Band-aids have their place, but they don’t really support deep healing. And in a broken system, self-care routines are like minnows swimming upstream against the raging currents of neoliberal hyper-individualistic capitalism.
Caring self-regard and self-loving actions do matter – but practically, it’s the more well-resourced among us who reap the benefits of self-care habits. The time, money, and education required to identify helpful strategies and act upon them is not equally accessible to all.
Obsession with the Self in Self-Care
Hustle culture, grind culture, self-help and self-improvement culture all tell us that “no one is going to save you.” Yes, we should all do our best to treat ourselves as though our health matters, but this hyper-individualistic attitude is dissociated from the fact that as human animals, we heal and grow in relationship and in community. Doing everything yourself is not only near-impossible, it’s not even in our nature.
Many wellness influencers and coaches use our (justifiable) fears of illness and unworthiness to capitalize on our desperation to optimize our wellbeing and desirability. They reel us in by performing their own wellness, which is often bolstered by genetics and their existing resources, making promises of a better life through discipline, early-morning routines, and of course, unshakeable dedication to the self.
There’s nothing wrong with a morning routine, but emphasizing this self-focused approach has us wondering – what about the capacity for single-moms, low-wage workers, neurodivergent, chronically-ill & disabled folks, and individuals of marginalized identity to fight to swim upstream?
Imagining A New Way of Being
We’re wondering whether self-care would even be a thing in a radically transformed society, where we might live in accordance with the reality of interrelationship: where child-care was provided for, where everyone had enough good food to eat, where rest and leisure were truly recognized to be just as life-giving as exercise, achievement and production.
Could networked systems of care provide the support we all need for collective wellness?
We don’t advocate for giving up on self-care, but we do believe in an approach to wellness that uses the lens of the social determinants of health, and that emphasizes Community Care as a more ethical and more effective approach.
What Can Wellness Spaces Do?
We see the ways in which yoga studio culture can also be full of wimpy little band-aids, and we hope to be more, do more and influence the broader culture towards recognizing and acting on our innate state of deep interrelationship.
Our mission is “to create a better world with Yoga as our common ground.” Part of this means doing business in a way that embodies our values. We value compensating our staff and teachers fairly and generously, and we alue offering more equitable wellness opportunities.
This orientation to business and community leads us to offer things like no-questions-asked sliding scale pricing, scholarships for 1 in 5 spots in our YTT, and Community Care Week.
You can read more about Community Care and our approach here.