The other day, while my husband and I were taking our morning walk, I casually mentioned that maybe yoga could save the world. He looked at me like I was more than a little nuts and said, “Come on, now. You’re sounding like some kind of religious zealot.” (I admit I do tend to be a little head-over-heels about my favorite pastime.)
But why can’t yoga save the world? After all, if everyone practiced yoga (excluding babies, but they are actually natural-born yogis, some say), the world would be quite a different place. For one thing, if everyone practiced ahimsa, or non-harming, there would be no wars. And the planet would certainly be better off, because no one would be harming Mother Earth, either. Most likely, a number of diseases could be healed as well. We’d all stop chasing after the demands of our egos and try to see things from a more balanced perspective.
Maybe it’s silly to think that yoga could save the world, but on the other hand, yoga does keep spreading, and I’ve yet to see the negative consequences (other than the fact that the Whole Foods parking lot is always full). There are yoga centers everywhere these days, and it’s not uncommon to find even the most unlikely candidates pulling out their mats. Twenty years ago if someone yelled “downward dog!” in a crowded movie theatre, no one would have known what it meant. But today, I’m sure at least a third of the folks would know exactly what asana was being described.
Yoga is infiltrating grade schools and churches, libraries and senior centers, police departments, corporations and football teams…so why shouldn’t it get to the point where a giant, cosmic, yogic shift starts to take place? Some say it’s already happening.
I may be a dreamer (and maybe I am a yoga zealot), but it seems to me that following the tenets of yoga may indeed be the only way for the planet to survive. To be strong yet peaceful, to be compassionate yet disciplined, to be respectful of the natural environment, the self, and others seems the best way to ensure future survival. Of course, you don’t have to be a yogi to believe in these things (any more than you have to be a church-goer to do good deeds). Some of my best friends, after all, would not call themselves yogis (even though they live as yogis do).
Still, I maintain that it’s only a matter of time before yoga takes over the world. And when that cosmic shift happens-- when there are more people who can stand on their heads than people who can’t--humanity is going to view life from a very different perspective. Like it or not, yoga is on a roll, so if you haven't yet, you might as well pass the gluten-free vegan granola bars and join us.