Yoga and Native American Culture

There is often such a negative outlook on Native American culture in the United States. So many have "outsiders" perceive our tribes as mysterious, shady, lazy, alcoholics, racist... I have heard virtually every term in the book, and marrying someone who is not of Native heritage, but grew up in a small town near a reservation, he is quite familiar with Native culture, I have heard even more of these incorrect perceptions. As is the case of every other culture and race in the world, we do have people of similar descent that do in fact, "give us a bad name".

But, we also have the leaders. The ones who are driven by such a strong force of positivism that can not be reckoned with. I was curious as to yoga within the Native American culture, as I am well aware that there are of course Natives who practice regular yoga, I was intrigued if there were any Native's who were actively taking measures to push yoga into tribal schools, or in the local gym or community centers for Indians on the Rez to take advantage of...

I found that while yoga acceptance is not a widely spread as I had initially hoped, it is beginning to transition itself into our wonderful and unique cultures. For Native Americans, our identities are something that bind us all together as one people, instead of individual tribes, and for yoga to become incorporated into our culture is something that is going to take time and acceptance. The transition may be a slow process, but it is a steady one to say the least. With yogic practice being introduced into tribal schools, I think we can bring about a more positive generation of young Native's, stronger bodies and steady minds for the mid-generations, and healing and restoration for the elders as well.

The best thing about yoga, is that it is off-limits to no one. It is something so beautiful and so available for those who choose to grasp it whole-heartedly, and I hope that it is something that my people can see in that light for the values it provides in terms of the body, mind and spirit... regardless of tribe, sex, or age, yoga is for everyone.



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