A Queer Dharma, by Jacoby Ballard
Queer critique, queer practice: embodied teachings for healing from trauma and social injustice.
Jacoby Ballard provides an empowering and affirming guide to embodied healing through yoga and the dharma, grounded in the brilliance, resilience, and lived experiences of queer folks.
Part I deconstructs the ways mainstream yoga perpetuates queer- and transphobia and other systemic oppressions, exploring the intersections of yoga, capitalism, cultural appropriation, and sexual violence. Ballard also addresses the trauma–complex, vicarious, historical, and collective–perpetuated against queer communities. In response, he offers tools for self-compassion, tonglen, lovingkindness, and grounding, and helps readers explore questions like:
• What is trauma? How is it a product of injustice–and how can healing it create justice?
• The world won’t stop being homo- and transphobic, so how do I encounter that in a way that does the least harm?
• How do we love what is uniquely trans about us?
• What are affinity groups, and why do we need them?
In part II, Ballard offers a queer-centered, fully embodied, and equity-rooted practice with meditations, practices, and sequences for processing and healing from trauma individually and in community. He explains concepts like lovingkindness, letting go, compassion, joy, forgiveness, and equanimity through a queer lens, and pairs each with corresponding meditations, practices, and beautiful line drawings of queer bodies.
Enhanced with stories from Ballard’s personal practice and professional experience teaching yoga in schools, prisons, conferences, and his weekly Queer and Trans Yoga class, A Queer Dharma is a guidebook, reclamation, and unapolagetically queer heart offering for true healing and transformation.
“In A Queer Dharma, Jacoby Ballard offers us a fresh, tender, and bold guide on how to root the timeless truths of wisdom and compassion in a contemporary commitment to justice for all. He brilliantly weaves together powerful stories from his life journey with profound explorations of complex topics including forgiving what seems unforgivable, equanimity in the midst of oppression, and the colonization and commodification of yoga. The meditations and reflections blended throughout are clear and inspiring. This book is a nuanced, courageous, and compassionate gift for our individual and collective liberation.”
—Sebene Selassie, author of You Belong
“Through Jacoby Ballard’s homage to their teachers, offering of the teachings they embody, and awareness that more teachings will come forth through them, A Queer Dharma is the guide and medicine that we need at this time. Ballard offers powerful teachings about compassion, forgiveness, righteous rage, love, God, and knowing we have a place here and that it is our birthright to inhabit it. A Queer Dharma weaves in feminist, Black, and queer theory, creating a pathway for us to consider our identities and complexities and see ourselves as more expansive than our bodies. Ballard reminds us we are here on purpose and calls us into deep inquiry and action. Stories of their study and practice of dharma, Buddhism, and yoga, a beautiful love letter to queer and trans folks, call for us to heal our collective trauma and invite readers to dig deeper, transform and be better, to shift the culture of yoga and spiritual practice and beyond. This book is a blessing and should be received as such.”
—Michelle C. Johnson, author of Skill in Action
Imprint: North Atlantic Books
Publication Date: 23 November 2021