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#013 - Empowering Community Through Yoga with Tejal Patel

By Elizabeth Dhokia

Tejal is a New York City-based yoga teacher, community builder and podcaster. She is a passionate advocate for the Indian American teacher in the Western offerings of yoga. She believes in the diverse representation for all people of colour (POC) in yoga. And seeks to create offerings that are inclusive and accessible for all body types, income and experience levels. She aims to offer a practice that raises the power of all individuals and communities in yoga. Tejal organises the ABCDyogi community to increase the visibility of south asian yoga and mindfulness teachers so that all people can learn about diverse ways to practice and increase knowledge. Tejal, along with her co-host Jesal, hosts the podcast Yoga Is Dead. A space to have critical conversations about power, privilege, fair pay, harassment, race, cultural appropriation and capitalism in the yoga and wellness worlds.   We chat about what yoga really is, its origins, diversity of practice, and paths to it. Tejal shares that yoga is a practice that goes beyond the physical practice or studio time. Tejal shares how she got into teaching yoga and what it means to her. We chat about what inclusive yoga looks like.  We then go into detail about the Yoga Is Dead podcast and why these conversations are so important. We touch on the white-washing of yoga and how the aspirational idea is counterintuitive to the meaning of yoga. And how white people need to learn to be allies, and even an accomplice in disrupting systems and structures of inequality and supremacy. Tejal shares we she also learnt through the process of hosting a podcast including the negativity and positive changes. Tejal tells us what cultural appropriation is in yoga and how to work out what you are doing is appropriative.  We learn more about what the ABCDYogi community is about, how it is a community and learning space. Tejal shares her self-care routines, what the good life means to her, and what advice she has for the listeners. Show notes: https://elizabethdhokia.com/tejalpatel #GoodLifeUnravelled

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