If we want to bring about sustainable peace and harmony in our world, we must start from ourselves. It is critical that we develop and cultivate a healthy and aware relationship with love. With determination and discipline, yoga practice can allow us to do that.

Yoga means union – the union between the Self and the higher consciousness or God. And although love must be experienced to be understood, love is often described as the higher consciousness, God or divine. (One does not have to be Christian to appreciate the biblical description by John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.) Yoga is a practice that gives us the space and tools to go inward, to become aware of the source of love within, to love ourselves and to relate to all that is around us from a state of love.

However, one must be determined to follow this path with the understanding that this is the way to a peaceful and harmonious world. To be in the state of love or not to be in the state of love is the choice of every individual. We do not have the power to change others and at times do not have the power to change what happens to us, but we can decide how to relate to others and the situations we find ourselves in. In every given moment and situation we encounter it is up to us to respond from a state of love or not.

If the decision is made to live from love, the journey can be sustained only through disciplined practice. Practicing Yoga seriously, we learn to listen to ourselves, our body and our mind, attentively. We are able to find the source of love within. By becoming more aware of what is happening within us, we learn to accept ourselves the way we are, to love ourselves the way we are. By purifying our mind and body we are able to generate space in which we can observe our thoughts, our actions and reactions. By understanding ourselves, we are better able to understand others and consequently, to be more compassionate – to show our love.

Continuous practice of Yoga gives us the opportunity to master our mind and trains our brain to repeatedly respond with love. Fortunately, yoga can be practiced from the moment we awake to the moment we fall asleep. Of course, separate time needs to be set aside for asanas, pranayama, and meditation, but Yoga can also be practiced within each and every interaction we have with ourselves or others. The first two limbs of Yoga as described by Patanajali (Yamas and Niyamas) help aspirants on their way. The Yamas have to do with training our thoughts, speech and actions in relation to others, while the Niyamas describe observances in relation to oneself. If we are diligent and persistent in our practice, we will be successful.

Imagine a world where each individual takes the time to find the space, the silence within themselves, and to get in touch with their inner source of love. People would respond less with anger, jealousy, greed, agitation and hatred. The world would be a safer and happier place, full of love, peace and harmony.

Polina Mischenko


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