Why Yoga & Social Justice?

Would you like to learn more about the philosophy and psychology of yoga
the universally applicable teachings for awakening out of human suffering?
Would you like to discover your personal dharma (duty, responsibility)?
Are you curious about the intersections of mindfulness, trauma, healing, and the imperatives of human life?
This unique, inspiring, and life-changing teacher training is a passionate call to those who long to use yoga as a social justice tool!  
Whether you’re already working in the field of social justice or endeavoring to start,
this program inspires the next levels of growth and courage. 
Social Justice is based on the concept of human rights in which all humans have, as their birthright,
the freedom to realize themselves.  

Build your Foundation

Acknowledge marginalized groups and special populations
Increase personal awareness and cultural competency
Open conversations around societal limitations, and the ways in which we unknowingly contribute to the cycles of marginalization
Recognizing the obstacles faced by many, such as:
Basic Needs, Health Care, Education,
Access to Resources, Developmental Trauma,
Access to mentors, support, or healthy community


The 200-hour Yoga Alliance registered teacher training program includes:

Four in-person immersion weekends
Live Dharma group meetings
Special guest instructors
Class observations and reflections
Practicum assignments based on your specialized concentration (Module 4)
Online course material
Anatomy and asana tutorials
Assigned readings (The Yoga Sutras, Bhagavad Gita, writings by Sarahjoy)
Mindfulness tools
Guided weekly asana and mindfulness exercises
Online forums for discussion with classmates


Complete the Application

Modules 1 & 2: Creating a Deep Foundation

Friday April 13th – Sunday April 15th, 2018
Friday May 25th – Monday May 28th, 2018
Two in-person immersion weekends
Live Dharma group meetings
We created these first two modules as an Urban Ashram Immersion.  Our intention is to effectively deepen your practice and study with immersive weekends that will transform, challenge, and inspire you as a student and new teacher of yoga.

Module 3: Skill Building

Friday June 8th – Sunday June 10th, 2018
Alignment (adjustments, cueing, language, props)
Anatomy, physiology & biomechanics
Teaching (demonstration, observation, assists)
The importance of self-care
How to be a conscious yoga steward (ethics, scope of practice)

Module 4: Specialized Concentration

Friday July 20th – Sunday July 22, 2018
Do you have an interest in working with or teaching yoga to marginalized populations?
Are you inspired to use yoga as a social justice tool?
This training prepares you to provide yoga as a life-changing, empowering, and accessible tool for those whose potential may as of yet remain untapped.
Complete the Application


The 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training tuition is $3,300.
Payment plans are available.  You can pay for the program in full, or via a 2-part or 4-part payment plan.

$250 of your initial payment will be held as a non-refundable deposit.


Financial assistance is available on a case-by-case basis.  yogajoy offers scholarships and work-trade positions in an effort to make teacher training programs financially accessible.

To see if you may qualify, complete the form below.

Scholarship Application


The scholarship deadline is February 28th, 2018.  We will wait until this date to review all applications before awarding any financial assistance.

Why combine Yoga & Social Justice?

Social Justice is based on the concept of human rights in which all humans have, as their birthright, the freedom to realize themselves. Yet, we live in a world with much social injustice, an injustice to which we, often unknowingly, contribute. Yoga is called a path of self-realization; yet this realization, to truly serve oneself or others, isn’t the realization of who we have been or who we might become, but rather the realization of who we are in our shared humanity, our vulnerability and our potential.

Yoga has within it the profound capacity to awaken us to this shared humanity as we discover in ourselves both the seeds of human capacity and the seeds of suffering. Blessedly, yoga also provides us with the tools to nourish the seeds of capacity and to address the seeds of suffering.

Yoga as an interpersonal tool is uniquely powerful as a means to social justice for, in the transmission of yoga from teacher to student, the perceived hierarchy, separateness, or labels of “the one in need” and “the one who supplies that need” dissolve in the shared experiences of breath, movement, and the surrender of identification to who we are or who we have been and who we perceive the other to be or to have been.  It is the journey, outlined in the Bhagavad Gita, within the contemporary dharmic field: the yoga mat.

When yoga is positioned to be accessible, inclusive, and respectful of the diversity and dignity of each student, it becomes a social justice catalyst – an opportunity for students, through the explorations of yoga’s life skills and tools for personal well-being, to experience themselves as Belonging, as worthy of their own Advocacy and Empowerment, and as capable of making contributions to the betterment of the whole.

Fundamentally, yoga and social justice is based on the following principles:

-When human beings are marginalized, shunned, isolated, or institutionalized we all suffer.

-Those who are pushed to the margins, or the shadows, represent the shadow side of our very selves, our culture and our communities. That which we can shun, is that which we shun in ourselves too.

-Those who are pushed to the shadows have critical things to teach us. We need to learn, from them, about their experiences of life and belonging (or the lost sense of belonging).

-When humans don’t feel they have a voice, they will act from a place of powerlessness and they will experience psychological pain that profoundly shapes their survival strategies.

-If we are to bring about a balanced community, one that supports the needs of all of its members and enables each of us to grow into our interpersonal and psychological, as well as spiritual, potentials, re-engaging these community members is essential.

-Yoga teaches fundamental life skills.

-These life skills transform our mental and physical health.

-These life skills make us better individuals, family members, and community members.

-All members of our community deserve access to the life-enhancing practices of yoga.

-All members of our community have something to teach us about life, human suffering, and human potential.

-When community is created, healing happens, for it re-knits our experience of belonging.

When we go to margins to learn from and offer support to others, we’re also going in to learn how to break down barriers (including ours), to integrate our personal shadow, to listen to the unheard voices of our brothers and sisters, and to catalyze the potential to awaken a sense of place and belonging. As we value all members of our community, we shape how the larger community values diversity and difference, too.


Sarahjoy on Yoga & Social Justice

(2002) As the larger (macro) culture in which I live and participate reflects my personal culture, and if my personal culture is to be reflected back in that larger community, it compels me to understand that when I deepen my sensitivity, cultivate my compassion, commit to my accountability and integrity, inquire into my blind spots, and engage in the reflective process that supports my emotional and mental well-being in all its depth and intricacy, including that I can acknowledge my own survival strategies (behavior tendencies) with transparency and accountability, I become a part of the healing process for the larger culture.
(2001) If we are to be true healers, our task is to reclaim those aspects of ourselves that our culture shuns, to take back our shadow,” as Robert Bly would say. We must start to see ourselves and those marginalized, institutionalized and disowned persons as somehow connected, for, fundamentally, we are!  The tools we have at hand for instilling this sense of connection include yoga, meditation, community, restorative justice, curiosity, communication, self-awareness, and our willingness to be uncomfortable enough to grow.
(1998, 2012, 2014) How do I see yoga being a tool for social justice? If the system is going to change from one of punishment to one of justice, how we see each other in the web of life has to change. How we understand healing and restoration of the self must undergo a radical shift.  It isn’t effective enough to focus only on the restraint of behaviors, such as those that are socially-challenging, cause harm to self or others, or continue to wreak havoc and generate community-wide vulnerability.  We must also focus on generating new life skills; learning new behaviors that develop respect, agency, and personal stability; creating new conversations based on capacity and potential, rather than limitations and failures; and open opportunities for this new efficacy to be expressed in community.  I believe that through such a process our now disenfranchised, under-supported, and isolated community members would move toward accountability for the pain they’ve caused and a natural urge for restoration would arise along with the inner sense that they have the capacity to carry out specific restorative actions.