How is Yoga Important When we Need to Change the World?
Have you wondered if you should be going to your yoga class, or instead doing something about changing the world? About saving us all from the stupid and hurtful things that are happening?
All the anger and pain and vastly unfair distribution of wealth and privilege? The threats to the planet from Climate Change and to people from wars and terrorism?
Changing the world? We still need yoga
Well, my answer is to do both because when we feel passionate about things that are wrong in our world we tend to get full of anger, of hate. These emotions eat us up. They send us into our flight or fight mode. They power us on but can send us crashing when we suddenly end up depleted and exhausted.
“Anybody can become angry – that is easy. But to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time for the right purpose and in the right way – that is not so easy.” – Aristotle
Knowing how to channel your anger can lead to creativity. Knowing when to rest and re-charge can mean you complete the marathon, not just the sprint.
“As heat is transmuted into energy, even so our anger can be transmuted into a power which can move the world” – Mahatma Ghandi
Do you do self-care?
Whether you consider yourself an ‘activist’ or not, if you are engaged in any form of social conscience you need to factor in self-care.
Whether your ‘activism’ is creating social media to raise awareness or co-ordinate protests; protecting your town from a polluting incinerator; collecting clothing and supplies for refugees; campaigning for a political party; travelling the world to volunteer for charity; or staying at home and bringing up your kids to be kind and thoughtful citizens, you need time for you. Activist burnout is a very real thing.
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lorde, civil rights activist and feminist
So when someone says that yoga is indulgent, that we should instead be out saving the world instead. Know that you are. You are re-booting. You are learning to channel your anger into creativity and power. You are taking time to make sure that you are in it for the long-haul.
And because we have to love what we are fighting for. We need to embrace life. What use is it fighting for a better world if we don’t enjoy our time on it?
Feel like you could do with a quick-fix for some of this right now?
Try Crocodile pose. This is brilliant for a quick re-boot if you are feeling tired, let down or just plain annoyed. Like when you read the comments section on a newspaper article or the trolls on Twitter.