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George Mason University Now Offers 'Inclusive' Yoga for Social Justice Advocates


"It is unclear how a yoga class specifically for social justice activists is different from regular yoga."

Paula Walker participates in a yoga class at the Green Monkey yoga studio on December 10, 2013 in Miami Beach, Florida.Taking time to exercise, unplug and relax are great ways to relieve stress. Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

George Mason University's Women and Gender Studies Center is reportedly hosting a "Community Yoga for Activists" program that claims to offer an "inclusive" experience for its attendees on Wednesdays.

Although the Fairfax, Virginia-based university already offers a variety of yoga and other fitness classes on its campus, the "Community Yoga for Activists" offers a unique experience. The advertisement for the new program, which was obtained by MRC-TV reporter Ashley Rae Goldenberg, asks activists to "join us for an inclusive yoga practice centered around community and social justice."

In her post, Goldenberg sarcastically noted the apparent irony in GMU offering an "inclusive" experience to an exclusive set of activists.

"It is unclear how a yoga class specifically for social justice activists is different from regular yoga," Goldenberg wrote. "Are there ten minutes of complaining about microaggressions at the start of each class? Are stretches modified so that people in wheelchairs are able to complete all of the exercises? Is the entire practice stripped of any reference to yoga's original Indian roots to prevent people from being offended by cultural appropriation?"

GMU's Women and Gender Studies program, which was founded on the model of the "three-pronged" stool of "teaching, research and activism," offers classes that "interrogate systems in inequality, including gender, sexuality, race, class, ableism, religion, and region of the world," according to its website. The program also offers "expertise in human rights, transnational migration, sexuality studies, disability studies, gender based violence, incarceration, minority and interracial families, health policy, environmental and ecofeminist issues, women writers, and masculinity studies."


Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter

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