The world depends on your yoga practice
As yoga researcher Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, PhD, C-IAYT, explains in this short video, peace begins with each of us as individuals. This idea may ring true intuitively, but you might be wondering what your yoga practice has to do with world peace!
When performed consistently and sensitively, yoga can create the necessary underlying conditions for a peaceful existence on an individual level first. (Find an IAYT-certified yoga therapist to help guide your practice here.) Gentle challenges appropriate to each person (mental as well as physical) and the effort of regular practice (again, not just physical postures!) provide a fertile field for cultivating seeds of tolerance and calm:
“I think the idea of peace, both internal and even societal, really comes down to engendering this sense of peace, and harmony, and flow within yourself. If you look at global conflict, it’s just [a] representation of human functioning, of the inability of humans to be able to experience those more positive emotions. Because what’s dominant is the stress-induced emotions—experiences of anxiety, experiences of fear, experiences of anger. When those are dominant, you end up with not only dysfunctional human functioning, but you end up with dysfunctional societal functioning.”
In contrast, contemplative practices like yoga lead to experiences of what Sat Bir calls a “deeper unitive state of consciousness,” which helps us to express “those positive emotions of compassion, of gratitude, of love. These are all part of that continuum that comes from these deeper experiences.”
The ripple effects of engaging in yogic practices thus represent enormous potential, he says, “for not only changing individuals in terms of their sense of well-being and peace and harmony, but also for society as a whole.”
Sat Bir is co-editor in chief of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, a peer-reviewed publication of yoga research and scholarship.