Arts / Faith and Humanities / Campus Community

Red Talk: Mindfulness and Healing Race-Based Trauma

Written by Andrew Binion

January 31, 2023

Portrait of Sharon Suh

Exploring the intersection of Buddhism, neuroscience and mindfulness.

As “mindfulness” has become co-opted and commercialized by mainstream culture, Winter’s Red Talk features Buddhism Professor Sharon Suh, PhD, and her exploration of how mindfulness practices as marketed toward white and upper class audiences can harm those who have sustained trauma from racism.

Presented by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in partnership with the Provost Office, Professor Suh’s Red Talk is February 2, 12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m. in Pigott Auditorium. 

Professor Suh, from Seattle University’s Department of Theology and Religious Studies, argues that when mindfulness is trauma-informed and takes into account the experiences of people of color, it can help heal those who have suffered race-based trauma.

One way Professor Suh has implemented trauma-informed practices in leading yoga classes is to introduce choice by asking participants to move in a certain way, rather than directing them into poses.

“That can have tremendous impacts,” she says.

In addition to her work as an educator emphasizing the importance of trauma-sensitive mindfulness and trauma-informed yoga to increase the capacity for individual and collective resilience, Professor Suh is a published author on Buddhism, gender and race.

Red Talks elevate intersectional voices from faculty and community thought leaders on a range of topics under the umbrella of inclusive excellence. This year’s theme is “Freedom Dreaming: Intersectional Voices on Collective Liberation.”

Learn more about Red Talks and the work of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.