The history of yoga is a fascinating and oft revered topic. How many times do you hear about the “ancient” and sacred practice that’s thousands of years old? And how this Eastern practice and philosophy made its way West to eventually evolve into what we’ve come to know as modern yoga? But what we know about western yoga is mostly white. What’s missing from the yoga conversation then, and many would say still now, is how the practice was experienced and elevated by black communities. This short documentary, The Uncommon Yogi: A History of Blacks and Yoga in the U.S. aims to uncover the history that has been buried through time but not lost.
The documentary is full of interesting and unknown facts like, did you know Paramahansa Yogananda set up a special study group for African Americans back in the 20s because segregation kept them from attending his talks? Or that Eartha Kitt was big into yoga? Or that jazz legend John Coltrane and his wife Alice explored meditation and Alice went on to become a guru?
And there’s so much more. We invite you to take 30 minutes out of your day to educate yourself.
From executive producer and executive director of the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance, Jana Long, The Uncommon Yogi: A History of Blacks and Yoga in the U.S.