I struggle with using the word yoga to describe my creations. Conversations about cultural appropriation have educated me around the misrepresentation of yoga in the west.
cultural appropriation definition
Yoga Culture Advocate, Susanna Barkataki, defines cultural appropriation as, "when someone uses someone else's culture, including practices, symbols, rituals, fashion, or other elements from a target or "minority" culture, without considering the source, origins or people of that culture."
The word Yoga is more than just asana and meditation.
tree drawing of the 8 limbs of yoga by keenonyoga.com
While the props I create are used for those two aspects of yoga (supporting the physical body through movement and in stillness), Bolstered feels like the purest expression of my yoga practice.
Making high quality, handcrafted, and upcycled yoga props has given shape to the values I've gleaned from yoga philosophy.
Let me be specific.
The Yamas help inform us of a moral compass, specifically around how we engage with the world around us. We can also lean on them as we reflect on how we treat ourselves.
Here's how they've informed my beliefs and creation process.
Being resourceful helps reduce the harm imposed on the planet and the life it sustains (including you). Let's reduce our impact. Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle!
Two quotes that struck a cord with me when I first heard them were: "Yoga is not about being good at something, it's about being good to yourself."
and "We don't use the body to get into the shape. We use the shape to get into the body." - Bernie Clark
Let's be honest with ourselves in our practice so that we are truly supported, in each of our unique, individual bodies.
Let's not rob the environment and other living beings of health and happiness. Be mindful of the impacts of your consumption. See, also, ahimsa.
In this culture, our tendency is very yang. Do, go fast, achieve, try harder. It's helpful to balance it out with some rest, stillness and permission to just be.
Aparigraha (non-greed, non-hoarding)
Getting new things spikes dopamine levels. We become addicted to new, new new and think that unless we scratch that itch, we'll be living with a void.
Instead of getting stuck on that rat-wheel of a lack-mindset and shopping addiction, look around and see what you already have that could meet your needs. And if you decide you need to acquire something, look for something that's been upcycled or repurposed first!
Now check out some "behind the seams" of the creation behind Bolstered Yoga Props.