Yoga as Sanctuary: A Valuable Mind-Body Intervention for the Lesbian Community

Int J Yoga Therap. 2017 Nov;27(1):15-24. doi: 10.17761/1531-2054-27.1.15.


Poetic autoethnography provides a research methodology to explore yoga as a mind-body intervention that creates sanctuary. Using this qualitative method and retrieving data from my personal journals, daily workout journals, experiences as a lesbian-identified participant in yoga classes, and yoga instructor, I turn the research lens on myself in order to examine my sociological life story. At a critical time in my life when I was struggling with the fragmentation, anxiety, and despair resulting from dealing with homophobia in a heteronormative world, yoga provided sanctuary for me. My yoga practice increased my self-efficacy, providing transferable techniques for finding refuge within myself, irrespective of the adversity I was facing in my life. Places of sanctuary are critical for members of minority groups who often face marginalization and oppression, which compromise their well-being.

Keywords: autoethnography; lesbian; mind-body intervention; oppression; poetry; yoga.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Female
  • Homosexuality, Female / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Meditation*
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Yoga*