Yoga and the Global Crisis – Reflections 2020

It’s approaching three months since I walked away from our Yoga Studio in Hove. Like many, I entered a state of initial grief wrapped in uncertainty. The full calendar remained hanging in the kitchen with the weeks ahead filled with plans and promise. I found it impossible to be still at this time and leapt into action. I used this energy to set up my online Yoga studio, with much appreciated tech and web support from my husband. My daughter was still studying, not yet aware of her A levels soon to be cancelled. With my husband ensconcing himself in our attic office, my daughter shut in her bedroom with her books, I took over the living room to share videos and Zoom sessions.

It didn’t take long for a rhythm to set in and within that pockets of time opened up to possibilities. The enormity of the global situation sat heavily with me and while I made use of the time to paint walls, garden, clean and cook, listening to the media was not a good idea. I switched off the news and making the best of the early spring with its glorious sunshine and magical arrays of flowers, I have since chosen to focus on the positives as much as I can.

I am blessed to live surrounded by the South Downs and to be fit and well enough to immerse myself in the outdoor beauty while cycling, running or walking. With grief and urgency now past, I entered a state of beautiful stillness and presence. This felt like an exciting opportunity, which I filled with self- reflection and study. Retrieving some old essays from my younger studies, I returned my focus to the origins and aims of Yoga and began to revisit its ancient philosophical roots.

We are reminded through Yogic study not to simply live life, but to recognise that we are life itself. Yet it is impossible to define what life is! Life is a mystery that has caught hold of all of us. We work tirelessly for it with promises of satisfaction and gain. Objects, circumstances and opportunities can be filled with hope. Life will go on promising yet ‘it’ will never satisfy. How can ‘it’ as we are life itself – no separation.

Focusing deeply on this non-dualistic approach it becomes clearer and clearer that our troubled world cannot be healed until a sense of oneness is restored. Modern systems of work, education and ways of life sever our connection. We generally regard knowing as a process of seeing, observing and gathering information. We are taught scientific definitions and descriptions, educated in terms of functional perception and phenomenon. We seek outside of ourselves for reconciliation or gratification. So we are bound to grab and grasp at things in the vain hope to obtain connections and maintain relationships. This is disconnection and we cannot connect and disconnect at the same time.

Ancient Sages and Masters have pondered over this separation for thousands of years. Nearly 2000 BC until 500 BC the ancient Indian scriptures of the Vedas were written. These still form the basis of the Hindu religion and it is these teachings that proclaim to offer a solution to these problems.

There is much to mourn in the world, suffering and death from sickness and disease, violence and war, greed, anger hatred and poorly disturbed wealth. We are in a global crisis and Covid 19 is one representation of this. There are no new lessons, but an urgent call for us to return to our vital connection that has been lost through political and economic forces. Our governments are investing huge amounts of time and money to ‘fight the virus’, and while a vaccine may offer temporary relief we need a shift in the conversation. We need to address the causes of disease, the causes of hate crimes, wars, greed, theft. None of which are possible when an integrated non-dualistic approach is adopted. If we are life itself we cannot bleed the earth for financial gain, nor hurt another living soul.

It is the gradual, organically changing process of shifting our awareness from the externally perceived world around us, inwards to the recognition that we are ‘life itself’ that the Veda offers. Methods of PRACTICE – YOGA – the practice of Yoga in all it’s many forms.

The weeks have ticked on and some days are hard. Yet as Gaia breathes a deeper and cleaner breath it is difficult not to feel joyful. The bird song is louder, the waters cleaner, the sky clearer and we have this chance to stop, think and make wise decisions. I know we lack wise leadership, but keep faith in your inner wisdom and make it a practice to be entirely and honestly yourself as an essential living part of this dynamic becoming that we are all creating…….



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