Last week Emma and Leena posted a post with some helpful definitions on gender, sex and identity. You might want to check that out first, if you’re not familiar with some of the terms below)
We’re pleased to announce a new class is joining our schedule starting in May:
Queer & Trans Yoga
Sundays 6:00-7:00pm with Shannon Knutson
A class for folks who self-identify as queer, trans, LGBTQ+ and want to be part of a positive community space. All abilities, bodies, and sizes are welcome and celebrated in this beginner-friendly class. Sliding scale price ($3-15) with all proceeds going to local Queer and Trans-Positive organizations.
Our intention is to provide a gathering place for yoga practice for those who may feel underrepresented in yoga studio communities, and help create a safer space where students can celebrate who they are. Queer and Trans Yoga is for all levels, and we will focus on breathing, mindfulness, and strength-building in a supportive and body-positive environment.
A private, all-gender changeroom and washroom is available at the studio.
An optional community gathering to share coffee/tea/snacks will be held once a month after class. Join our Facebook group “QSY Queer and Trans Yoga”, or call or email us for details and updates.
The first question many people have is, “Why have a specific class for people who identify as Queer or Trans?”
Just to be clear: all genders, orientations, identities and expressions are welcome in all of our classes. However, we also want to offer a space for people who identify as queer or trans to gather and be in community together. We want to help create a space where people who identify as queer and trans feel invited and safe to explore yoga and celebrate who they are.
If you feel comfortable in the studio, you could ask yourself if that is because you are surrounded by people that are similar to you. It’s helpful to remember that not everyone experiences that. When we are in a space where we feel comfortable, it can be easy not to see the ways that others might feel excluded, uninvited, underrepresented, and therefore uncomfortable.
We recognize that we live in a culture where people presumed to be heterosexual and cisgendered dominate the media and advertising, particularly when it comes to images of yogis. People who identify as trans or queer might feel invisible, or marginalized in spaces, like yoga studios, where others feel comfortable and well-represented. People who see their body-type or gender expression represented in yoga advertising or books, will probably feel more comfortable coming into a yoga space.
There are a lot of images in yoga media of cisgender women (who are also usually thin, flexible and white) and that’s who we primarily see showing up in yoga studios. It’s great that they are doing yoga and are part of yoga communities. But, what if you’ve never seen someone similar to yourself represented in yoga images? It might be more difficult or even scary to try yoga if you think you’ll be the only person of your gender, size, race, sexual orientation, gender expression, or age. Even when yoga studios have the intention to be welcoming to all, sometimes a specific invitation, or a class for a specific group helps the space feel safer for individuals to feel like they will belong.
Over time, we would love to have our studio and more of our classes reflect greater diversity of age, sex, gender expression, sexual orientation, race, economic position, and body size. We hope that through specific classes like Yoga for Round Bodies, Queer & Trans Yoga, by-donation Community Classes, free Yoga in the Park, and different classes and workshops for various levels and abilities, we can include and celebrate more diversity in our community and share the benefits of yoga more broadly.
We have experienced a lot of openness in the QSY community, and we hope you’ll join us in spreading the word about our new class.
We are especially hoping that this class will be accessible to high-school aged people, as that can be a particularly challenging time for individuals who are questioning or discovering their identity, or who do identify somewhere along the queer or trans spectrum but don’t have a lot of support or community.
This post was written by Leena Miller Cressman & Emma Dines.