By Faye Martins
One aspect that should be covered in every yoga teacher training is yogic philosophy. We all want world peace, but we argue about how to get it. Whether the issue is violence of war, social injustice or the frustration of daily life, we think things will be different if people simply do things our way. Debates rage over politics, religion, and even peace. Yet, we seldom take time to stop and listen to what people we disagree with are saying.
Yoga provides a way for us to find contentment in the midst of chaos and let go of the things we can’t control. More than just a physical exercise or mental relaxation, the practice has eight limbs that form a foundation for holistic living:
Yama or Universal Morality – compassion, truth, self-control, service
Niyama or Personal Observances – purity, discipline, self-study, contemplation
Asanas or Poses – physical exercises that ground the body and prepare it for meditation
Pranayama or Controlled Breathing – control of vital life energy, or prana, within the body
Pratyahara or Control of the Senses – withdrawal from external stimuli
Dharana or Concentration – focus on cultivating inner awareness
Dhyana or Devotion – contemplation of the Divine
Samadhi or Union with the Divine – pure awareness; bliss
The practice of Yoga leads to union of the mind, body and spirit. When we feel peaceful inside, we release the need for control that creates conflict in our personal lives, thus creating better relationships and greater satisfaction with what we have. The happier we are as individuals, the more tranquil the world around us becomes.
Yoga teaches us to be compassionate, to listen to others, to see their beauty – even when we disagree or fear their actions. By holding fast to our own values and honoring those who have different views, we learn to co-exist with others through peace and tolerance.
The Dalai Lama, one of this century’s most prominent advocates for peace, put it this way, “People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.” One of the many good things about Yoga training is that it provides a map. If we follow the signs, we travel the road to peace.
Tips for Yoga Instructors
As yoga teachers, we can offer the public a sanctuary from antagonism. We may not be political leaders, but we can promote peaceful thoughts. World peace requires a chain reaction. As Paul Jerard often says: “The only way to start peaceful resolution in others is to take the action of projecting true loving kindness from within.” It all starts from within and we have to make it contagious, for the good of everyone.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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