Tara standing in the forest with a backpack on, smiling.
Image Description: A picture of Tara – in a white body – wearing a red sweater, a black and white baseball cap with a light grey toque over top, and a large, green backpack. They are smiling.

Welcome friends! I am grateful for the opportunity to share this digital space with you. My name is Tara (they/them) and I am a Yoga philosophy practitioner and teacher.

My vision is an uprising of the one person revolution, where every human being has the freedom to choose to take effective self-responsibility for their own good (and the good of all people).

The spaces that I create are opportunities for you to empower yourself by taking charge of, and being responsible for, your own life. Patañjali’s Yoga is the moral philosophy that underlies all sessions. This means that, regardless of what we are doing, we are practicing doing it based on right procedure rather than good outcome.

You can find out more about my experience and story below.

If you would like to support my work, please consider joining the Network of Support here: www.theonepersonrevolution.org/product/network-of-support. I am deeply moved by every contribution that is gifted!

Thank you for this opportunity to practice living life alongside you,

Tara

GUIDING VALUES

CHOICE

You are a sovereign being. Your ability to choose is respected and your personal boundaries are respected.

EMPOWERMENT

You possess the strengths, resources and abilities required to resolve your challenges.

SELF-RESPONSIBILITY

You have the opportunity to practice personal freedom: that is, being in charge of, and responsible for, your life.

INTEGRITY

You will be introduced to teachings within the context of a deep dedication to unlearning western imperialism and the decolonization of yoga.

ASSUMPTIONS

The following assumptions (in no particular order) form the basis with which I currently hold and navigate space. You do not have to agree with them; I share these in an effort to be transparent, which I hope will allow for healthy conflict, accountability, learning and connection.

  1. All beliefs and truths are contingent.
  2. People are agents who are capable of creating change through the decisions that they make.
  3. Everyone born into the system of western imperialism is both (a) being harmed by it and (b) being taught to harm by it. Unless one is actively unlearning the system, they are upholding the status quo. There is no neutral.
  4. Radical nonviolence is the only way to respond to violence without replicating it.
  5. You and I are interconnected and our wellbeing is bound.
  6. A yoga lifestyle is a political one. It is not an escape from the harm that is happening, but rather an investment in interrupting the harm that is happening.
  7. Yoga is secular philosophy that does not require shared beliefs in order to practice.
  8. Healing, growth and transformation require empowerment, so we have to talk about systemic disempowerment.
  9. Your practice is your practice. No one can do this work for you; only you can revolutionize your life.

“Prepare and expect to fail. And expect to learn most from failures and missteps and less from success.” – Victor Lee Lewis

INSPIRATION AND INFLUENCE

I am incredibly grateful for the the influence of all of my teachers. The following people in particular have inspired and influenced the way I show up in this world, and I would highly recommend their work to anyone.

Dr. Shaym Ranganathan, leaning against a wall and smiling.

Dr. Shyam Ranganathan

MA (Philosophy), MA (South Asian Studies), PhD (Philosophy), founder of YogaPhilosophy.com.

 

You can find out more here:

www.yogaphilosophy.com

www.shyam-ranganathan.info

Miki Kashtan outside smiling.

Miki Kashtan

Co-founder of Bay Area Nonviolent Communication (BayNVC) and Lead Collaboration Consultant at the Center for Efficient Collaboration.

 

You can find out more here:

www.mikikashtan.org

www.baynvc.org

Dr. Marshall Rosenberg smiling.

Dr. Marshall Rosenberg

PhD (Clinical Psychology), founder and director of educational services for The Center for Nonviolent Communication.

 

You can find out more here:

www.cnvc.org/about/marshall

Vic Dicara outside smiling, looking away from the camera.

Vic DiCara

Author, Sanskrit translator and founder of Vic DiCara’s Astrology.

 

You can find out more here:

www.vicdicara.com

www.youtube.com/vicdicarasastrology

EXPERIENCE

Yoga Outreach: Volunteer

Yoga Outreach Volunteer

(Current)

 

Yoga Outreach is a Canadian Registered Charity, and every year, they deliver 1000+ trauma informed yoga classes to social service agencies and facility partners across British Columbia.

Classes are led by an incredible team of qualified, volunteer yoga teachers.

 

What is Trauma Informed Yoga?

After experiencing trauma or abuse, many people report feeling disconnected from their bodies. Some people even numb the connection intentionally, as a survival strategy.

A trauma informed yoga class can be a safe, welcoming environment where people can begin to reconnect with their bodies.

