Yoga For Unity

June 19, 2018
Yoga for Unity

Have you ever been in a crowded room? Felt the warmth build up around you, consciously moved your body in synchronicity to an innate flow of motion, sharing breath and togetherness with strangers?

To me this is what Yoga is about.

A sense of togetherness, union, love, kindness to all, breaking down of old stories and barriers that burden us. Leaving behind the “I” and creating a space for “We”.

On 11th December 2014, the United Nations general Assembly passed a resolution declaring 21st June as “International Yoga Day.”

This declaration was made after the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech at the UN on 27 Sept 2014 in New York, called for the same, wherein he stated:

“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness within you, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”

But, what is Yoga?

Yoga, translated from Sanskrit is “union,” A union of the body with the mind, mind with the soul.

Yoga is union of the self (yourself) with the higher Self. This higher Self is referred to as true wisdom, intuitive knowledge.
Yoga is unity.

The bringing together of a flexible teacher that can do a full split, with an 85-year-old doing a modified Sun Salutation in his wheelchair.

Bringing a mischievous six-year-old to stand still for two seconds in a Tree pose and at the same time bringing an autistic child to move his arms and legs in the same flow as his teacher.

Yoga is a way of living, sharing and connecting with those around us.

In the spirit of the 4th year running I wanted to get a few voices together and create unity within this beautiful form of exploration that we share. I want to share Yoga as much as possible.

I want more people to get to know the teachers around them, to put a face to a name and know that this thing called Yoga is not so scary. Not even a little bit.

I compiled a few questions to several yoga teachers in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape town.

Here is what they had to say.

Bruce Burger - Living Yoga

Who are you and what do you do?
Just a Human Being, teaching yoga.

Favourite and least favourite Yoga pose if you have such a thing?
Although important, poses are just poses to me, some I can do well, and some I can’t do at all.

How do you teach yoga?
I try and teach with compassion for all, we are all simply human, each with constraints and struggles, and simply trying our best to survive.

What is that one thing that keeps you coming back to teaching others but also staying with your own practice?
Experiencing others happiness and freedom that comes from the practice, this happiness hopefully rubs off a little in the outside world, motivating others to be happy and free.

Has Yoga changed since you started, if so how and how do you feel about where it is going?
Yes it has. There appears to be more emphasis on the “look” of the pose, therefore an attachment to the self-importance of physical form which results in egoism and a disconnect with others and to the planet, which is opposite to the purpose of yoga. This disconnectedness results in harming, cruelty, abuse, greed, etc, and therefore a disconnect with the true Self, which is Love.

Please finish the sentence. I just wish people would...?
Be kind.

Nokuphiwo Noks Jada - Earth Child Project

View Video

Who are you and what do you do?
A yoga teacher. I teach school kids with their teachers weekly. Evening I hold space and lead Kirtan. a devotional song, typically about the life of Krishna, in which a group repeats lines sung by a leader.

I know we must live in the now but if you will...what are your future plans, goals, aspirations for this concious movement?
TEACH YOGA TO POLITICIANS, BUSINESS PEOPLE, POLICE, TAXI DRIVER AND TAXI OWNERS!!! Encouraging kindness to all as a practice for all.

If you could change anything before you leave this life what would it be?
We leave in a society that has a lot of competition and that create jealousy that leads to crime and violence. If we could all be equal no race no colour no material but just happy and healthy human.

Lastly how will you celebrate Yoga in 2018?
I celebrate it everyday. For me its yoga day everyday!!!

Dave Gardner - Budokon 

Who are you and what do you do?
In the absolute, I am that which animates the inanimate; and contribute to the endless cycle and transference of energy as it expands, shrinks and exists as it is. In the relative, I am a human born into a family of humans in South Africa, my name is Dave. I exist as everyone else does, living, creating and sharing in life. Being is what I prefer, but we all like to think we are doers. So in my doing I am slightly addicted to experience, and enjoy observing the mental and emotional attachments I create to these experiences. I love failing, learning and growing. Creating and sharing in this process of life is the miracle we have created, and destroy. At the core of me I yearn for a simple existence in honest communication with the environment. Perhaps what I do is seek to live a simple life, extraordinarily.

What do we need more of in life?
More awareness in the space between stimulus and response.

What is that one thing that keeps you coming back to teaching others but
also staying with your own practice?
I share and communicate honestly with myself, and with those that choose to learn with me. That is my practice. They are not separate. It's beautiful, it's ugly, it's simple, it's complex, it is - and that is what keeps me coming back - it is. It's real, it's authentic, in its own nature, it is and we are.

