Yoga as a Lens on White Fragility


White Fragility (definition): a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves." (DiAngelo, 2018).

I understand yoga to be a practice of learning to be present. 

Can I be present with racist thinking? Unconscious, conscious, passive, interactive, active.  

Can I be present with others pointing out what is racist in my thinking? How would a conversation like this affect my constructs regarding interdependence and acceptance? (See Language Matters: Empathy In Action, Feelings Needs Literacy) 

Perhaps thinking about white fragility, and how this is an important consciousness to live within personally and in interaction with my community, is a practice of radical presence. 

How to practice Becoming Aware of My White Fragility is individual. I am choosing to participate in a book discussion group, others may choose differently.


The book I am reading for inspiration and context is "Me and White Supremacy" by Layla Saad. I am choosing to take a "community and me" approach so I can infuse my Sangha Of One work with group wisdom. Then I am taking it into my meditation and journaling work intentionally. I hope to be able to be present with this as I aspire to understand all the ways racism has shaped me and how I view society. It's heart-work, tender, and freeing. A kind of Moksha, we might say. Once I understand, I can expand what I do and how I do it. It begins with me. 


Perhaps your interest and practices are similar, or they differ in choice and focus. If this book or other resources are inspirational to you, I rejoice in your inspiration. 

Yoga is a practice of radical presence. Current events are asking us to be present with the needs and feelings of ourselves and others. Asking us, demanding us to be a part of a change. I think it starts with presence.

Additional Resource: 

Race & Healing: A Body Practice with Resmaa Menakem


DiAngelo, Robin. (2018). White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. Bacon Press. Boston, MA. 

Menakem, Resmaa. (2017). My Grandmother's Hands. Central Recovery Press. 

Saad, Layla (2020). Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor. Sourcebooks, Naperville, IL.