 

Teaching from a trauma informed place may create a healing space by:

  • offering choices,
  • guaranteeing no hands-on assists, and
  • providing opportunities to get curious about sensation.

 

Relationship building and personal agency is our top priority in this type of class.

Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Volunteer

Extinction Rebellion Volunteer

(Current)

 

Humanity finds itself embroiled in an event unprecedented in its history. One which, unless immediately addressed, will catapult us further into the destruction of all we hold dear: this land, its peoples, its ecosystems and the future of generations to come.

 

The science is clear: we are in the sixth mass extinction event and we will face catastrophe if we do not act swiftly and robustly.

 

At the core of Extinction Rebellion’s philosophy is nonviolent civil disobedience. We promote civil disobedience and rebellion because we think it’s necessary — we’re asking people to find their courage and to collectively do what is necessary to bring about change.

 

We aren’t focused on traditional systems like petitions or writing to our MPs, we’re more likely to take risks (e.g. arrest / jail time). We don’t want or need everyone to get arrested — for some this is not a good idea — but we do want everyone involved to support civil disobedience as a tool. We are promoting mass “above the ground” civil disobedience — in full public view. This means economic disruption to shake the current political system and civil disruption to raise awareness. We are deeply sorry for any inconvenience that this causes.

 

We are about political change, not personal change (though we welcome the latter).

 

We are completely nonviolent, our actions are done in full public view and we take responsibility for them.

The Centre For Nonviolent Communication: Certified Trainer

Certified Trainer in Nonviolent Communication

(Currently in Training)

 

The Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) is a global organization that supports the learning and sharing of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), and helps people peacefully and effectively resolve conflicts in personal, organizational, and political settings.

 

CNVC’s mission is to contribute to more sustainable, compassionate, and “life-serving” human relations in the realms of personal change, interpersonal relationship and in social systems and structures, such as business/economics, education, justice, healthcare, and peace-keeping.

 

By the time the Certification process is complete, participants will have:

  • A strong grounding in NVC consciousness, demonstrated by their views of social change and NVC spirituality, and by participating in an NVC community.
  • A deep understanding of the NVC process, and proficient teaching skills, as well as a willingness to continue to grow in all these areas.
  • At least one year of teaching NVC as a non-certified trainer, including leading workshops and practice groups; significant training experiences with at least three different CNVC Certified trainers for guidance; and at least 50 days of NVC training over the course of three to five years.
UBC: Fluent, American Sign Language (ASL)

Fluent, American Sign Language (ASL)

(Currently in Training)

 

American Sign Language (ASL), the predominant sign language used by half a million North Americans. Learning sign language can help you create connections, bridge cultures and foster inclusivity.

 

Students come to understand how to use their hands, face and body to communicate, and be immersed in Deaf culture. Instructors are native signers who use gestures, facial expressions and humour to help students learn to communicate confidently and comfortably.

 

 

Yoga Philosophy: 100 Hour Level 1 Certification

100 Hour Yoga Philosophy Certification

(Currently in Training)

 

This course is designed to be a one of a kind ethical theory review on a global scale.

 

It begins with a broad review of standard Western ethical theory (Plato, Aristotle, Stoicism, Hume, Kant, Bentham, Mill), moves to influential East Asian ethical theory (Taoism and Confucius) and culminates in South Asian moral philosophy (Jainism, Early Buddhism, Later Buddhism, three main versions of Vedānta, and the related Pūrva Mīmāṃsā ). At the end, Yoga is reviewed from sources such as the Vedas, Upaniṣads, Yoga Sūtra, and the Bhagavad Gītā.

 

Students will come to appreciate how many of the popular ideas associated with Yoga (scams) are actually derivable from famous Western options that are projected on to Yoga, and how Yoga constitutes a radical moral theory that, in practice, disrupts systemic discrimination and harm, and is a basis for prosperity. Students learn how Yoga disrupts mechanisms associated with the world’s current problems for humans, nonhuman animals and the environment.

Skill In Action: 75 Hour Continuing Education Program

75 Hour Skill In Action Continuing Education Program

(2021)

 

This program is designed for trained teachers looking to deepen their spiritual practice and teaching and learn more about the intersection of justice and yoga.

 

It offers a comprehensive, inspired approach to transformational social change work. Students will gain knowledge and skills to connect the transformation on the mat to the change that is possible off of the mat.

 

This continuing education program is unique in that it is centered around radicalizing wellness and spiritual spaces; it’s centered around what it takes to stay engaged in a movement for social change, how to build relationships across lines of difference, and how to take collective action.

