Pretzel Kids Stands with Black Lives Matter

By Robyn Parets

Like many of you, I have spent the past couple of weeks reflecting on the racial injustice that permeates our nation, culture and world. 

To make it crystal clear: Pretzel Kids stands with Black Lives Matter

To make it more crystal clear:  As a children’s yoga company and brand, we stand with Black people and vehemently condemn systemic racism.

We also understand that words alone will not change history and police brutality against Black people. Nor will it bring back George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and scores of others who have been killed over the past decade plus.

In fact, according to the New York Times, when Minneapolis “police get physical — with kicks, neck holds, punches, shoves, takedowns, Mace, Tasers or other forms of muscle — nearly 60 percent of the time the person subject to that force is black. And that is according to the city’s own figures.”

The Yoga Community Needs to Step Up

What many people don’t know is that in the yoga community, there is a ton of what’s called “spiritual bypassing.”

What is this? 

According to Psychology Today, spiritual bypassing is defined as using spiritual ideas and practices to side-step emotional feelings and tasks. Spiritual bypass is also often used to avoid and repress feelings or situations. 

To further explain, people can become addicted to a spiritual practice (like yoga and meditation) as a way of avoiding what needs to be healed. So, while these folks think they’re healing and uniting the world, they get caught up with spiritual woo-woo and become distracted from the pain happening all around us. 

Over the past week, spiritual bypassing has morphed into spiritual bypassing racism in yoga circles. I’ve read countless statements that leave a pit in my stomach: statements like All Lives Matter or We Are All One. Oftentimes, they include rainbow, heart or peace sign emojis. 

To better understand spiritual bypass racism in the yoga community, listen to this Opt-in podcast episode with guest Michelle C. Johnson, author, yoga teacher, social justice activist, licensed clinical social worker and Dismantling Racism trainer.

In fact, spiritual bypassing in the yoga industry is deeply disturbing and in essence, it is veiled racism. 

So, what can we actually do? 

Besides supporting Black owned businesses in Boston:

  • We are donating $$ to Lawyers for Civil Rights.
  • We are developing educational resources to share with our community of Pretzel Kids yoga teachers and the families we serve. 
  • We are working on programs to offer Pretzel Kids yoga to Black communities, starting in our hometown of Boston.
  • We are creating a program to train teachers who wish to offer our classes in Black communities.
  • And, I am educating myself, listening and learning – as are my adult white male children and husband. Part of this includes standing with #blacklivesmatter at Boston protests, rallies and vigils. Part of this includes listening to our Black friends. Part of this means reading books written by Black people about their experience – as we can never walk in their shoes. 

In the coming months, we will be sharing our Pretzel Kids yoga resources and plans. 

In the meantime, I’d like to leave you with this NPR/Marketplace podcast:”Will the George Floyd protests finally catalyze real change? with D’artagnan Scorza, founder and executive director of the Social Justice Learning Institute in Inglewood, California. My son Ethan works at NPR and is part of the video editing/production team for Marketplace. We are proud of the work he is doing to shed light on racial injustice in the United States. 

All lives can’t matter until Black Lives Matter

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