The Yoga of Politics

As a general rule, I try not to bring politics into my teaching. It can be divisive and triggering for people – the opposite of what we are going for in yoga. However, the current election is so deeply enmeshed in the consciousness of our society that it has to be looked at one way or another. I choose to perceive it like I do all of life: through a yogic lens.

Historically, when a leader has arisen through narcissistic or oppressive behavior, he or she leaves an indelible mark. It is the mark of infamy, and it causes those in the aftermath of that leadership to be left with a heavy conscience. The textbook (or google) definition of a conscience is “an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one's behavior.” Our conscience is our voice that recognizes the inherent good in all beings. It’s the part of our spirit that can recognize the self in others. It’s the place we are speaking from when we say “Namaste.” When we acknowledge the intrinsic connection of all beings, we transcend differences in race, religion, gender, and politics. We realize that the person who is standing up there on the podium is actually a reflection, on some part, of our own self.

To me, this election is a reminder of the values we have mistakenly taken on as a culture, and the healing that needs to be done as a result. We actually have to look inward and ask ourselves: what is being brought to light in this dialogue? Where have I personally disempowered myself or other races? Where have I objectified other women, or allowed myself as a woman to be objectified? Where have I been mistrusting? When do I lie? When have I looked at money as a symbol or self-worth? All of these topics are being surfaced right now because they can no longer afford to be hidden. That is actually what the practice of yoga teaches us: how to bring the light of our awareness to the subject at hand. That subject might be a physical posture, a breath technique, a visualization, or it might be our finances, our relationships, or politics. They are all just experiences that arise and fall in our consciousness.

In fact, yoga teaches us that everything on this realm exists as consciousness. All of my thoughts, feelings, and limited beliefs are in some way being mirrored back to me at all times. Our political candidates are just reflections of what the majority of our country has seen value in. As one of my teachers likes to say: It’s not what’s coming at us, it’s what’s coming from us.

In my humble opinion, rather than analyze, fear and place blame in this election, we need to take responsibility for our own actions and create the change we wish to see in the world. Let’s perceive the rhetoric not as negative talk but as a catalyst for change. Through awareness comes transformation and ultimately, evolution. Evolution happens because one way of living is no longer sustainable, and the conscience of a people decides to take a new course. We can use this experience not to strengthen our political ties but to strengthen our connection to each other and grow as a whole.

4 Responses

  1. Hi Sarah ! ?? I am a member of your ( and Alan's ) Ishta Yoga Studio and had the pleasure of meeting you personally, as well as participating in one of your Yoga classes, and having , what was for me - and I hope it was for you, as well - an interesting and important email exchange with you related to my Yoga practice and recieving one on one Yoga coaching. Thank you for posting your reflections on this current "political cycle" , as it relates to our own " life cycles ", and whether we choose to view them as good or bad, etc. As I began reading your comments, Sarah, I did feel my stomach/solar plexus getting triggered ( as you so correctly forecasted may happen ) by all sorts of combative thoughts, of which I'll spare sharing with you and your readers. As I continued reading however, I calmed down considerably enough to genuflect ( not exactly sure what that word means - but it sounds ) in a positive manner on your comments and the personal energy you were putting out there. One final comment : With all due respect, Sarah, it would make me feel better - and in the interest of fair play and equal time - if in addition to your posting ( in the past ) an important quote by Mrs. Clinton, that you also include a positive quote by Mr. Trump ( and yes, they're out there, lol ! ) in the future...and yes, that would probably upset a great many women, and yoginis. On the positive side, it would probably generate a a lot of comments on your blog, to which you could refer folks to this article, and generate more ( hopefully positive ) transformative comments. After all, the Universe/God/Higher Power, in it's " infinite wisdom", did create " the Donald " for our individual and collective benefit...and whether other yogis and yoginis , in their wonderful " finite wisdom ", either see that or don't see that , agree or disagree with the Universe's/God/Higher Power's judgement, or with my comments and judgement, as well, is great, either way. " Let Freedom Ring ". Let's honor and respect each others choices - political and otherwise - whether we agree with them or not...and as for myself, I'm still learning to respect and feel compassion for the " other ", ( and yes, I've got a long way to go, as I stumble along ) because the " other " is really me, as well ( non-dualistic thinking for a change ). Sorry folks for my long comment. ...Thanks again Sarah for a well timed post...and don't forget to vote, folks...? lol. Namaste ? - Aaron ? ?
    • Hi Aaron, thank you for your very generous feedback. I was particularly conscious not to include any names in my blog, so it’s interesting the conclusions we come to when reading it! As all things in life, it really comes down to perspective and how we perceive things to be. One might perceive one electoral candidate to be narcissistic while another might perceive the opposite. Any of the beliefs I listed are meant to be ‘generalisms.' Our thoughts as wavelengths are neutral. It’s the perceptions we add to those thoughts that give them value. :) Thank you again for sharing and engaging. And yes - don’t forget to vote!
  2. Thank you for expressing so well what I have been thinking!

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