What is Skill in Action?

I look forward to my upcoming book tour where I will share skills 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. 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, an ancient yogic text and love song about what it means to do our work in this world. She shared, "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 my spirit and felt like the antidote to the commodification and cultural appropriation of yoga in this U.S. The words felt like an answer to various inquiries I'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 my social justice roots, so much so that I created a teacher training focused on Skill in Action, a 200hr teacher training on yoga and social justice. The idea of yoga being skill in action coupled with my experience of spiritual bypassing in many yogic communities called me into writing a book about what it actually means to be skillful as we create justice in the world.

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. 

If you want to learn more check out my new book. I've heard it's an easy read; reading is only part of it, practicing the skills I offer throughout the book is where the real transformation happens. If you want to see me this summer on my cross country book tour check out my tour dates and locations, I might be coming to a city near you! And lastly, if you would like to invite me to your studio or community space to lead a workshop on Skill in Action, contact me. Once my tour is complete I'll continue to travel to spaces to share more about Skill in Action. 

May you be safe, happy and free. May your thoughts, words and actions contribute to the safety and freedom for all. May our world be just and may we all find peace.


Michelle Johnson