by Michael Ketterhagen
Let peacemakers remember, let them above all remember,
that it is no manner of good preaching peace
unless we preach the things that make for peace.
There is a lot of violence in today’s world and we really need peace. The unrest might have a negative consequence on our environment, too. The violence certainly is destroying some parts of our cities and our relationships.
Many people are saying that we have to change the systems that have caused much of the unrest. Spokespeople for those marching in the streets say that the people need access to high quality food, need affordable and healthy housing, need more responsive healthcare, need more equality in the wealth of the country, and need education that lifts children out of poverty.
All of those improvements in the way society operates would greatly enhance the peace of the world, at least in the United States.
Yoga agrees with these needed changes and yoga says that peace really begins with one’s experience of personal peace. Yoga teaches that we must learn how to relax and breathe.
Yoga teaches postures that bring the mind to focus on the stillness of the body.
Yoga teaches diaphragmatic breathing methods that make the breath smooth, continuous, even, deep and quiet.
Yoga teaches practices that focus the mind and release the anxiety, worry, and fear so thoughts of love, confidence, and compassion rule the mind.
Yoga teaches individuals a peaceful lifestyle that will feed one’s body and mind with the courage and tools each person needs to respond positively to the turmoil that confronts society now.
Yoga also knows that out of those moments of deep relaxation and wonderful diaphragmatic breathing non-violent insights of love and creative action emerge. Out of that deep surrender to the Life Force of the Breath, people will see what needs to change the way the individual and the community live. The love that flows from the experience of total peace within an individual would manifest itself in building a better society.
So, yoga preaches peace by teaching relaxation practices, body-balancing postures and diaphragmatic breathing methods that help each of us reach that peaceful, loving Center within.
I encourage all of us to spend more time learning to deeply relax and breathe in the manner that Yoga teaches. The teachers at the Center are ready to help you learn these important yogic skills.