Yoga is not just something you do, it’s something you are: It’s a state of being, of union between mind, body and more- a connection between and beyond all of the koshas. In the west, we think of this through the paradigm of mind-body-spirit or the biopsychosocial model, which overlaps nicely with the koshas. Interestingly, the social realm is not explicitly present in the kosha model, but one could say that in a state of Bliss, we are all one and all connected. Yoga is a state of union both within and between, not just including some, but including all.
Connecting with that Oneness within and between us is connecting with the Divine nature of all things. Divine nature does not discriminate and a spiritual practice of inclusion isn’t just about feeling Divine connection yourself, but assuring that the connection is felt on the other side. The greatest gift you can give to someone else is to show them that they matter- not just think it, not just say it. Practice it with your actions, with your attention, with the way you consider their experience in the choices you make.
There is too much otherness, too much divisiveness and division and concern about protecting what’s mine. Inclusiveness in thought, word, and deed is a spiritual practice and a radical act of resistance in the face of forces that aim to divide us with fear. We live in an abundant world. There is more than enough food on this planet if only we would share it. There is more than enough water, shelter, kindness, love.
Welcome the stranger.
Open the tent.
Widen your circle of compassion.
The practices of yoga- asana, pranayama, meditation- should be inclusive practices, open to anyone and welcoming to all. But being inclusive as yogis goes far beyond the mat or the cushion. Let your every encounter with friend or stranger be a practice of yolking, of union, or radically transcending imaginary, arbitrary differences and barriers.
We are one. Let’s act like it.
- Dr. Steffany Moonaz