Since Circle Yoga's founding, we have been focused on being a welcoming community for all. However, today we are asking tough questions of ourselves and learning from teachers from diverse backgrounds with the goal of becoming a more inclusive and anti-racist community. One way this work took place in the last year was through the Antiracism and Allyship Discussion Group, led by Mercedes Santos.

Antiracism and Allyship Group

Antiracism and Allyship Discussion Group
by Mercedes Santos
March 2021

The Anti-Racism and Allyship Discussion Group at Circle Yoga Cooperative (CYC) was born in June 2020, following the murder of George Floyd and as Black Lives Matter protests were emerging in cities across the country. Learn about the the group's journey.

A letter from the Board of Directors at Circle Yoga Cooperative

June 15, 2020

Dear Circle Yoga Community,

Yoga teaches us that when members of our human family are harmed it affects us all. The latest police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the predatory murder of Ahmaud Arbery have launched powerful global protests.

We want to express clearly and unequivocally our outrage at the racist murders of Black people. We stand in solidarity with any efforts to dismantle white supremacy. We also affirm that the protests and this historical moment are about much more than police brutality: they are about acknowledging the ways that systemic racism pervades all aspects of our lives in society—our institutions, laws, and personal interactions. This moment asks us to do our own anti-racist work as individuals, as a community, and as a business.

Like our community, the Board of Directors of Circle Yoga Cooperative is asking tough questions of itself.

What are the necessary reflections and actions for a predominantly white community at this time? How can we bring the wisdom of the Black Lives Matter movement into our yoga practice? Into our yoga community? What does it mean to incorporate the Yamas and Niyamas (yogic precepts) into our reflections into our current learning process?

How do we hold ourselves responsible for deliberate wise action beyond this historic moment?

Last year, our board created an Inclusivity Team, co-led by Cinema Wood and Annie Mahon. We recognize that there is much more work to do in order to be effective. At this time, we commit to: 1) more thoroughly educating ourselves about anti-racism and ally work, and 2) making focused efforts to bring more people of color, and Black people in particular, onto our board and into central roles at the studio. As a board, we are committed to dismantling white supremacy in our community and the world. We acknowledge that these are partial steps and will continue to reflect deeply on ways we can make meaningful change.

We all are called to be focused on and dedicated to moving deeper into clarity and love with courage and resolve—and we ask you to join us in developing and strengthening Circle Yoga as a place of anti-racist practice and allyship. Equality and equanimity are the heart of how we understand the true practice of yoga.

With gratitude,

The Circle Yoga Cooperative Board of Directors
Anna Callon
Annie Mahon
Cinema Wood
Jennifer Pape
Jodi Jose
Kellie Finn
Mercedes Santos
Yael Flusberg