In 2008, Rajarajeshwari received the divine vision of bringing yoga online to serve our often invisibly oppressed and colonized Deaf communities, worldwide, to decolonize through yoga as a transformative skill in action. In 2010, Rajarajeshwari founded Deafhood Yoga, a customized, global online yoga studio inspiring kindred spirits of all walks of life, to experience collective, Deaf-centered yoga that continues today.
Kristen Marie Weiner (she/her/hers), now known by her spiritual name, Rajarajeshwari (MA, CYT, RPYT, RCYT, YACEP & E-RYT 500+), is a globally recognized leader and pioneer in the field of Deaf Yoga. Rajarajeshwari is the visionary, founder, and teacher of Deafhood Yoga® with 30+ years of yoga experience.
Rajarajeshwari is an Aquarius, an air sign, beneficial to the human race as water is for the body. Water Bearers are all about progress and using technology with the right intentions for the higher good of all. Those born under this sign have the unique ability to present ideas that will revolutionize the world. Rajarajeshwari’s visions, heart, and soul are in the right place to share spirituality through technology.
In her lifetime journey, as a profoundly Deaf person, who understands spirit through Universal vibrations. She is an Acharya (master) of Hatha Yoga (Sivananda lineage), which is known as the Mother of Yoga. She completed her Ashtanga Yoga studies in India, which is known as the Father of Yoga. On her path, by communicating yoga through her hands, she emits spiritual~light language. All sign languages are truly hands of multidimensional light that uplifts the energetic vibrations of humanity and creates a pathway to embody the divinity within.
Currently, Rajarajeshwari lives on the tropical gathering island of Oahú, Hawai'i with her soulife mate, David Simmons of South Africa.
Photo of Dr. Paddy Ladd & Rajarajeshwari in 2009,
when Rajarajeshwari received divine blessings to support the name connection, Deafhood Yoga.
Dr. Paddy Ladd is a Deaf scholar, author, activist, and researcher of Deaf culture. He has been a campaigner for Deaf rights since the 1970s and was a co-founder of the National Union of the Deaf and the Federation of Deaf People, the two British Deaf activist organizations. He held the Powrie V. Doctor Chair in Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University, Washington DC in 1992-3, completed his Ph.D. in Deaf Culture at the University of Bristol, England in 1998, and has written, edited and contributed to numerous publications in the field. His works have received international recognition.
He first devised the term “Deafhood” in 1993, and developed the concept further in his book, published in 2003, “Understanding Deaf Culture - In Search of Deafhood". The concept has proved very popular - the book has been translated into Japanese, German, Spanish, Portuguese and (partially) into ASL, and hundreds of courses and workshops have been given across the world. In the USA that work is coordinated by the Deafhood Foundation.
The aim of the Deafhood concept is to expand Deaf and hearing people's consciousness, and to empower the world's Sign Language Peoples (SLP) through (a) an understanding of how audism and oppressed have damaged and divided those communities, and (b) through understanding the achievements and potential of SLPs. From that understanding, the concept seeks to develop Deaf unity in order to repair the communities and extend their achievements and sense of possibilities, by promoting Deaf activism with the support of hearing allies.
Understanding the concept of colonization is an integral part of the Deafhood philosophy. The term “deafness”, and others like it, are seen as arising from a systematic colonization process, enacted particularly in the area of Deaf education, which seeks to remove sign languages, Deaf teachers, Deaf culture and Deaf communities from the lives of Deaf children and their families. This is known as "Oralism". By contrast, the term Deafhood is intended to affirm the positive nature of Deaf existence and of SLP contributions as part of the process of decolonization.
Deafhood acknowledges that ALL d/Deaf people have their own definitions of their d/Deaf identities, but that these have been inhibited by colonization; it, therefore, encourages them to embark on a journey towards deepening and refining their Deaf selves, and identifying their purpose here on Earth as Deaf people who are members of the global community of Sign Language Peoples. For that reason, Deafhood also stresses the value of giving attention to the 'why' of SLP existence, suggesting that these communities may not simply originate from biological and genetic 'mistakes', but from a higher spiritual purpose.
About Deafhood & Yoga
As a young adult, without a Deaf Yoga teacher, Rajarajeshwari was on her own, observing, reading, studying and applying the Yoga practice, over the past 30+ years, as much as she could.
In 2003, the concept and the word "Deafhood" was coined by our own Deaf person, Dr. Paddy Ladd from England. In 2008, Rajarajeshwari had her first opportunity to take two full semesters, studying Deafhood in the Deaf, collective community.
Through Deafhood classes, we analyzed, dialogued, identified, learned, processed and understood the systems in our environment that either oppressed or supported us as individuals and as a cultural linguistics community. That ranged from activism, businesses, communication, education, medical, social economic, social justice and spirituality.
