Yoga, which is believed to have originated in pre-Vedic traditions in India in 3000 BCE, has crossed borders, regions, and cultures to connect people to their minds, bodies and souls.
In the 1880s, Swami Vivekananda, an Indian Hindu monk, gave the first lectures on yoga in the United States. Twenty five years later, Shri Yogendra, an Indian yoga guru, is widely credited with expanding the use of Yoga Asanas in the United States.
For the general public, the eruption of yoga started in the 1960s with teachers of Indian descent and was quickly appropriated and embraced by white individuals.
Yoga is a physically embodied meditation - to integrate the mind and body together. In addition to the cultural and spiritual aspects of yoga, there are many physical benefits, including stress reduction, flexibility, and injury prevention.
Despite the benefits of yoga, many yoga spaces and communities in the United States don't reflect the diversity of the country. In the US, about one in every 15 people practice yoga, but four-fifths of them are white. The lack of diversity in yoga is perpetuated by media, advertising entities, and yoga clothing brands that portray yoga practitioners as white, thin, and upper-class. In addition, the cost of becoming a yoga instructor and attending classes is prohibitive for many individuals.
Changing the yogi community to reflect the racial makeup of the United States starts with eliminating barriers and increasing representation.
The Melissa Ludwig Diversity in Yoga Scholarship will support a person of color on their journey to become a yoga teacher. The scholarship will go toward yoga instructor teacher training classes required to become a registered yoga teacher.
To apply, applicants will be asked to write about their love of yoga and how they plan to use their teachings to continue to set forth change and growth in world.