Via the divine Yoga and Soul, I ran across this yoga-positive article from Ebony Magazine’s September 1975 issue. It made me happy for several reasons. First off, it begins with a full-page photo of Yogi Bhajan (the Kundalini master who brought the form to the West in 1969, more on him soon) and the luminous Krishna Kaur (who deserves a post in her own right). She began a devoted study with the master in 1970, is still widely active in the international kundalini yoga community (particularly in L.A. and Africa), and continues to teach high-energy classes that I’ve been lucky enough to take on occasion.
Legendary activist Angela Davis highlights how she utilized yoga as a tool in her fights for social change. She practiced hatha yoga while she spent a year and a half in prison awaiting trial in California on charges connected to the Soledad Brothers case in 1970. In her words:
“Just the physical part was a help, in my case, because I couldn’t leave the cell for regular exercise. I have never used yoga as an end in itself but merely as a means of preparing myself for a more effective struggle. As a result of yoga, I am more energetic. I am able to go and appeal to people and to organize them to do the kinds of things that are vital to our freedom.”
She was subsequently acquitted on all charges.
For more info on yoga’s early adopters in the African-American community, the full article can be found here.