The events of the last few weeks have had a profound effect on all of us here at Rasa. We've spent the last week in introspection, pausing some of our operations, looking inward examining what we can do, and outward into the world we aim to be a part of changing. Below you'll find slightly edited versions of the posts we shared on FB and IG this week, outlining the work we've begun and our commitments going forward to be agents of change.
Rasa is here to serve all who want to support their health—& we are extraordinarily grateful for our community, which is full of diverse views. But...please know this is where we stand, & we are willing to make our engagement with difficult, confronting truths known.
All are safe here, & we emphatically request our community to engage in dialogue respectfully. Through mutual respect & compassion, we believe we can get beyond echo chambers. (POC, & especially Black folx, we support you in *not* taking on the emotional labor of engagement.)
Part One: Let's Tear Down the White Wall of Wellness
As a white-woman-business owner with a mostly-white community in the overwhelmingly-white wellness world, I feel a particular responsibility to lend our support to the action taking place now.
It’s heartening to see ppl work around racism/privilege; to see the book White Fragility sold out on Amazon; & many POC activists gain thousands of new followers.
About 18 months ago, I began introspective work on my whiteness & its privileges...20 years too late, and I’m still humbled & grateful that I did, as I sought to change the world in my own way through Rasa. I pray the wave of people meaningfully engaging with their whiteness is not an impulsive blip that fades with the news cycle.
**This work is a long haul.** No part of it is fun. Every part of it is worth it.
White ppl need strength in their inner resolve to Be The Change—which, yes, can be supported via adaptogens & a healthy lifestyle. Though the work is uncomfortable, it pales in comparison to existing in a system designed to keep you oppressed.
I’ve been asking the question for many months of how Rasa can be a platform that tears down the White Wall of Wellness. And now is the time for action.
☑️We also purchased this course for the randomly selected people below. 🙌
➡️To enter, they commented: “I am ready. I commit to” & added their commitments to anti-racism work.
And the winners were:
Pablo who commits to a new earth. A new consciousness. A new perception. A new action. A new way. A new nature.
Marissa who commits to listening and learning more and looking deeply at my personal and professional practices to see how and where I can be more inclusive and empowering.
Clarissa who commits to getting really uncomfortable. I am peeling back my layers to reveal the subconscious racism I was raised with so I can change and not raise my daughters with it.
Jennifer who commits to uncovering the deep programming of racism in my upbringing; I commit to finding out the answers within myself to the question: when did I decide that this is okay? that other people are inferior or to be afraid of? I commit to dismantling the chains of capitalism bit by bit in my own life as a way to freedom and as a way to help others and be of service. I commit to kindness in this process and understand it is a great unlearning and exorcism of sorts. I commit to seeing so that I can no longer unsee the justice. I commit to fully understanding that #BlackLivesMatter.
Leslie who commits to donating to our local Social Justice and Peace organizations; continuing the difficult conversations with my children, my friends, the elders in my life, members of my community; engage in peaceful protest; hold compassion for those moved to dismantle and disrupt through riot by way of passion and thoughts of necessity; continue my Metta and Tonglen daily practices; stay present in what is happening right now and participate in wise action and wise speech.
Rebecca who commits to listening to voices that share their struggles, and to speaking out against injustice. I commit to doing the hard and often uncomfortable work of uncovering my own prejudices, unlearning the racism that I have benefited from in my privilege. I commit to educating myself and creating space for my community to learn together.
Part Two: Wellness ≠ White, Elevating Non-White Voices
Let’s start with a simple question: WHY IS WELLNESS SO FREAKING WHITE?! The reasons behind this are complex & nuanced, but we want to start making a dent in the load of 💩that is white domination in the wellness world by working with & featuring BIPOC influencers & their businesses on a continual basis—in posts & (soon-coming!) weekly takeovers.
“I want to showcase that we *do* belong...at its core, being ‘well’ is less of a privilege and more of a right.”
We honor Kira’s words and her experience & will help create a world where wellness IS a given right to all.
And, we absolutely love these Black wellness influencers. Follow them! Learn from them. Support their businesses. But white people: please *don’t* ask them “how can I be a better ally?” That’s your work (& our work) to do, k? We’re right alongside you & will use our platform to engage with & showcase BIPOC viewpoints and perspectives.
And also, because we’re Rasa and Rasa is what we do...everyone we tagged got some Rasa. 🙂
(In clockwise order from the top left)
@green_adjacent - Chantel posts inspiring recipes, wellness & lifestyle tips focused on health & sustainability. We’re proud that she loves Rasa!
@bykwest is Kira West, who’s making wellness inclusive through her Travel & Fitness blog + online presence.
🙌Stay tuned to our IG & FB feeds in the coming weeks and months for more amazing people to follow! 🙌
Wellness ≠ white. It’s time to make that normal.
Part Three: Let's Talk About BIPOC Stress
Modern life is stressful, we don’t need to tell you that. But what if the color of your skin was the cause for *more* stress—people treating you differently, making assumptions about your intelligence & integrity, or being targeted by the police (to name a few!).
Stress-levels for BIPOC are inherently higher. And OF COURSE we’re not discounting the stress *everyone* has—but here, we’re talking about additional layers of stress inherent with the challenges of being BIPOC in a racist society.
We’re grateful to those of you who commented about wellness being expensive & often inaccessible for those who don’t have privileged economic access, and we truly hear you. A more transparent view into our process, product, and Rasa’s price point is in the works! In the meantime, each week we’re going to share wellness tips you can do for FREE to help your body tap into a state of balance and wholeness.
TODAY’S TIP : : TONE YOUR VAGUS NERVE
The idea that your nervous system has only 2 phases (“fight or flight” or “rest and digest”) is becoming outdated. There is a 3rd, critically important aspect to your nervous system, called “social engagement,” which is governed by your vagus nerve.
Social engagement is associated with social interaction, communication, & self-soothing behaviors. When we are socially engaged, we naturally act in a way that’s beneficial to our own survival & well-being, as well as others’.
With chronic stress, we lack the ability to spontaneously come back to a state of social engagement—we become stuck in sympathetic-chain (fight or flight) or dorsal vagal (withdrawn, shut down) states, & often act in ways counter to our best interest. By toning your vagus nerve, you activate your inherent ability to respond (rather than react) & calm down overall.
To tone your vagus nerve:
- Lie in a comfortable position & clasp your hands behind your head.
- Keeping your head facing up, turn your eyes all the way to the right.
- Stay there until you swallow, yawn, or sigh (usually 30-60 seconds).
- Look up, and then repeat by looking to the left until you swallow, yawn, or sigh.
- Do this any time you feel stressed. Recommended 3-5x/day if you can!
Lopa & the Rasa team
Author: Ben Lovejoy