Be the Change! Walking the Talk toward Peace

The question: How do we foster peace in our society?
Mahatma Gandhi’s famous aphorism, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” gives us a sensible clue. If we want to change anything toward a certain direction, we must, as individuals, exemplify that tendency. We must “walk the talk” that we promote. Hence, if our intention is to help the world realize peace, we must first nurture it within ourselves.

However, this is not how the real world works at present. Our world and nations are governed by organizations, governmental, international, NGOs, private, etc., many of whose mission it is to improve the world or the nation. Unfortunately, many tend to focus more on trying to change others “for the better,” for more peace, more awareness, more safety, more rights, without ensuring that their own organization models the improvements they strive for. Similarly, the individuals running the organization may try to change the attitudes and behaviors of their human resources, without taking a step back to make sure they exemplify that which they want from their colleagues. The old saying goes that the children of the cobbler have no shoes of their own. We can see organizations that fight for labor rights, have their own employees living with an unhealthy level of work-related stress on a daily basis. Organizations that promote education for all have cut all the funding for educating and developing their own staff. Organizations that promote peace, equanimity, love and compassion, are often complaining, blaming others, and not creating an environment conducive to peace within their employees.

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Focusing on the Foundations: Fostering World Peace through Inner Peace

We live in a world where violence is commonplace, ubiquitous. We see it everyday on television, social media, we experience it in our neighborhoods, our homes, and at times even exert it on ourselves. Based on statistics, the status of peace in our world has not seen much improvement. The Global Peace Index 2014 shows that since 2008 peace has increased in 51 countries, but declined in 111 countries.

Violence is one of the leading causes of death in the world for persons aged 15 to 44.  The World Health Organization in Geneva estimated that violence is the cause of more than 1.6 million deaths worldwide every year. Sadly, for every $1,885 spent on military budgets around the world, only $1 is spent on conflict prevention.  

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Yoga Teacher & The Art of Differentiation (Addressing Student Needs)

You may have had the experience of being a teacher of twenty-five or more students. Possibly you have this experience daily. If so, you have likely encountered the difficulty of meeting all the students’ individual needs. No matter the subject matter taught, the needs of students differ. Students of all ages have varying attention spans, differences in how quickly they grasp certain content or in the method through which they learn best (visually, experientially, etc.). Students also have different personalities depending on their genes and life experiences or upbringing. All these factors influence how successful they will be in learning and how successful the teacher will be in teaching the students effectively.

The art of teaching effectively involves many aspects. One of the most important of which is differentiation. Differentiation in the classroom means tailoring one’s teaching to the needs of the students. In courses where the wellbeing or safety of the individuals is at stake it is especially important to ensure that each student learns well the content. As teachers, we want to ensure that students do not harm themselves within or outside the classroom by misusing the teaching. This places much responsibility on us teachers to be attentive, skillful and diligent in our work.

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Yoga and Music in India

How Hatha yoga and music connect… I will here share my experience of being a Hindustani musician as well as a Hatha Yoga practionner for about 20 years. Recently I have completed a 6 weeks retreat at the Himalaya Shanti Ashram of HIYC which helped me a lot bringing all this together !

The goal of Hatha Yoga is to experience peace and freedom. This can be only experienced in a quiet mind and body. The all job is then to minimize the noise from the mind and body… only through silence, the self will be accessible.

At the body level, silence is gained by reducing the body pain. Tensions and tightness are the noise that our body feels more or less loudly as background sensations.

At the mental level, the noises are the arising of thoughts. Some louder than others will keep silence at a far distance. Allowing thoughts to go away without reaction helps silence to come back. According its deepness we can have different quality of silence.

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Yoga In Our Daily Lives

Life is a field of activity - call it nature, universe, prakrti (Sanskrit word), space-time matrix, quantum field, or by any other name. It is absolutely experiential to any participant of it. Activity means a constant action. And this action is inevitable to all living beings. We all dwell inside the action game of the 'cause and effect'. We can’t remember the beginning of it and we don’t really know where the end of it is. We all reside within a certain framework of law of nature.

If we concentrate for a while and observe - we see that there’s always a freedom of choice within that field of activity. And these, our choices, they define the direction of our activity, shape our very existence. It is not necessarily to be spiritual in order to understand that choice - conscious or unconscious - is always there. Our whole life is a chain of choices. One can find that not choosing is also a choice - choice to have no direction in the field of action and decision to depend on inner and outer flows of the circumstances.

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Sharat Arora
03 August 2016
16.10.14 When we do a practice like we do in our Iyengar Yoga centres, we gain understanding, so we increase our awareness about ourselves and about the world. We go inside and the mind slowly stops i...