advisor of interdisciplinary studies at the University of New Mexico where she is fortunate to advise a diverse student body of first generation students, black students, indigenous students, LGBTQ+ students, students of color, working-poor students, activists, and non-traditional students. Farah believes in a holistic approach to advising, and enjoys assisting students find solutions and shape their education to advance life plans and be their authentic selves. She was the recipient of the Outstanding New Advisor Award, 2016.
Farah works in multiple social and cultural realms to enact social change and is adept at creative, educational and healing responses to rising cultural tides of racism and white supremacy. In response to 9/11, Farah co-founded the Seattle-based non-profit media-arts organization Tasveer, whose mission is to inspire social change through thought-provoking South Asian films, art, and storytelling. Farah continues to serve as a board member for Tasveer. Fifteen years later, in direct response to the November 2016 election, Farah founded Yoga for People of Color Sangha in Albuquerque, NM to cultivate healing spaces for the empowerment and liberation of communities of color.
Farah has 200-hour certification in hatha yoga and is currently working on her 300-hour training. She teaches yoga for the university community. She is also the facilitator and teacher for the Asian Women Resting Circle hosted by the New Mexico Asian Family Center. She also leads a trauma-informed restorative practice on some of the Sunday evenings.