Yoga Outreach: 200 Hour Yoga Outreach Certification

200 Hour Yoga Outreach Certification

(2021)

 

This program offers participants a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the practices and philosophies of yoga using a trauma-informed, student-centred approach. Taught through a social justice lens, students will explore how yoga supports equity, inclusion, and community care within a class, and out in the world.

 

Students experience a blend of theory and practice from a trauma-informed perspective and will leave with a practical understanding of strengths-based teaching, a foundation in trauma-informed principles, and the ability to assess accessibility for various communities.

Shamanic Yoga Institute: 300 Hour Certification and Medicine Wheel

300 Hour Shamanic Yoga Certification and Medicine Wheel

(2020)

 

This certification is a series of initiations that strengthens participant’s relationship yoga asana, the Earth and the realms of Spirit. Through this experiential training one build’s a Mesa – a personal alter to hold a vision of one’s healed state and the power of one’s work in this lifetime. The limbs of Yoga are explored with an emphasis on asana and alignment maps in order to observe and experience a common foundation of forms in the body, and how to build upon this foundation.

 

This methodology comes from Mountain Shamanism, and the topography of this course is landmarked by three main threads: expressive arts, Shamanism and yoga (Non Dual Shakta Tantra).

University of Manitoba: Bachelor of Environmental Studies

B.Env.St. – Honours, University of Manitoba

(2014)

 

Environmental Studies focuses on the social, institutional, political, and legal aspects surrounding environmental issues and concerns.

 

Through an interdisciplinary approach, environmental issues relating to human population, sustainable resource development, pollution conservation, environmental health, endangerment and preservation of species are explored. In conjunction with alternative conditions that have the potential to reverse current trends and contribute to ecological sustainability.

TEACHING APPROACH

The work of living and aiming in life – applied moral philosophy – is not something that can be fully taught by any teacher or memorized by any student. In the Yoga Sūtra, the proper means of knowledge (epistemology) is described as such (YS I.7):

प्रत्यक्षानुमानागमाः प्रमाणानि
pratyakṣānumānāgamāḥ pramāṇāni 
The proper means of knowledge are three: (empirical) perception, inference (i.e. logic) and the (Vedic) scriptural tradition.

 

The following is my teacher’s commentary on the subject:

“Knowledge is of three types: empirical perception (or experience), logical inference and Vedic scripture. If a claim cannot be based on any of these sources, it does not count as knowledge, for Patañjali. This tripartite division of knowledge is important, for Patañjali will later claim that the ultimate validity of Yoga rests not on reasoning or scripture, but in its ability to describe things as they are (Yoga Sūtra I.49). Since it is based neither on reasoning nor on scripture, Yoga for Patañjali must be grounded on experience. This implies that the validity of the Yoga system, according to Patañjali, can be discovered by us all through our own practice of yoga: it is neither something to be taken on faith alone, nor because of a sophisticated argument, but because experience teaches us its validity.” – Dr. Shyam Ranganathan, www.yogaphilosophy.com

 

I have often felt stressed about teaching yoga. I have such a deep reverence for the teachings and sometimes feel protective of them, like I need to insulate them from my own shortcomings as I am a practitioner myself. I do not have all the answers, and at times I have allowed this to freeze me in fear. What is contributing to my growing comfort amidst the discomfort is a deeper appreciation for, and understanding of, the importance of practice for a student of yoga.

My role as a teacher is to make the introduction, to show the student the door to the teachings. The student themself is the one who has to walk through it [insert a Morpheus gif here 😉].

If you are looking for a low-effort solution to any unhelpful experiences that you are having, the spaces that I hold may not be a right fit for you at this time. (I still encourage you to poke around! You could start by reading about yoga philosophy here: www.theonepersonrevolution.org/what-is-patanjalis-yoga). I am not a ‘healer’ and I do not administer ‘healings.’ I make an active effort to give you power back in class settings so that all of your helpful results can be attributed to your practice and your choices, both of which require your effort.

If you are looking for a longer term exploration of solutions to unhelpful experiences, including a potentially radical shift in the way you live and aim in life, you might feel quite at home here. (Please consider that the word ‘radical’ in its original Latin means ‘forming the root’ or ‘inherent.’)

I can’t promise a ‘community’ feel; this is something I struggle with both as a practitioner and a teacher. I highly value autonomy and often times group membership requires some kind of sacrifice of autonomy for one or all individuals involved. This being said, I can promise a ‘network’ feel, where you will be connected with other practitioners who are also explorers like yourself. This is the one person revolution, but you don’t have to travel this revolutionary journey alone! I will facilitate connection between practitioners outside of class as requested, and am committed to creating opportunities in classes for one-on-one and small group interactions where appropriate.

