Reconciliation In Australia
The IYTA supports Reconciliation to increase knowledge, participation and pride in Indigenous Australian culture, to heal this country, and to Close the Gap of Indigenous Australians’ health and life expectancy.
We recognise many sympathetic connections between Indigenous Australian and Yogic practices including a great respect and care for land, animals, people and spirit; deep listening (e.g. Dadirri) and meditation (e.g. Winhangadurinya); ethics (e.g. Kanyini); conscious, holistic movement (e.g. Wayapa Wuurrk) and healing practices (e.g. We Al-Li). Hence we see the yoga community as readily aligned with the cause of healing and Reconciliation in Australia.
The IYTA endorses the comprehensive Yoga Australia Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and we are currently contributing to those aims in the following ways:
We promote events and disseminate knowledge to our Members that cultivate awareness of and connection with Indigenous Australian culture via our website, enews, and social media channels.
We include Welcome to Country at our large events and we Acknowledge Country at the commencement and completion of our Teacher Training course. We also encourage course lecturers and workshop presenters to Acknowledge Country at their discretion.
We ensure that there is always a Management Committee member who has undergone Cultural Awareness Training and who is actively responsible for seeking and communicating Indigenous perspectives in our decision-making process.
We participated in the Yoga on Country RAP launch on 21 June 2021 at Bendalong, NSW, in partnership with Ngungwulah Aboriginal Corporation and Yoga Australia. We gained a greater understanding of how our organisation can promote Reconciliation and this is an ongoing project for the IYTA.
Our Management Committee meets once a month and we will continue to review, refine and update our commitment to Reconciliation in consultation with our members, Ngungwulah Aboriginal Corporation and Yoga Australia.
We invite any of our members and stakeholders to contact us if you have knowledge, ideas or events in support of Reconciliation that you would like to share with us.
How to get involved in Reconciliation (with thanks to Yoga Australia for many of these suggestions)
- Join the Yoga Australia Reciprocity Group on Facebook and follow Ngungwulah on Facebook. Be part of the conversation.
- Learn how to be a good Indigenous ally. Learn the difference between behaviour that is tokenistic versus that of an ally or accomplice.
- Ensure that you know the name of the traditional owners of Country on which you teach yoga. Acknowledge the local Country and Culture prior to a yoga class or workshop. This brings people into a state of connection and reverence prior to starting their practice. For guidelines in speaking Acknowledgement of Country, speak from the heart and in your own words. For example:
We recognise the continuous and deep connection to Country, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first peoples of this nation. In this way we respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of this land, sea, the waters and sky. We pay tribute to the Elders past and present as we also respect the collective ancestry that has brought us all here today.
- Hang a place card at your studio, add an Acknowledgment to your email signature or purchase a Splash Page which Acknowledges Country loud and clear from the beautiful work of the Yoga Australia Yaan Circle member Scarlet Barnett.
- Consider bringing a Cultural Awareness training to your studio, Teacher Training course, or attend one online.
- Open the conversation with your local Traditional Custodians and community.
- Participate in Indigenous cultural festivals around Australia.
- Sustainably offer bursary classes to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members at your studio and if you run Teacher Trainings consider opening a position up for free to support Community and build relationships.
- Make purchase choices that support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and that speak to your commitment to heal this country. See:
Some other links and learning resources
AIATSIS – The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
Common Ground – learn about First Nations culture, history, knowledge and people, e.g. Songlines, Sorry Business
Indigenous Weather Knowledge – Bureau of Meteorology
Muru Mittigar – Organisation committed to advancing Aboriginal culture (in which Ros Fogg has been deeply involved)
NAIDOC – National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee
Uluru Statement from the Heart
Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World by Tyson Yunkaporta
Why Warriors Lie Down and Die by Richard Trudgen, about the Yolngu people of Arnhem Land. www.whywarriors.com.au/services/why-warriors-lie-down-and-die/