Yoga is union.
The union of breath and movement.
The union of mind, body and spirit.
But also the union of awareness, conscience and action.
When we get on our mat or even take the practice off the mat we are not only cultivating our own self awareness but the awareness of the world around us, how we fit into it, how we act. Ahimsa is often stated as being non violence when we learn about the philosophy of yoga but I prefer a way of describing it I learnt from Susanna Barkataki :
“The yogic practice of ahimsa is not just the opposite of violence or about passively avoiding violence, but about actively and constructively having the power to make change for the better”Susanna Barkataki – Embrace Yoga’s Roots
In fact it was in the roots of yoga philosophy that the movement for independence from the British was started after years of colonial oppression.
Using this awareness we cultivate in our practice, whether on the mat, through meditation or pranayama (breathwork) and translating that into action is important. It is at the very heart of the practice because without awareness what else is there?
We all know the situation in India right now is awful so how as yoga practitioners/teachers/studios can we translate our practice into action?
- Donate to or share fundraisers to family and friends who may not be aware of how they can help. Give India and Khalsa Aid both have Covid specific funds right now or you can donate directly to a fund set up by the cluster of artisans who hand print the fabric for Yogipod.
- Enter this amazing fundraising raffle organised by Simone and Angie. Find out more on their Instagram accounts (link in their names) and enter here. You’ll find a Yogipod meditation cushion up for grabs as well as loads of other yoga and wellness prizes
- Continue to read and educate yourself on what is happening in India and understand the full socio economic context. I would really recommend this long read by Arundhati Roy on The Guardian
- Ask your local studio, teacher and favourite yoga brands whether they are doing anything to help, either raise funds or awareness
And finally don’t let this become another black square moment. The relationship between yoga in the west and it’s roots in India were already blurred before this Covid crisis came along and shone a light on how disconnected it can be. Investigate the roots of yoga, learn how amazing it is.
Some incredible teachers I have learnt from over the last couple of years are Susanna Barkataki, Simran Uppal, Kallie Schutt and Angie Tiwari. I’ve put some links below for their teachings and contact details should you also wish to learn and explore.
Susanna Barkataki – https://www.susannabarkataki.com/
Simran Uppal – https://www.instagram.com/simransuppal/?hl=en
Kallie Schutt – https://www.rebelyogatribe.co.uk/
Angie Tiwari – https://www.tiwariyoga.com/ and also this amazing article for Women’s Health https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/health/a36325802/yoga-meditation-india-coronavirus-crisis/