International Yoga Day and Why it Matters for Everyone

Today I am glad to celebrate International Yoga Day. More than a day for millions of people to be grateful for what yoga has offered them, today is a day for us all to connect and be reminded of what matters for everyone. So why does yoga mater?

Whether you choose to see it or not, we live in a world of crisis. Social inequality and environmental exploitation mixed with economic instability calls on the aid of non profit organisations across health and education, arts and culture, humanitarian relief, and environmental conservation to rally support from the masses. But individuals are in crisis, too, because you see, this ‘reality’ we have created is not conducive to human flourishing. Perhaps it is this disillusionment which drives us either to the brink of insanity or compels us to act. But what can we do when we are working in a system that has got itself tangled in one big mess? How do we balance what we want with what we can have, and assess what we need with what is available?

More than a set of physical exercises, Yoga is a path of harmony and grace that shows us not only what we need but how to find it. The trouble for most of us is we are so confused by our own existence that we don’t know where to start looking on our quest for understanding ourselves and the world around us. We think we have to chase material success for security, comfort and social acceptance. We deal with what we want now, but lack presence with ourselves and the people around us. We think we or someone else will deal with the consequences of our actions today if and when it becomes a problem tomorrow. But what we lack is a true understanding of where we are now in relation to everything that exists around us and how to navigate our way through the complexity of a system that we have built up around ourselves.

Whatever makes the world go round, it’s not money. I’d say it’s love, but it might be something different for you. But whatever it is, it’s not money. It’s not greed. It’s not hate. It’s people, it’s relationships, it’s this desire to connect, to serve a purpose and reach our highest potential. We just got confused somewhere. If you take money away, people will still find a way to share their gifts with one another, because we desire to connect and support one another to flourish for our own survival. We are not an independent species. We are a social species. We survive together, or we don’t survive at all. Think, if you were the only person left on this planet, what would you stay for? No man’s an island.

So you see, if we can learn to sync with what we need right now, we’ll realise we have everything we need, either within or around us. We see that the most important thing is to act in love to support one another, rather than grabbing what we can get for ourselves. When we start to see and understand how everything is connected, we have a stronger desire to protect the people and the world around us. Even though we know we have the capability to destroy, we choose to create and sustain, because we think before we act, and we act responsibly for ourselves and others.

This is yoga. Harmony, clarity, connection, and love. Yoga means understanding our place in the world, and connecting with the divine source of creation within each and everyone of us that beckons to be set free. It means putting aside our selfish desires and learning to serve our planet with humility. Yoga. Forgetting and remembering who we are, to rediscover what it means to be with ourselves and the world in an effortless dance that takes away the floor and leaves us waltzing in the clouds.

And why this day is just as important for you as it is for me. Because today you might come across someone who by their own light inspires your own to ignite. To connect, to journey within and find what you need to make the world a better place.

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