Unlocking the Gate to Inner Peace With Yoga

Unlocking the Gate to Inner Peace With Yoga

Delphine Dard (The London School of Economics, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3001-5.ch008

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to show that yoga as a mind-body practice is absolutely relevant for promoting peace worldwide. Yoga proposes to any individual to first cultivate his inner peace and easing his own tensions in order to behave more peacefully with others. Starting from the modern physical practice of yoga in the West, the first part will demonstrate how yoga can first help any practitioner relaxing his own body. As a mind-body practice, yoga has also the ability to help any individual calming down the fluctuations of his mind. Cultivating inner steadiness will help the people reaching a more spiritual state of mind to become open enough to listen more carefully to the universal wisdom taught by yoga. In the second part, an explanation of the philosophical basis and of the roots of yoga will help one to understand how the discipline furthers the art of oneness. The last part will display examples of how yoga is particularly relevant for addressing modern issues that specific population such as refugees, soldiers, and prisoners are facing.
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Background: Yoga In The Modern World: From Physical Purpose To Spiritual Relief

On December 11, 2014, the United Nations (UN) proclaimed June 21 International Yoga Day (UN, 2015, resolution 69/131). The purpose in doing so was to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of this ancient Indian discipline for the health of the body and the mind by bringing more physical flexibility and internal steadiness but also to recognize its universal appeal.

The media have broadcasted images of 11,000 people gathering in Times Square in New York to practise yoga together on International Yoga Day.

Yoga has crossed ages and continents to become mainstream also in the West, especially since the end of the 20th century. This is thus a well-deserved public recognition.

Specifying the intention of the world organization, UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-Moon explained that yoga has the capacity of balancing “body and soul, physical health and mental well-being,” and promoting “harmony among people, between ourselves and the natural world” (June 21, 2016).

An answer on how is this possible can be found in Rishikesh, one of the spiritual centres and cradles of yoga, in India. Every year since 1989, the city hosts the International Yoga Festival. The event is famous and well respected not only in India, but also worldwide, as people and scholars from around the world converge there to practice and share their thoughts about yoga in our modern world.

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