 

In summary, I take full responsibility for showing you the door to the teachings. I take this responsibility very seriously and will always be open to constructive feedback to help me improve. I leave the responsibility of your learning and experiencing to you; remember, “Yoga for Patañjali must be grounded on experience.”

This is my student-centered, choice-driven, strength’s based approach to teaching, and I hope that you find it empowering on your journey!

STORYTELLING

I was born at the intersection of two rivers on Treaty 1 Territory – the land of the Michif Piyii (Métis), Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ and Souix (endonym Očhéthi Šakówiŋ) First Nations, so called Winnipeg, MB Can.

I currently reside on the unceded territory of the Semiahmoo, sc̓əwaθenaɁɬ təməxʷ (Tsawwassen), S’ólh Téméxw (Stó:lō), Kwantlen, and Á,LEṈENEȻ ȽTE (W̱SÁNEĆ) First Nations, so called Langley, BC Can.

To understand a bit more about my lived experience, you should know that I am in a white, thin body which is non-disabled and neurotypical, which was assigned female at birth. I grew up in a middle class family with access to generational wealth, and was born as an uninvited settler on, and citizen of, so called Canada with English as my first language. I have a post secondary education. I identify as genderqueer. My ACEs score is 1.

Often times, I am upheld and affirmed by the system of western imperialism. I hold an incredible amount of unearned privilege at the intersection of my identities. As I share this, I also acknowledge that there is no neutral; this current world is not a safe place for anyone to practice living life in, including people who hold large amounts of unearned privilege such as myself. I acknowledge that I am being consistently harmed by this system, even as it validates me. I also acknowledge and feel deep pain that the harm exerted by this system – through intentional, targeted campaigns of oppression – is much more severe and apparent for those who hold identities that are not valued by western imperialism.

As the fourth limb of Patañjali’s Yoga suggests, there is no magical boundary between you and I; we are interconnected and our well-being is bound. I have chosen to take responsibility for creating a world that (a) is safer for me (and therefore everyone) to practice living life in, and (b) meets my needs for empowerment, self-responsibility and choice; the offerings that I share through The One Person Revolution, and how I have structured this ‘business’ in general, is one expression of this choice.

So how did this business get started?

Rewind to 2018: I was one year into recovery from alcoholism and was approaching relapse. Everything ‘should’ have been fine, but it wasn’t. I was entirely disconnected from myself and abstinence from alcohol hadn’t changed that.

Around this time, I had started making and using synthetic-free bar soaps. The experience of autonomy and independence that came with learning this skill, combined with using these pure elements on my body, had a subtle and yet profound effect. I was inspired to share this experience with others, so I started a business called “Red Cedar Studio.” I handmade soaps and candles, experimenting with different recipes and getting creative with colour. The whole process re-awakened a part of me that had gone dormant, thinking that I could never be an artist. Sharing these products at farmers markets had my heart soaring; I loved the creative process, the interaction with clients, and the ability to share my new found art with others.

These are some pictures from that time.

The Red Cedar Studio logo.
Image Description: A graphic of the Red Cedar Studio logo. It reads, "Red Cedar Studio" in the middle in thin, dark brown font on top of reddish brown paint streaks. There is a green circle that surrounds the words and runs overtop of the paint.
Bars of soap curing on a cooling rack.
Image Description: A photo of three kinds of bars of soap, curing on a cooling rack. They are all neutral in colour, and are labelled off of the cooling rack by blue sticky notes. The cooling racks are on a wood table, along with a lamp and a set of coasters.
A candle that is lit that reads, "Ocean View."
Image Description: A picture of a lit candle, inside, that reads, "Ocean View." It is blue, and is sitting on a table.
Two candles in coffee cups outside on a table.
Image Description: A picture of two candles in coffee cups; one cup is olive green and the other is black. They are labelled with tags that look like tea bag tags which read, "Red Cedar Studio. Cup Candle Collection." The green one is labelled "Sweet Summer" and the black one is labelled, "Fig Tree."
A clear plastic box filled with four different types of bar soap.
Image Description: A picture of a clear plastic box with four different kinds of soap filling it. They are different colours and shapes, and are labelled with stickers on the soap surface. The box is sitting on a light brown wood surface.
1 liter milk cartons being used as soap molds.
Image Description: A picture of two, 1 liter milk cartons with one long side cut off and open. Inside there is curing soap. The cartons are outside on a table.
Three jar candles on a wood surface.
Image Description: A photo of three jar candles. From left to right, one is blue and labelled "Ocean View," one is green and labelled "Springtime," and one is pink and labelled, "Fruit Punch." They are on a light brown wood surface.

