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Is Yoga Welcoming to Indigenous People?

Thursday, April 15 2021, 6 pm to 7:30 pm, By Donation

Live via Zoom

Yoga – an ancient Indigenous practice from South Asia – has much in common with Indigenous spiritual practices in North America. You might expect that First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people would be fairly comfortable in the yoga community. In fact, North American expressions of yoga can seem very unwelcoming to Indigenous people. On April 15, a Yoga Outreach Out Loud conversation with Avis O’Brien and Jennifer-Lee Koble, moderated by Chastity Davis, will explore some of the barriers to yoga for Indigenous people.

“The issue isn’t that Indigenous folks need special adaptations,” says Jessica Barudin, Traditional Wellness Specialist at First Nations Health Authority (FNHA). “It is shifting the societal dynamics and the way yoga is currently modelled and offered in dominant culture.”

Avis O’Brien (Nalaga) is a Kwakwaka’wakw and Haida artist. She is a weaver, teacher, designer, and cultural empowerment facilitator. She is also a guest facilitator in several Yoga Outreach trainings.

Jennifer-Lee Koble is a Metis and Cree counsellor and social worker, who specializes in supporting Indigenous healing through life transitions and intergenerational trauma.

Panel moderator, Chastity Davis is a “builder of bridges” between Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups, coaching many BC businesses toward better relationships with First Nations. She is a member of the Tla’amin Nation on BC’s Sunshine Coast.

Come prepared to shake up your perspective. 

There will be time for respectful audience questions. Viewpoints and questions from Indigenous attendees will be given priority.

All proceeds from this event will go towards supporting further development of the First Nations Women’s Yoga Project a partnership between Yoga Outreach & Cedar + Gold.

Chastity Davis

Chastity Davis, MA, BA, DiplT (she/her) is a mixed-heritage woman of First Nations and European descent, a proud member of the Tla’amin Nation as well as English and Ukrainian. Chastity has been sole proprietor of her consulting practice, Chastity Davis Consulting for close to a decade. She embodies the spirit of reconciliation in her personal and professional life as she is both First Peoples and settler of what we now call Canada. Chastity has practiced yoga for 18 years and been teaching for close to 3 years. She is a certified Yin and Kundalini Yoga Teacher and weaves in her reconciliation work to her yoga practice. chastitydavis.ca

Avis O’Brien (Nalaga) - Facilitator

Avis O’Brien (Nalaga), a Haida/Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw artist, was born in Alert Bay, British Columbia. She belongs to the Kaa’was Staa’stas Eagle Clan from Kiusta Village in Haida Gwaii and the Geegilgum Clam of the Lig̱wiłda’x̱w people of Cape Mudge.

She is a weaver, teacher, designer and cultural empowerment facilitator. She started her company, Nalaga Designs in 2013 as a way to share the cultural knowledge and beauty of cedar bark weaving with the world. Cedar bark weaving has been her connection to the rich culture of the Haida and Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw, and has also been a doorway for her into cultural empowerment facilitation. Cedar bark weaving has been part of the culture of the peoples of the Northwest Coast for thousands of years; it was and continues to be an integral part of the culture. Her jewelry, baskets and hats represent an important continuation of the ancient legacy of Northwest Coast woven adornment. Avis fuses age-old techniques with modern style to create products that can be shared with the world.

Jennifer-Lee Koble MSW, RSW is Métis/Cree from Northern Saskatchewan. She has over twenty years of experience in facilitation and teaching. Jennifer-Lee is currently an Adjunct Professor at the UBC School of Social Work teaching Indigenous Peoples and Critical Social Work Analysis and works in private clinical practice working with Indigenous individuals and families. She has a passion for supporting the healing and understanding of the historic and ongoing impacts of colonization throughout all of her work. Jenniferleekoble.com

Our Vision for Yoga Outreach Out Loud: Curated Conversations

We love hearing about yoga transforming lives, but we’re also curious about what happens next.
How have people extended the principles of yoga in unique ways to make active, community-changing choices?
Four times a year, Yoga Outreach will invite a carer, teacher, or activist from our community to share how yoga shows up in their life and work in conversation with a YO host. Audience members will have a chance to ask questions, share stories, and meet other people interested in the same topic. 
Yoga Outreach believes the diversity of experiences, ideas, individuals, and organizations in our community makes us stronger. To create a more just and engaged world, we must
  • embrace and celebrate diversity,
  • practice inclusion, and
  • exercise leadership as a champion of equity.

We recognize that we cannot do this work alone. Instead, we commit to uplifting the voices and work of people already devoted to sharing their lived experience of intersecting systems of oppression. By championing these voices, we support others to resist oppressive patterns in their own practice and lives.

With this as our guiding principle we are working to cultivate conversations that are diverse both in topics and in presenters’ lived experiences.

Do you have a story you’d like to share? We are accepting applications from folks with diverse lived experiences to apply to be part of this speakers series. Please complete the application form below.

YO Speaker Application

Application to speak at a YO event.
    In general you will receive 1 email from us /month.
  • What's your story and why would you like to share it.
  • If yes, please tell us about it. If no, please tell us why you'd like to start with us.
  • If you have a website please share it with us.