Yoga Journal - Interview
Excerpts from Yoga Journal
“In light of recent events pertaining to the murder of George Floyd, I have seen a tremendous hunger in the yoga community on how they can be more engaged with matters of racial justice and civil rights,” says Reginald Hubbard, a yoga teacher and senior political strategist and congressional liaison for MoveOn.org, a public policy advocacy group.
Hubbard teaches yoga and meditation to political operatives, congressional staff, and members of Congress including “The Squad” (Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib), and says that wellness should serve as a foundation rather than an afterthought. For Hubbard, his pledge to Yogins United is part of a larger effort to reform the status quo through community engagement. “My hope is to use my teaching platform to share from my activist experience about why voting and civic engagement matters, and to help organize the community through online live events like the Wellness of We,” he says.
REGINALD HUBBARD, E-RYT
Senior Political Strategist and Congressional Liaison for MoveOn.org
I have been teaching members of Congress, congressional staff, and political operatives basic asana and meditation to impact their work, with a focus on wellness as a foundation rather than an afterthought. My hope is to use my teaching platform to share from my activist experience about why voting and civic engagement matters, and to help organize the community through online live events. In light of recent events pertaining to the murder of George Floyd, I have seen a tremendous hunger among the yoga community on how they can be more engaged in general and with respect to matters of racial justice and civil rights.
I haven't seen voter suppression in terms of intimidation, but we are currently fighting efforts by the Trump Administration to restrict vote by mail and to bankrupt the post office in an attempt to make his re-election chances improve. Or when the Wisconsin Republican party forced polls to open during the height of the pandemic a few months ago and willfully under-resourced the election in an attempt to influence a state supreme court race. Or in 2018, when the Georgia secretary of state invalidated significant numbers of African American voters that would have likely gone to Republican challenger Democrat Stacey Abrams.
If anything positive can be said of the current administration it's that it has awakened the grassroots energy and collective civic consciousness to speak truth to power and give voice to the type of society we want and deserve. Based on my perspective and the work that I have done in the past several years in the heart of the grassroots resistance (at MoveOn and on the Bernie 2016 campaign), and on what we are seeing now in response to the passing of Mr. Floyd, I am hopeful that the people will be able to push a new administration in the direction toward evolution of a more humane, loving, and just society that’s less focused on racial, class, or gender discrimination.
I am hopeful that a new administration will have a mandate for tremendous reform, by We the People who, should they not deliver, will hold them accountable. We’re seeing the beginnings of a formation of a new coalition of multi-racial and intergenerational citizens protesting in the streets to have their voices heard. I’m seeing a similar self-organizing taking place in the yoga community and wellness space. With my students and my teaching practice, I try to speak candidly from my experience and be accessible for questions on whatever topics come up (lately they have ranged from yogic philosophy to diversity and inclusion in the yoga community, to how one may get more engaged politically). I think real and lasting change is rooted in not just personal healing and transformation, but also interpersonal connection and community.