An Examination of Mindfulness and Social Justice Movements

Zen and the art of social movement maintenance

Activists  meditating in Zuccotti Park during Occupy. (WNV / Karsten Braaten)Angela Davis, revolutionary activist and philosopher, is a committed yogi. She began practicing in prison when a doctor working with the Black Panther Party passed along a book on yoga to help her deal with chronic headaches. The poses worked, and many years later Davis continues with her sun salutations. She currently practices under the guidance of Oakland-based yoga teacher Naushon Kabat-Zinn, daughter of medical researcher and mindfulness popularizer Jon Kabat-Zinn. Kabat-Zinn, the elder, defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” The most common form mindfulness practice takes is sitting meditation. Mindfulness can be applied more broadly, however, as the recent spate of books on everything from mindful sex to mindful politics suggests.


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