83: A Teacher Owned Co-Op with Shamina Rao + Elizabeth Barnett of The Connective

The Connective is a virtual movement studio that is cooperatively owned and powered by teachers. They provide a sustainable livelihood for yoga and movement professionals and raise industry standards for quality, diversity, anti-racism, and accessibility. They offer students an online space to explore movement, build community, and discover new potential. 

I am so excited to have two of the teacher-owners on the podcast today to tell us all about this new organization!

Shamina Rao (she/her) Shamina’s passion for yoga spans over 25 years. She was born in Mumbai, India, and spent her childhood traveling throughout India, the Far East and parts of Africa, all the while soaking in the teachings of these different cultures. She brings what she absorbed over the years to her classes believing in the benefits of yoga for ALL people. She has created and led yoga workshops for teens, young adults and also teaches prenatal yoga.

Her classes are all-levels, breath-centered vinyasa with a focus on the subtle and energetic body through the chakras. She teaches through the lens of observing the physical, emotional, and spiritual body’s interconnectedness and response to the world around us. Off the mat, her yoga practice grounds her work as a birth doula as she encourages birthing people to connect to their bodies through mindfulness, movement and breath as they bring their babies into this world.

Elizabeth Barnett  (they/them)  teaches poetic, thematic classes with chanting, philosophy, and music that moves. Options for meeting yourself in the moment are always offered and self-determination is encouraged to lead the way.

They’ve been teaching yoga for 12 years and in the last few years have been deeply shaped by trauma-informed teachings. Elizabeth continues to learn and unlearn, working to unsettle their practices, queer their world, and cultivate care and creativity in pursuit of collective liberation.

In this episode you’ll hear:

  • how the idea for a teacher-owned co-op came about and how the teachers feel about it
  • what is special about the specific legal structure of a cooperative
  • about the livestream, pre-recorded and workshops The Connective offers
  • how Elizabeth and Shamina are feeling about virtual teaching almost 1 year in
  • why The Connective is calling attention to the worker exploitation that is common in yoga studio culture here in the States and what they are doing to try to change the culture
  • the agreements in place at The Connective so they can be part of deeply necessary change on the issues of racism and cultural appropriation in the yoga world
  • how Elizabeth and Shamina suggest yoga teachers who are interested in forming their own co-op get started! 

Learn more about The Connective:

  • On their website here
  • Follow The Connective on Instagram here

Subscribe to the Mentor Sessions Podcast

2 Responses to “83: A Teacher Owned Co-Op with Shamina Rao + Elizabeth Barnett of The Connective”

    • Francesca Cervero

      Hi Bitsy! The episode is recorded and you can play it on the embedded podcast player right on this page, or any app you use to listen to podcasts. I think you’ll love the episode! I can’t wait to hear what it brings up for you.


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)