The Blog

Can Yoga Change the World?

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.


When an Eastern or Indian Prime Minister addresses the United Nations and dedicates some of that time to add that there should be an International Yoga Day where we change ourselves and inspire the world to change, people hear it. Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered yoga as one of India's contributions to global efforts. It is not just exercise, he said. "By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change," he said. "Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day." Somehow it would be heard differently if President Obama were to say it; perhaps critics would murmur that something has gone real wrong here.

I wonder, if we were to imagine an International Yoga Day where the world is invited to turn inward, create union with a higher consciousness and allow the result of such a global practice to spread far and wide, what would happen?

I believe we would:

1. Feel healthier,
2. Think higher,
3. Love greater,
4. Act wiser, and
5. Be happier.

Actually, I believe the world would shift into being a virtual Golden Age. Imagine waking up and not being afraid, feeling needy or being divisive about how our next dollar will come. Perhaps this new reality would not even require us to lock our doors and instead a feeling of trust would flow through our neighborhoods.

There are countless forms and practices of Yoga in the world today. However, I would like to explore Raja Yoga and its basic tenets which are: 1. Consider yourself a soul, 2. Remember the supreme soul, 3. Don't give or take sorrow, 4. Remember, everyone comes to play out a part, 5. This is the confluence age in the cycle of time, so change yourself for the world to change.

It's pretty simple. Yet, harnessing one's thoughts and becoming balanced and pure in a time when everything is so out of balance seems like a big soul challenge. Think about being aware and observant of your own thoughts and checking if those thoughts match the qualities of a deity - one full of virtues and good intentions. We might notice how we feel more elevated, or realize how much we have deviated from our real purpose at this time.

Raja Yoga focuses on the "chit," those deep recorded memories of many lives and how the experiences from those lives impact our current story. That's what makes us so different. Most experiences that are filled with pain coming from vices such as anger, lust, greed, attachment, and ego, have taken over the real soul-conscious state of our existence. The expressions of kindness, love, generosity and peace have been hidden by these vices.

Life gets out of balance. Stuff gets complex. In Raja Yoga, one is gently urged to forge a union with the Supreme Being which is a much higher state of consciousness than our mundane way of moving along when we are late for a meeting, trapped in rush hour traffic, or struggling to keep a relationship that no longer serves us. The effort, or shall I say, the fortune, is to raise one's awareness away from the limited titles, gender, religion, roles and physical form, to regain a solid connection and experience of pure love and peace which one experiences in Raja Yoga. What emerges from the experience is a changed person who begins to bring about change in the world around them.

So, when Prime Minister Modi asks for an International Yoga Day, he's on to something big! He's on to making this world a better place.