Keep it Yoga: Living Your Practice as the World Reopens
On the 21st of June, the longest day of the year, the United Nations recognises the International Day of Yoga. In years past, the yoga community has celebrated and raised the awareness of our practice with large group asana classes. In 2020, when much of the world was locked down, virtual gatherings were necessary but still united yogis from all over the globe. This year, we’re in uncharted territory as we approach the summer solstice with every part of the world in a different stage of reopening.
In some places, it’s safe to gather in ways that feel almost pre-pandemic “normal,” while elsewhere COVID-19 cases are surging. Many areas fall in between, leaving people to again face the uncertainty that characterised much of the last year. Even though we’re divided by our circumstances, we can still find unity in the yoga practices that have sustained us throughout this difficult time.
Yoga is much more than poses. It can infuse every aspect of our lives when we treat it not only as a physical activity but as an outlook on life, a philosophy that recognises the importance of all living things. This June, we can embody yoga by reentering society in a way that honours every human life and respects that the struggle continues for many people. Even if we can’t gather on our mats, we can work together to put more yoga into the world.
Lead with Love
When we recognise that every human has the same rights to live free of illness, hunger, and violence, we begin to see ways that our actions affect others around us, rippling out in ever-widening circles. Living in a way that values all human lives equally is a form of yoga.
We are all going to go through a period of reintegration into society. As we open our worlds again, leading with love for ourselves and others will ensure that we bring sensitivity and respect to all our interactions. We can’t go back to the way things were before the pandemic, so the only way forward is to create a new normal. Let’s do so in a loving way.
No one is going to emerge from the traumatic disruption of community we’ve experienced exactly the same as they were before. Taking our yoga off the mat means treating ourselves and others with compassion and meeting each person you encounter where they are with an open heart.
Remember Mother Earth
Many of us found solace in nature when we couldn’t interact with people. When so many of our habitual comforts were stripped away, heading outdoors to experience forests, open spaces, rivers, and oceans became a life-saver for mental health. Wouldn’t it be amazing if a new wave of environmentalism emerged from our reconnection to the natural world in our time of need?
Even as we are each facing very different geopolitical circumstances, we are all inhabiting the same surface of the same planet. Recognising the generative power of Mother Earth, healer and creator of life, makes it clear that we are all one family. Acting now to preserve the future of our planet is part of living our yoga practice.
Shopping consciously is one of the most important lines of communication we have with economic power, which in turn affects how corporations prioritise the environment and social justice. When we commit to treating each exchange of our assets for goods in a way that is consistent with our personal belief system, we elevate eco-friendly and socially responsible business practices (and end up with better stuff!).
Being super discerning in our buying choices is actually a powerful way to put more love into the world and support Mother Earth. Many people wonder what they can do in their daily lives that will make a difference to others. Choosing to buy goods offered by companies with ethical practices is a concrete action we can all take to make the world a more equitable place.
Yoga to the World
Participating in International Day of Yoga events in whatever way is appropriate in your location is another way to take action for good. As we raise the profile of yoga in our communities, more people feel moved to find out about our practice and eventually make their way into yoga classes to sit beside us on their mats and press two palms together. The more people that do yoga, the better it is for humanity.