1. When and how did SAAPYA begin?
So many South Asian Americans have been talking about yoga in America, conversations generally private, held amongst friends and family. Roopa, the founder of SAAPYA, is often a part of these discussions, and is working to make public what needs to be shared. She is a first-generation, Indian American attorney with proven dedication to civic efforts, including experience in civil rights law, who is also a yoga teacher. Prior to becoming a business owner at a Brooklyn based health and wellness collective, Third Root, Roopa wrote comedy pieces about being Indian in a largely segregated yoga industry. Allies of all backgrounds began to express that they too were uncomfortable with segregation and appropriation in yoga. In the Summer of 2013, Third Root Education Exchange asked Roopa to organize a panel on the issue and she did that, plus develop the SAAPYA platform further, into an ongoing resource for South Asian Americans and our allies in the yoga field.
2. What does SAAPYA do?
a. Provides a Platform, Creates Curricula, Offers Trainings: SAAPYA is launching with a dynamic panel at the Brecht Forum, hosted by Third Root Education Exchange. In it’s first year, SAAPYA will continue to host public events designed to provide a platform for South Asian American voices and our allies in the yoga field. At the public events, best practices will be discussed as will a host of other issues, such as the relationship of yoga to religion, the impact of spiritual tourism on yoga offerings, what it means to “decolonize yoga,” and more. SAAPYA will also build this blog into a literary forum for participants, contributors and allies on the issue of cultural awareness in yoga. SAAPYA will create training curriculum based on these contributions, and offer cultural awareness in yoga trainings at conferences, universities, yoga teacher trainings and yoga studios.
b. Creates a Network: SAAPYA will also function as a national network and referral service for South Asian yoga practitioners in America. This network aims to support careers, create connections, and provide a useful resource for those looking for a referral to culturally aware yoga studios and teacher in their areas.
3. How can we contact SAAPYA?
Thank you for your interest, please email us questions, booking requests, or writing contributions at SAAPYA@gmail.com.