The label "deafness" comes from hearing, white, males in the medical field. Because of this long history, the word “deafness” carries a heavy suitcase, that continues to focus on what is deficient in Deaf people as if we are broken and need to be fixed. This distribution of ignorance, privilege and wealth attached with this practice bind ego, greed and fear. This violates the first three Yamas of the Eight Limbs of Yoga; Ahimsa (non-harming), Satya (non-lying) and Asteya (non-stealing).
It was the quote, “Deafhood is a process to decolonize our mind, body, and spirit from colonization.” by Dr. Paddy Ladd that struck and inspired Rajarajeshwari. Yoga is also another process to decolonize our mind, body, and spirit from colonization. She received a powerful vision, in 2008, and saw how parallel Deafhood and Yoga present themselves as a personal journey in living to our fullest consciousness, light, and truth. Deafhood and Yoga validate that the practices themselves are grounded in real insight into human consciousness and evolution.
Both Deafhood and Yoga completes us as compassionate whole beings.
Deafhood Yoga® began its services in 2010 and answered the powerful vision of creating an Online Yoga Studio to support and serve Deaf people, globalwide, to experience Deaf-centered yoga. Communicating through our hands offers spiritual~light language. All sign languages are truly hands of multidimensional light that uplifts the energetic vibrations of humanity.
Both Deafhood and Yoga practice consciousness, becoming aware and staying awake. That divine practice of consciousness brings individuals closer to transformative justice, unity, and universal truth through vibrant love.
The word yoga, derived from the Sanskrit word “yuj” means to bind, yoke, integrate or unite the individual consciousness with the Universal Consciousness/Spirit or God as a method of discipline. Yoga is a 10,000+-year-old Indian body of knowledge. Yoga is the art of science of the Self. “Know thyself,” then you may know everything.
You are your own Guru. When we realize this, then we can serve Goddess, God, ourselves, and others with love. Yoga is the journey to becoming fully Self-realized, thus becoming fully human. Yoga seeks to harmonize and help us understand our inner world through various effective techniques that include Pranayama (Breathing), Relaxation, Asanas (Poses), Lifestyle and Meditation. These techniques are specifically designed to build skills, balance the Chakra system and prepare us for the ultimate goal of Yoga which is Meditation. Yoga is a means to overcome suffering and achieve Self-Realization.
Yoga is also a holistic way of life that allows for a total modern transformation that integrates all elements of ancient roots and knowledge of Yoga to make a prayerful discipline uniting the body, mind, and soul to experience the Truth. The Indian sage Patanjali, known as the Father of Yoga, is believed to have collated the practice of yoga into the Yoga Sutra about 2,000 years ago. The Sutra is a collection of 195 spiritual discourses that serve as a philosophical guidebook for most of the yoga that is practiced today. It outlines the Eight Limbs of Yoga: the Yamas (Ethics/Social Restraints), Niyamas (Observances/Self Disciplines), Asanas (Postures), Pranayama (Breathing), Pratyahara (Withdrawal of Senses), Dharana (Concentration), Dhyana (Meditation), and Samadhi (Enlightenment). As we explore these Eight Limbs, we begin by refining our attitudes and behaviors in the outer world developing our inward meditative focus until we reach Samadhi (Liberation).
When one experiences harmony within, the journey through life becomes calmer, happier and more fulfilled. Yoga shows us the way to our consciousness that is as vast as the ocean.
Yoga accelerates our journey to the Light to be Your Light.
About Yoga Alliance
Yoga Alliance offers three types of designations:
Registered Yoga Teachers (RYT®, E-RYT®)
Registered Yoga Schools (RYS®)
Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Providers® (YACEP®)
Each of these designations has its own set of specific standards and/or requirements. To be listed in our Directory and access our member benefits, you must join Yoga Alliance and maintain your membership to retain any of these designations. Yoga Alliance utilizes Social Credentialing for its RYSs and YACEPs. Registered Yoga Teachers provide feedback to RYSs and/or YACEPs by completing a review. This feedback helps the RYSs and YACEPs continually improve their programs and courses.
Click on a designation below for eligibility requirements.
Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT)
Yoga teachers who complete a 200- or 500-hour teacher training program at an RYS may apply for registration and use of the RYT credential, provided their training and teaching experience meet our requirements.
E-RYT 200 (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher)
E-RYT 200, RYT 500
RCYT* (Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher)
RPYT* (Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher)
*This designation is a specialty designation and cannot be a standalone credential; you must be at RYT 200 or above before adding an RCYT or an RPYT designation.
Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider (YACEP)
The YACEP designation is designed for experts in the yoga community to set themselves apart and teach courses that qualify as Continuing Education hours for RYTs.
The Yoga Alliance Icons, above, are milestones of Rajarajeshwari's Yogic education journey.