Philosophy Amid Change

Last week I began talking about the yamas and niyamas, or moral codes for a yogic way of living, since I feel that there is deeply valuable knowledge we can all take away from the concepts outlined in these limbs of yoga. It isn’t some sort of incendiary remark, but rather just observation that living history in America has been marked by knowing what is coming around the corner with relatively few degrees of variation, and the last few years have beset us with challenges no one could have foreseen. After a lifetime of predictability and societal calm (discounting the interwar period and the civil rights movement), these repeated disruptions in business-as-usual hit us in a deep emotional spot and continue to rock the foundation of many I know. Talking about how to navigate these waters within the context of a philosophy built by people who peaceably resisted colonizers and others with ill intent could be a boon to us relatively naïve modern Americans. India, the birthplace of yoga, was subject to colonial rule by the British for three and a half centuries, during which time the people inhabiting what we know today as India saw unspeakable violence in the name of western imperialism. Swami Vivekenanda, one of America’s very first yoga teachers, remarked that all the mud on the bottom of the Indian Ocean does not compare to the amount of filth slung at the Indian people by the British. I don’t say all this to rile you up, but rather to demonstrate that we can and should learn from others who have grown through and thrived without resorting to abject violence, anger, or impatience. You do not have to feel like you are drowning- yogic philosophy can give you buoyancy if you walk the walk. Follow us here in the coming weeks for some soul searching and healing words from one of the oldest systems of living well.

– Colleen, Sacred Hour Massage Therapist + Head Staff Writer