Our mission

At EkhartYoga, our mission is to share the love of yoga to create positive change in the world. One of the ways to do this effectively is through meaningful and genuine connection with our fellow humans, regardless of gender, age, body type, race, religion, or sexuality.

Our evolvement

Our team (a small one behind the scenes and large one in front of the camera) has evolved over the years through personal contacts in the Netherlands, people we’ve trained with and recommendations from our members. However, this organic approach has meant we have unconsciously contributed to the already over-saturated, ‘white landscape’ of yoga and the wellness industry as a whole.

We have a more diverse team now in terms of gender and age, but we acknowledge we need to do far better with regards to creating a truly diverse and inclusive environment – one where everybody (and every body) from all backgrounds feels welcome and represented. It is with this admission in mind that we set forth our diversity pledge, outline the actions we have taken, and the goals we are working towards.

Our pledge

We are committed to creating an environment that includes, welcomes and supports all people – regardless of their gender, age, race, ethnic origin, body type, religion, sexuality and background – both within our organisation and throughout the wider yoga community.

Here are the steps we have taken so far:

Training

We are working with a diversity and inclusivity consultant, Holiday Phillips, who has provided team and management training, focusing on the following key points:

  • Diversity: How we can build a more racially diverse community of employees, students and teachers. 
  • Equity: How we can play our part in creating a more racially just world, within yoga and beyond.
  • Inclusion: How to create a community where people of all races can meaningfully connect and thrive.

This training will be ongoing and will be compulsory for all new members of staff.  

Recruitment

We have taken measures to support the recruitment and promotion of underrepresented minority groups, allocating time, budget and focus to seeking out BIPOC teachers. We realise that we have not done enough so far and are now prioritising these efforts. Since October 2020 we have recruited three BIPOC teachers, and are in the process of recruiting more.

Future plans include a commitment to addressing ableism, ageism, and all forms of gender and sex discrimination in our recruitment.

Education

For an organization to change there needs to be a collective shift of individual minds. To that end, we have sought to educate ourselves – individually and as a team – by introducing a regular discussion group – sharing and learning from resources such as books talks, seminars, podcasts, articles, documentaries and films.

Visual representation

We have improved our visual representation of BIPOC teachers in marketing material and on our website as a whole and will continue to ensure more people of colour feature in our photoshoots, videos, and on our channels. We have supported and promoted events and projects that advance the causes of diversity and justice.

Language

Language is important. It has the power to include, offend and confuse. As an organisation that places community and connection at its heart, it’s important for us to take a stance on what the most appropriate language is. This isn’t about banning words or “getting it right” but giving our team a framework for language that has been thought through and considered. 

Listening and learning

We have taken steps to listen and learn from people of colour in the wellness industry and in the wider Black Lives Matter movement, to broaden our networks on social media, and in person. We have also sought – and continue to invite – teacher recommendations from members and our teaching team. If you would like to recommend a teacher, please drop us a line. 

Strategy

We have put together a 12-month action plan, to be repeated yearly, outlining our goals and assigning budget and team members who are accountable for carrying out the work. We have put into place quarterly meetings where we discuss these plans, action, and learnings. In short, we have made diversity, equity and inclusion a strategic initiative. This is not simply a commercially-driven decision but one that we hope has positive repercussions for the wider yoga landscape.

Our goals:

  • Continue to take positive action to support the recruitment and promotion of underrepresented minorities, beginning with BIPOC teachers.
  • Challenge and speak out against racism and white body supremacy on social media.
  • Start a mentoring scheme for inexperienced teachers of colour by existing senior teachers.
  • Offer scholarships for teacher training and coaching places for people from marginalised communities.

As a yoga platform with a large and loyal community, we are in a unique position. It is our duty to widen these connections further and provide a safe, open, honest and non-judgmental space where all are welcome. Individually, we have an opportunity to dig deeper into our own own biases and apathy; collectively, we have the opportunity to play our part in creating a more racially just world. And ultimately, this is what it’s all about. 

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