Ethan Nichtern – The Road Home – Ep. 63 – A Queer Dharma with Jacoby Ballard

In this episode of The Road Home, Ethan Nichtern speaks with Jacoby Ballard about his book, A Queer Dharma, as well as dealing with microaggressions and overcoming the gender binary.

Jacoby Ballard is a social justice educator and yoga teacher who leads workshops and trainings around the country on diversity, equity, and inclusion. In 2008, Jacoby co-founded Third Root Community Health Center in Brooklyn to work at the nexus of healing and social justice. Since 2006, Jacoby has taught Queer and Trans Yoga, a space for queer folks to unfurl and cultivate resilience. His first book, A Queer Dharma: Yoga and Meditations for Liberation is now available. Learn more at

A Queer Dharma

Ethan welcomes Jacoby and asks for his meditation origin story. Jacoby talks about discovering meditation in high school, and how he found the power of Sangha through a Zen meditation group in college. They discuss Jacoby’s book, A Queer Dharma, his experience in the yoga world while transitioning, and how he started teached Queer and Trans Yoga. 

“[The Zen meditation Group] was such a place of refuge. To be able to kind of burst the college bubble and just be with other humans that are just living their lives.” – Jacoby Ballard

Dealing with Microaggressions (16:05)

Ethan and Jacoby dig into how microaggressions can be both intentional and unintentional. They talk about the value of forgiveness practice and how we’re inevitably going to cause harm because it’s part of our human nature. Ethan asks Jacoby about the power of establishing a space that is queer or trans, and what it’s like to be both a yoga and a meditation teacher.

“I think the embodied practice of yoga is so important for me to learn how to love myself and learn how to love this body.” – Jacoby Ballard

Jack Kornfield explores the power of the forgiving heart in Heart Wisdom Ep. 135
Overcoming the Gender Binary (31:00)

Ethan and Jacoby discuss overcoming the gender binary, especially as it exists in the Eastern wisdom traditions. They talk about the treatment of trans people in Western society, and why dismantling the gender binary is a threat to the power structure. Ethan ends the show with a question for Jacoby about how his practices help him with parenthood. 

“If you think you’re enlightened, hang out with a toddler for a couple of months.” – Jacoby Ballard

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