After all this troubles, controversial political discussions, uncertain future, social instability, even hatred from some people, all in all quite extreme feelings that I experience in Greece, I kind of wonder where I can find peace or inspiration. And the answer always comes back with something related to…guess what… yoga…:) It can be yoga reading, practising, teaching or talking to like minded people. I can’t help but saying how wonderful teaching yoga can be….a real medicine for the heart.
Reason being…when you practice and awareness arises for what is happening in and around you, loads of questions are answered (how cool is to have answers in your questions..!!). And yes…under the current political circumstances in Greece (but also elsewhere), politicians, political sense, political implications in a society that is obviously collapsing we need people that are positive, with ideas, knowledge and solid ethical principles. Where are these people..?!..they are definitely around but if we want to see them, we need to cultivate awareness and those values within us first..‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ Mahatma Gandhi said.
Here is how politics can mix with yoga…if we understand yoga as philosophy and not only exercise. Philosophy and knowledge are more valuable when a society faces social and political corruption. People need to find ways to confront behaviours of stealing, irresponsibility and greed. The Yamas (ethical rules, basically our attitude towards the environment) are the first of the eight limbs that constitute the teachings of Yoga from Patanjali. The asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques) come after the Yamas. Only theoretically the first limb is the most important part for a person to be instructed yoga…obviously there are stages to find peace but this of course doesn’t mean that we strictly follow the eightfold path one limb at a time.
So the 5 Yamas in this context form precepts of social discipline. Not merely a talk on ethics and morality that we think we are all well informed. They are logical stages and requirements that make us able to adjust in all state of affairs in which we are placed in the present moment; our relationship and attitude towards people around us is the principal theme.
Ahimsa means non violence (in actions, words or thoughts) relating to kindness in attitude. Taking responsibility of our actions by not causing any harm to ourselves and others is one way to understand ahimsa. George Feuerstein said that ‘we are completely responsible for how we are present in the world’.
Satya means truthfulness (in actions, words or thoughts) relating to honesty…hmmm… When we communicate in truthfulness and are whole-hearted, then the reality that is created around us is real with no doubts, no mistakes and no hesitation.
Asteya means non stealing, we don’t consciously desire something, we don’t take something that belongs to somebody else, in other words, trustworthiness. A vicious circle of unethical actions can be provoked when asteya is present.
Brahmacarya literally means celibacy but should’t be misunderstood. It suggests that when we try to find the essential truth, the absolute truth and harmony, we need to make the responsible choices. Without getting lost in our senses and desires we find the right relationships and we can control and channel our energies wisely.
Aparigraha means non greediness that create all this absolute attachment with our possesions. When we are attached with things, people, the past or anything then we are not free.
P.Hersnack describes: “Ahimsa opens a protected space for the relationship and Satya allows the simplicity and direct inteaction. Asteya allows what is precious to life to reveal itself and Brahmacarya preserves and rekindles our energy for staying with what is essential. Aparigraha goes beyond the point of the relationship. Aparigraha is to explore the possibility of not accumulating, nor being attached to what is found in a relationship based on freedom. It is the deep understanding of ‘the why and the how of life’
Imagine how different things would be in the world if some people that make decisions for others could learn to cultivate the Yamas, in other words…the laws of nature as an intergration of values. Back in the political scene and under the instructions of the modern fast paced life that we live, these laws of the nature of our existence are neglected and because in every action there is a reaction, the exploitation of any individual in any manner whatsoever will set up a reaction of natural sources in a relevant intensity.
May love and peace prevail..