Dr Lucy Draper-Clarke - Heart-mind SA

Who are you and what do you do?
I teach yoga, mindfulness and compassion courses, and am working with Drama for Life at the University of the Witwatersrand. I am currently conducting research on Joyful Activism and I love leading retreats in beautiful places such as the Tara Rokpa Centre.

What do we need more of in life?
In the big cities, I feel that we need more opportunities to relax and find stillness, particularly by connecting with nature.

Lastly how will you celebrate Yoga in 2018?
I am passionate about taking our practice off the mat and into our homes, communities and workplaces, so that we become part of a conscious, engaged community who experience the deep joy that comes through helping others.

Steven Heyman - Yogaworks

Why is it important to incorporate Yoga into our daily lives?
A regular yoga practice is great to counter the effects of always being online, and long hours of sitting at a desk or in the car. It works both on a physical and mental level and creates strength, balance and flexibility in your body and mind.

What is your favourite style of Yoga to teach and to practice?
There are a lot of great yoga styles with wonderful benefits, but my personal favourite is the Vinyasa Flow style. It is a dynamic and active style of yoga and leaves a lot of creativity and choice to the instructor so that you always do changing classes or sequences. I would recommend for everyone to find the style and teacher that suits them.

Nadya Booyse - Lunula Yoga Studio

Why Yoga?
I am not a very physical person by nature, neither have I ever been able to muster up the motivation to partake in competition. So yoga drew me in initially because I don't have to do more than I am capable of, and I am not setting myself against anyone else. 
Once you're in it of course, you also realise that yoga is this whole scientific system built around helping people to become better versions of themselves. And no matter why you first enter a yoga class this is a very tangible result from the word get go. 

What is your favourite saying/Motto to live by?
'Be the change you want to see in the world', as well as 'how you do one thing is how you do everything'. Both of these work together and within my yoga practice, the first making it clear that the only change you can work in this world is on yourself, and the second becoming the method through which I observe my practice (and my life) to understand where my works lies. And the work is simply becoming a better version of myself, a version that no longer participates in the cycle of passing pain around. This is, of course, the ultimate goal of yoga as well: to step out of the cycle KARMA.

What makes you feel connected to your highest happiness?
I don't think it is any one thing that makes me feel connected. Feeling connected makes me feel connected  and it is a feeling that cannot be chased or synthesized or duplicated. It comes from being present and willing to connect when the moment arises: like when your toddler wants to explain her imagination to you; or the discussion with your pre-teen who needs to understand what happens when you go into puberty; it's when you happen to be driving in peak time traffic and you catch the sinking/rising sun in a picture perfect moment; it's when your husband stops to get you a feel better hot chocolate; or you go hiking and take a break; it's in learning new things and our teacher play dates; it is in a job well done; it's in a good book or the climax of a superhero movie; it is great sex, and deep meditations, and the death of a beloved pet... it's those moments when the world becomes intensely real and you have no plan so the only thing that is available to you is to feel and act from your heart while you focus on your breath.

Eon Swiegers - Eon Yoga

How did you get into Yoga?
Yoga introduced itself to me through a song by an artist that I respect. Damien Rice wrote a song where the term “yoga” casually featured. The word simply didn’t leave my mind and after attending my first yoga class I knew that I would make the discipline a part of my life.

How do you teach Yoga?
There is a very close link between my self-practice and the way I approach my classes. I share knowledge while I teach in order to give my students a better understanding of what they are doing on the mat. I also guide the teachers that I’ve qualified through my school to reach their personal yoga goals and becoming better teachers. Most students that have experienced an EON|Yoga class would say that its physically challenging.

What does your self practice look like?
My self-practice will always come first. I believe in leading by example. Meditation and many different pranayama practices form the foundation of my home practice. I maintained an ashtanga self-practice combined with a Power yoga approach in order to target areas of my body that needed attention. My practice moved from handstand orientated movements to kundalini yoga. My students can expect to experience kundalini on the mat with me in the near future…

So in conclusion to this piece.

How to celebrate Yoga?

The best way I know how is to share it.

Share the love and share the oneness, share the connection with those around you.

Yoga It not yours, it is not mine.

Yoga is for the willing.

We yearn for a more peaceful, unified world, filled with love and abundance for all. As we continue coming together, creating a community in time this is possible. So keep coming to your mat, keep on moving your body and connecting to your breath as this is the way of Yoga.

So what is Yoga to you, and how will you celebrate it?

Root'd in love,

Elichia xoxo


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