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Yoga As Allyship by Sarah Bouton

This week, we are proud to welcome Sarah Bouton, Cambio YTT graduate & teacher, to the Yoga Living Project! Sarah's offers a unique perspective in how yoga can overlap with the world of activism. In addition to their Monday night Yin and Tuesday night Vinyasa for Beginners, you can join Sarah for the occasional Yoga for Allies workshop. 



Yoga As Allyship by Sarah Bouton

Twenty-two years old. Bright-eyed, if a little jaded. A young, Women’s and Ethnic Studies degree-holding person wanting to take over the world. Fast forward seven years later and they’re a little less bright-eyed, a little more jaded, and lot more cynical, and overall burnt out. How did they get here?

It took me a while to come to yoga. I’m talking years of, “Hey! Let’s do something Saturday! There’s a yoga class; want to go?” and backing out if they back out. Until finally I came in after throwing my back out in my mid-twenties. I came, initially, because the doctor said I needed to start doing something to build the strength in my body; I stayed for a yoga teacher training to understand how to be safe; and I continue because it ignited a sustainable fire for my social activism.


What is Yoga?

If you are like I was when I first decided to really practice yoga regularly, I thought it was just a bunch of poses that are really weird at times, but ultimately helped my body feel better. I started to notice, though, that my mind started to feel better too. Strange. Why would standing with my legs really far apart, pointing my hands in opposite directions, and looking across my middle finger at reflection in the mirror help my mind? 

Yoga is about finding unity. Unity with ourselves – connecting the mind and body and our true Self. Unity with others – how we ethically exist in the world and talk and interact with those around us. When I allowed my yoga to take up more space in my world than just seeming to set up for a bear-crawl on all fours, I started to lose those cynical, jaded, and burnt-out parts of myself.


Yoga for Allies

For me, my yoga helped me understand my activism and gave me the direction I so desperately wanted as I stepped away from college thinking I could change the world (sweet, naive baby activist). I realized that while I was studying statistics and learning about people in the world, it didn’t prepare me for the weight of actually talking and working with humans in the meaningful way I was looking for. I came out of college angry and ready to “cancel” anyone who I deemed unfit for the magical world of equity I wanted to create.

But I learned you can’t create an equitable world without building unity. I can’t be a good ally unless I build connections with others and see their humanity and allow them the chance to grow, an opportunity I was privileged enough to receive because my parents could afford to support me in college and because I wasn’t pressured to get a “useful” degree, and could go down my niche, social studies route.

Learning yoga philosophy from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras reminded me first that I have to practice ahimsa, non-harm, to act ethically in this world. I have to practice ahimsa to create that better world rather than kicking everyone out of it for not being perfect. I have to reflect, always, on how I am in the world, and yoga is the space that allows me to do that safely for my own mind and wellbeing, and it empowers me to walk off my mat slightly more open-hearted and compassionate than I was before.


Yoga is a way of life and should be accessible to all.


Community is important. Everyone is a valuable member and we are here to serve our community.


Everyone is perfect just as they are. Everyone has their own path and is at a different point in life.


From physical abilities to beliefs, everyone is at the right place at the right time.

Cambio Yoga

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Colorado Springs, Colorado


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