#55 – Yoga ‘Cult’ure: Whitewashing, Red Flags, & Repair | Sybil Nance

This week, we’re stepping outside the bounds of wellness ‘cult’ure etiquette with an honest peek behind the curtain of a multi-billion dollar industry – YOGA. Cultural appropriation. Wealthy white-centric standards of wellness. Spiritualized abuse of power. These are some of the mainstays of western yoga.

Sybil Nance has been involved in the world of yoga since 1994 and has worked as an international teacher trainer, studio co-owner, and yoga therapist. In this episode, she shares some of her personal experiences and hard-earned insights around retreat culture, trauma-informed considerations, and culty norms like performative trauma therapy. Candice shares about her own experiences in yoga/wellness training environments and how an understanding of confirmation bias has helped her to demystify ‘the practice.’

Sybil grapples with her former role as a teacher trainer and how she was trained to mimic a teaching style that, upon closer inspection, was traumatizing and coercive. She speaks openly about the regret she experienced when she realized she was paying her trauma forward. She and her former colleagues have since reunited and made repairs with students they once trained, and she shares how the impact has rippled outward.

More recently, Sybil was delivered a white woman wake-up call during a trip to India, and her story inspires a discussion around the insidiousness of a colonizing headspace. Finally, Sybil shares why she thinks the idea of ‘making a living’ as a yoga teacher is problematic and may be actively contributing to ever-increasing inequity. 

Sybil Nance has worked in the yoga world since the early 90’s as a international teacher trainer, the co-founder of a small boutique yoga studio, and a teacher trainer in yoga therapy. Currently Sybil offers small virtual programs supporting women as a spiritual mentor. She is trauma informed and she sits with women as they uncover their story of origin trauma patterns. She is a mom, step mom, sister, daughter, aunt, and grandmother. She is open to the work of repair and is fascinated in how varied and spectacular that work is. 

web: lovesybil.com | IG: @sybil_sukha

Referenced in this episode:

The stories and opinions shared in this episode are based on personal experience and are not intended to malign any individual, group, or organization.

Liked it? Take a second to support Candice Schutter on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!