After a year of selling these products as a side business, in 2019 I decided to leave my full time job and jump into entrepreneurship. I engaged in a business rebrand, from “Red Cedar Studio” to “From The Hearth,” shifting from sharing merely soaps and candles to sharing tools and practices for self-(re)connection, which is what the products had assisted me with.

…And within 6 months we were in a global pandemic. Within 9 months I was introduced to whiteness and social justice. Within 12 months I was in a complete unlearning and unravelling journey of everything I thought I knew.

These are some pictures from that time.

Six different coloured bar soaps in a circle on a tree stump.
Image Description: A photo of six different coloured bar soaps on top of kraft boxes with white labels. They are arranged in a haphazard circle on top of a tree stump outdoors.
Image Description: A large metal shelving unit on wheels, with 5 shelves, four of which are filled with various coloured soap bars that are curing.

Between June 2020 and June 2021, what I came to realize is that I have been systemically disempowered since birth, having been taught to live and aim in a way that is harmful to both me and those around me. No other options for living and aiming were made available to me; no choice was provided.

I realized that systemic disempowerment is a tool to uphold the status quo. Humans born into imperialist cultures are taught to live in a perpetual state of survival mode. We are not taught to thrive, because then we wouldn’t need the system. No wonder physical and mental illnesses are so prevalent; we are experiencing the compounding effects of this system of harm not only from our lifetime, but the lifetimes of our ancestors who were also subjected to it. Generations of deep pain and profound resilience reside in each of us.

Then, I found Yoga.

Not stretching. Not movement. Not spirituality. I found moral philosophy, to which Patañjali’s Yoga is one contribution.

Moral philosophy constitutes a collection of ways of living and aiming. It highlights how many options we have – and therefore the choice that we get to make – about how to live this life. And as it turns out, there are many ways of living that offer a critical response to the harm of western imperialism.

Just because western imperialism has been normalized doesn’t mean it’s the only option.

The thing is, true to the imperialist way, it is rare that humans actually have the spaciousness available to them to

  1. understand that they have a choice about how to live and what to aim for,
  2. research and decide how they want to live and what they want to aim for, and
  3. take that action and also physically survive.

We do not have to scour the history books to see this violence in action. It is happening today all around us: human beings – you and me included – are denied our basic ability to thrive by the system of western imperialism and its subsidiaries (colonialism, capitalism, patriarchy, ableism, racism, ageism, the list goes on..).

My response to these realizations was – and continues to be – deep and profound grief. How can this be true? How could I not have seen it for so many years? Why did I just go along with it? How do I escape it now and still survive?

Enter: Yoga.

Patañjali’s Yoga is one way of many ways to live and aim; it is one path up the mountain of many viable options. As of now, it is the option I have chosen. You can read more about yoga as a way of living and aiming here.

Once I tasted the liberation that came with choosing how to live, I understood that this was the root of harm that I had been unearthing over the last three years.

No wonder I had been in so much pain. Alcohol dependence was a symptom of a deep incongruence within me. I was unable to process my emotions because western imperialism taught me that they were a weakness to be disconnected from. I was unable to connect with my needs because western imperialism taught me that they didn’t matter.

Just like when I realized the products that I made were tools for self-connection that I wanted to share, now I have realized that yoga is a process of self- (and therefore world-) transformation that I am compelled to share.

Systemic harm needs to stop if I (and everyone I know and don’t know) ever want to truly thrive.

Hence, another rebrand. From “From The Hearth” to “The One Person Revolution,” I am now so grateful for the opportunity to share actual solutions to the root cause of the harm that every person born into western imperialism is contending with.

The One Person Revolution logo.
Image Description: A logo that reads, "the one person revolution." to the right of a geometric representation of an owl's face. The graphic and writing are dark brown on a transparent background.

And so, I practice. This ‘business’ is an expression of my practice. Everything else that I do with my time is an expression of my practice. Yoga is the liberatory path that I have chosen and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share it with you.

There is no one right way to live; yoga is not the only path up the mountain. My hope is that, regardless of the path you choose, you understand that you have – and are making – a choice. In each moment, you are the one person revolution. The front line is everywhere. What are you creating?

My wish for you, and my wish for me, is that we continue to interrupt harm, to challenge ourselves, to own our values, and to create space for all other people to do the same. 

I honour you and I thank you for your practice,

Tara