Let’s talk about how yoga plays a vital role in protection during the challenging times we face in the world.
It’s a topic that has come up often amongst friends and loved ones, especially in light of current events—how there is so much scary stuff going on in the media right now. It’s difficult, even painful, to watch the things happening on TV, the hardships and conflict amongst friends and family; and the rise in fear that’s going around. Especially if we see it all and are left feeling like there is very little we, personally, can do about it.
So what are the solutions for facing these challenges and how do we turn such challenges into an opportunity? For what doesn’t end us truly does have the power to make us stronger.
I wanted to share with you a few yoga tips for protection from Paramhansa Yogananda, author of one of the best known spiritual classics, “Autobiography of a Yogi.” Perhaps you are already familiar with some of these yoga tips, but it’s worth sharing and putting these ideas out there again, especially now, to remind us of what’s most important. Let it serve as a reminder or as something new that can be shared with friends.
The first tip for protection is being a channel for light. When we put out great energy we rise above and we are beyond; we can face change unafraid. In this act we also strengthen others because whatever we do work-wise within ourselves gets shared with other people. Even as we walk down the street we carry a vibration and it is powerful enough to affect others energetically, especially if we vibrate in the strong waves of positivity. the practice of yoga or meditation make it even louder.
The simplest example of being a channel of light is sharing kindness. For example, making the effort to be peaceful and harmonious in your own self, so that others can then feel that from you. True love in the face of bad treatment is difficult— it takes great power. But perhaps being kind in the moment is more doable. Yoga and meditation give you the inner strength you need to practice this, and daily, deep meditation is the most effective for centering.
One of the easiest things that we can do to be kind to others is smiling to those in need of a smile. it can be trying to avoid conflict in our own life by learning to practice yoga or meditation. It’s whatever we can do to strengthen ourselves so that we can be a channel for light.
Remember, the greater the number of people that choose to stay positive and to stay calm, that practice happiness and joy despite the circumstances, the more other people will feel that and become uplifted by that same powerful and uplifting energy. More people will able to resist falling into the same fear and worry that is trying to be spread right now. It’s like a consciousness or dis-ease in itself — the negativity. Recall this and make it your duty to be a channel for positivity during conversation that takes a negative turn.
Yoga protection tip number two is that like attracts like. So the more that we are positive, and stay positive, the more positivity we begin to draw to ourselves in our own lives. That force of positivity will be more able to protect you if you choose to practice it.
The same is true for qualities like joy, peace, love, and beauty. Thus, the importance of practicing affirmation. There are wonderful affirmations for positivity, and happiness, and kindness, in a book called, “Affirmations for Self-Healing” by Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Yogananda.
Right now, I use the affirmation on happiness. It goes, “I vow from this day onward, to be happy under every circumstance. I came from joy. I live in joy!” Whenever I start to feel tense in a given situation or circumstance, I try to combat a negative mental attitude or subconscious tendency with the affirmation of happiness and vow with great will to be happy under every circumstance.
By doing the work on our own self—uplifting our own consciousness—we can change the world; we can be the change. Right now, there is a movement within Ananda, a spiritual organization dedicated to the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, around a beautiful worldwide effort called “Be the Change,” Its goal is to help people learn to meditate and pledge daily meditation to bring about more peace and harmony— through the power of many individuals working together. There are millions of hours of meditation to be pledged as more people participate.
Yoga tip number three is practicing asana or meditation to become more grounded. Yoga in itself, the asana practice, besides the greater philosophy, is truly a wonderful way to practice being centered and being grounded. So if you are not yet learning to meditate, but you want to learn yoga postures, they too help you get into a place of centering and being able to handle these circumstances more easily.
There’s a quote amongst yoga that goes, “Even a little practice of this inward religion will free one from dire fears and colossal sufferings.” You can also think of this phrase with the word, “meditation” inserted in there: “Even a little practice of meditation will free one from dire fears and colossal sufferings.” (From the Bhagavad Gita.)
Can you imagine if worse things were to happen in the world? Maybe closer to our own homes? What would it take to hold that attitude of even-mindedness and cheerfulness no matter what?
The power to hold that space would come from learning to meditate or learning to do deep yoga practice where you learn to master your energy. This self-mastery enables you to be able to choose a different reaction whenever challenges do come your way. By being able to say, “I am not just this body, I am a soul, and the soul is indestructible,” means you are filled with the faith and peace required to be strong whatever does happen.
Another yoga tip that gives a more direct means of being able to do something in the moment of a current event or conflict is prayer.
There’s a really powerful prayer called the Peace and Harmony prayer that is from the inspiration of Yogananda. The prayer is about filling the world with peace and harmony. You can say it several times a day whenever you start to feel a little bit worried— the more the better! Try to use instead as an opportunity to say a prayer.
There’s a book I was reminded of the day the results of the election were announced called, “The Road Ahead.” Swami Kriyananda wrote it many, many years ago, but it was ahead of its time. It relayed the message Yogananda brought when he lived in the US during World War II, writing his autobiography, that during such times meditation and gathering with like-minded people who also want to be positive is of great importance. There is power in magnitude.
Surrounding ourselves with others who also choose a lifestyle and practice yoga is strengthening. Joining with others in prayer, or calling on a Higher Power that is benevolent and loving, that wants us to get through all of this with peace and harmony, to help us be strong and be a channel for light.
Yogananda said that “environment is stronger than will,” meaning that it is hard to be successful, for example, with practicing a positive attitude if you do not have others to support you in these efforts. For example, by surrounding yourself with people who make positivity a way of life, you can make it a habitual way of thinking. Similarly, if you are just beginning to meditate, it could mean joining group meditations to help you have a deeper and more frequent practice. The Be the Change Facebook page has online global meditations once a month, for example.
Hopefully, this can be of aid or of inspiration and passed along so that it can create its own little ripple of positivity. Many kind, loving, energetic prayers going out to all the people in Las Vegas, and all the people affected by the hurricanes, the earthquake in Mexico, there is so much going on in this world, but, again, we can all do something to make ourselves a little bit more loving and full of light, and that, in turn, can help the world.
Thank you for being a part of the positivity movement. May you be full of light in this day.