How Yoga can Change the World. Part 1

There is an inner and an outer world. For yogis there’s not much to say about how the practice of yoga transforms ones’ inner state, and how by extension transforms the world, one person at a time.

But is there a way to engage further in our activism through our practice? The yamas and niyamas are core, practical guidelines for a conscious life that can inform not just our own decisions but how we share our values with others. Michael Stone’s book: The Inner Tradition of Yoga is a wonderful introduction to these.

On a more basic level though, I would offer the act of listening. The body knows exactly the response to each situation, enjoyment or injustice, pleasure or pain, yet so often our mind interferes. Be it by hassling us at times of peace with reminders of suffering, or by haranguing us with messages of defeat when we fight our battles worth fighting. 

Last week I had the privilege of attending a day of talks and workshops hosted by Advaya Initiative in which we listened to a range of talkers from various fields of activism. The introductory talk by the co-hosts Ulex Project encouraged us from the outset to not listen only with the mind but with the whole being. To check in with oneself, the practice of which is a constant for the yogi, saves the activist from burnout.

It seems we are living at exciting times when the activists are not pitted against the spiritual seekers as they may have been in the past; the navel gazing narcissists who view the world from afar against the railing angry protesters who have bees in their bonnet about all planetary issues.

No, it seems there is a settling into our shared humanity. And by settling I don’t mean a complacency. The activists are being more active than ever before, but there is a peacefulness to these warriors that gives them renewed energy. As one speaker put it; the energy comes from the victories that have been won already.


The final speaker on this day of ‘Regenerative Activism’ was less a speaker than an ‘embodier’. Pat McCabe represents Indigenous Truth, and as she herself says: there is no such thing as many truths. We are not many beings, we are one, we are, in the words of Thich Nhat Hanh: ‘Inter-Being’, and to tune into this is nothing less than to tune into every scream, every tear, every smile, every victory, every thing that makes us human.

The word human means Divine Mind: (‘Hu’ Divine ‘Mana’ Mind), let us not drift too far from our shared Divinity.

So how do we do activism? By listening, by continuing to align with the Truth. By our actions, by our words, by our thoughts, by our intentions. We do activism in everything we do and everything we choose not to do. We do activism by being at one with each other.

Hare Om.