Yoga Teach-In for Palestine: Interrupting Omwashing and Zionism’s Weaponization of Yoga
A discussion with Sheena Sood

Monday, January 29

This Yoga Teach-In calls on yoga teachers and practitioners to deepen their awareness of and solidarity with Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation and the genocide in Gaza by anchoring their yoga practice in a call for a ceasefire and an end to settler colonial apartheid.

The workshop has a 3-fold purpose. Attendees can expect to:

1) Deepen awareness of how Zionism and far-right military and law enforcement institutions around the globe weaponize yoga to advance ethnonational and colonial agendas against the Palestinian people;

2) Learn how yoga studios and practitioners, including those who call for “peace & love” and neutrality, are complicit in using yoga to normalize colonization and participate in spiritual bypassing; and

3) Strategize on how yogis and yoga communities can take action and build long-haul resilience to interrupt Zionism and “omwashing;” and organize our yoga practice in solidarity with Palestinian resistance and freedom.

Sheena Sood, Ph.D. (she/her) earned her Ph.D. in sociology from Temple University in 2019 and her B.A. in sociology and international affairs from Emory University. As a holistic educator, she brings a wide range of teaching experiences inside and outside the academy to the table and is excited to connect with the students at DelVal. Some of the courses she teaches include Introduction to Sociology, Social Movements, Critical Issues in World History, Gender and Social Change, and more! In the future, she plans to offer a signature course, Sociology of Yoga.

Her early research looked at South Asian American political groups in the northeast U.S. and used one-on-one semi-structured interviews and participant observation to examine how they engaged in political action and social justice advocacy. Sood’s newer research project, Omwashing Yoga: Weaponized Spirituality in India, Israel, and the US, brings a critical lens to the practice and popularity of yoga by investigating the growing incorporation of yoga and mindfulness by far-right law enforcement, military, and vigilante groups around the globe. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and also has a significant presence in the popular press, including as a guest on the Conspirituality podcast.

As a yoga practitioner who has studied yoga at Kailash Tribal School of Yoga in McLeodganj, India (YTT-200hr, AYTTC-500hr), Sheena teaches yoga at her local studio in West Philly and curates “Decolonizing Yog” workshops through frameworks that recognize yoga’s oppressive layers and liberatory potential. Sood is actively engaged in healing and racial justice movements in Philadelphia. Learn more here.