Ayurveda The Story Behind Rosa Parks and Yoga

The Story Behind Rosa Parks and Yoga


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Photos of Rosa Parks practicing yoga have been circulating on social media over the past several months. In one of the images dated March 1973, Parks can be seen practicing Dhanurasana, or Bow Pose, using a blanket beneath her as a yoga mat. These images, from the Library of Congress (LoC), highlight a more intimate side of Parks outside of her work as a civil rights activist, and they tell a story about how, for Parks and other black movement workers, wellness and yoga can be radical acts of liberation.

Rosa Parks practicing yoga

“Rosa Parks practicing yoga at an event.” 1973 March. Image courtesy of Library of Congress, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Visual Materials from the Rosa Parks Papers, [LC-DIG-ppmsca-58369]. Photo used with permission of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development.

While the photos of Parks have been on display to the public at the Library of Congress in Washington DC since last December, earlier accounts of the photos circulating the web date back to a June 2019 article published by Stephanie Y. Evans, PhD, a professor and the director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Georgia State University.

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