Michelle Johnson’s new book, Skill in Action: Radicalizing Your Yoga Practice to Create a Just World, is a primer on the skills needed to radicalize your Yoga practice to create a just world, inspire you to connect with your dharma, and explore the intersection of social justice and Yoga. With over 20 years of experience leading dismantling racism work and working with clients as a licensed clinical social worker, she has a deep understanding of how trauma impacts the mind, body, spirit, and heart.
Michelle said that “When I first heard the phrase, ‘Yoga is skill in action’ I was co-leading a Yoga workshop with a colleague on Yoga for social change. My colleague shared a few verses from the Bhagavad Gita: ‘No effort is wasted and no gain ever reversed; even a little bit of this practice of Yoga will shelter you from sorrow’ and ‘Yoga is skill in action.’”
The words, “Yoga is skill in action” resonated deeply in Michelle’s spirit and she felt those words to be “an antidote to the commodification and cultural appropriation of Yoga in this U.S.” The words felt like an answer to various inquiries she’d been pondering focused on how “Yoga was being practiced in this country absent of spirituality, married to capitalism and as an exclusive practice designed to serve those that dominant culture deems deserving of health and wholeness.” The words aligned with Michelle’s social justice roots, so much so that she created a teacher training on Yoga and social justice. The idea of Yoga being skill in action coupled with her experience of spiritual bypassing in many yogic communities called her into writing a book about what it actually means to be skillful as we create justice in the world.
According to Michelle, skill in action invites one into practicing Yoga as a way of being and living so that we all can be free. Skill in action is a way of life that illustrates what it means to live Yoga for the transformation and liberation of all beings. It is an analysis of Yoga that accounts for institutional and cultural forms of oppression while holding liberation at the heart of the practice. It is about feeling the connection between all beings and taking steps to serve the collective good with a goal of justice for all. It asks Yoga practitioners and social change agents to take the benefits and lessons that come from a contemplative practice and to use their power to influence the world. Put into practice, it means continually asking yourself how your practice of Yoga and meditation transcends the mat and cushion. And asking yourself how your practice of Yoga is contributing to the liberation of all beings.
About Michelle Johnson:
Michelle Johnson is a social justice warrior, author, dismantling racism trainer, empath, Yoga teacher and practitioner, and an intuitive healer. With over 20 years of experience leading dismantling racism work and working with clients as a licensed clinical social worker. To learn more, visit: michellecjohnson.com