Using Yoga for Health and Social Transformation


"In the last few years the world over there has been an increasing acceptance of yoga – some people choose to practice yoga for physical fitness, while others have been practicing yoga for managing stress and enhancing well-being. There are also large numbers of people who practice yoga for therapeutic purposes. Most people who practice yoga and experience its’ benefits may not need scientific research on yoga to enhance this experience." --Excerpted from Yoga for Health and Social Transformation Conference brochure

For some of you, the title of this post might feel a bit...exaggerated. Or perhaps a bit far-fetched. As someone who practices yoga regularly and has taught and worked with many others who have transformed themselves and the folks around them (yes, there is a ripple affect) by doing the same, I can feel the truth of this title in my bones. Earlier this month, there was a conference in India with this very title. During the opening address of this conference, the following was said:

"...the state of the world and the state of society is badly in need of yoga and spirituality. The world has been brought to a global village and everyone can see what’s happening, all at the same time.

But still, we can say that joy, harmony, and peace have increased."

No News is Good News

Over the holidays, I was exposed to something that I normally don't follow at all -- the news. Even though I wasn't consciously watching the news on TV, the TV was on in the background and every now and again my eye would be drawn towards the tidings of doom and gloom on the screen. After returning home, I noticed that I had a lingering sense of fear about what's going on in the world. This feeling reminded me of why I don't watch the news at all at home. The focus on the negative doesn't help anyone -- it simply inspires more fear. And if there's anything I've learned in my life it's that action coming from fear is never good.

The Gloom and Doom Antidote

Yes, there are awful things happening in the world. And yes, quite frankly, I am scared for the generations behind me. It can be easy to get mired in this negative thinking and forget all of the good things in the world. One of my favorite sources for a reminder is the wonderful book, Pronoia by Rob Brezsny. I recommend a daily dose of Pronoia to combat the bad news deluge in this negative-focused society that we live in.

Yoga's Role in the Change

So how can yoga impact a single person, a community, or the world to inspire change? Click here to read the opening address of the Yoga for Health and Social Transformation Conference for a few ideas.

The conference also covered a variety of health topics as well. Click here to read about yoga's possible role in health care.

The conference, which was held January 2-5, was covered via blog. If you'd like to read daily reports from the conference, click here for the blog.

Where the Body Goes, the Mind is Sure to Follow

One of the (many) things that excited me about this conference was the reporting on yoga's helpfulness with physical ailments. Last week I discussed yoga for EVERY body, and I am feeling the need to jump back on that soap box. Yoga isn't only for those who seem to be the very portrait of health, living an active life free of pain. Yoga is also for people who deal with chronic pain and/or ailments.

Last year, I wrote about Renee LeVerrier, author of Yoga for Movement Disorders. She is a shining example of how yoga can be adapted for any individual, no matter what the circumstances. Renee has followed up her award-winning book with a brand new DVD. Here's a preview of the DVD:

The DVD offers 2 hours of video, including:

  • Warm-up series
  • Morning flow
  • Afternoon flow
  • Evening flow
  • Sun Salutation
  • Standing and seated variations of each
  • Tips concerning balance, posture, tremor

If you or anyone you know is suffering from a movement disorder, this DVD is a wonderful illustration of how yoga can increase quality of life. You can purchase a copy of the DVD from Barnes and Noble, Borders, and/or Target

If you're a yoga teacher who wants to start working with folks with movement disorders, Renee is now offering a specialized Teacher Training for which the next training class is March 19. Click here for more information about this training.

Okay, I guess I can step off my soap box now. I just love expanding one's view of yoga to encompass more than just the perfection of Headstand. My work is done here.



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