Why do I write?

I write because I have a voice that won’t be silenced.

I write because it makes me feel alive and connected to the Source, the Universe, to others.

I write because I can, and because I don’t know how else to express myself as authentically as I do in prose.

I write for the sheer joy of seeing chaos take form…and then to watch it dissolve into chaos again.

I write because words have power.

I write because words could change the world.

I write because words and books and blogs and status updates and newspapers and quotes are all I think about, all day long.

I write to share myself with others, to communicate and connect.

I write because I love it.

And then I write some more.

Yoga as social activism

As a social worker, social justice, compassion and challenging the status quo rate pretty highly on my list of core values. I’ve spent seven years on the frontline, working with people experiencing homelessness, addiction and mental illness. It’s very much about being “out there”, in the world, focused on others and on alleviating suffering in any possible way.

So as a social worker AND a yogini, I’m absolutely fascinated by the way the aforementioned values manifest themselves in the yoga world, in a practice that is, ostensibly, deeply personal, inward looking and with a focus on inner transfomation.

But take a look around and you’ll find more yogis engaging in social activism than you can poke a yoga mat at. There’s Seane Corn and Off the Mat, Into the World; Kathryn Budig and Poses for Paws; Jivamukti and veganism. We now have annual events like YogaAid, and yoga classes in which we’re invited to Do it in a Dress.

So how did it happen? How did yoga, once practiced by ascetics and spiritual seekers secluded in ashrams, become a legitimate force in achieving social and political change?

While I’ve got no hard and fast answers (are there even any?), I do have a few ideas.

Yes, yoga is a personal and inward-focused practice. But it’s also practice for the world “out there”. Lessons in equanimity, balance, impermanence and the dissolution of the ego prepare us for our life off the mat. They transform us, create space for us to discover our true Self, open us up to new ways of perceiving the world and our place in it. We learn compassion, empathy and unconditional love. We learn that we are, in fact, all one.

Is it possible that this experience of inner transformation calls forth a yearning for global transformation – as within, so without?

Could it be argued that the heightened awareness gained from our yoga practice is on par with the consciousness-raising amongst feminists in the ’70s?

If so, just imagine what the world might be like if everyone on the planet unrolled a yoga mat once in while!

I truly belive our energy makes a difference in this world – and this is magnified by the collective consciousness, when we are bound by a cause or belief. Whether it’s sending peace to your loved ones whilst chanting Om Shanti; fundraising through YogaAid; or volunteering your services, karma yoga-style, we can all play a part in making this wonderful, and at times strange world an even more beautiful place.

Om shanti, my lovely readers.

Om shanti.