Shanti! It’s International Peace Day

Welcome to the first ever blog post from Soul Seeker Yoga! I’m so excited to be finally getting this long-awaited project off the ground and so happy to bring our musings on yoga and wellness to you on a (mostly) weekly basis!

…and what better topic to start with than peace. It’s International Peace Day today and so a beautiful opportunity to remind ourselves how central the concept of peace is to the yoga journey and such an important part of the journey here at SSY. I always end my classes with the blessing Shanti, Shanti Shantihi, may there be peace within, peace without, peace on all levels… because it’s a keystone of my personal practice and part of what I hope to bring to those I share my yoga with.

Our lives contain such an array of experiences which we’re programmed to respond to as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It’s highly likely that we identify a feeling of peace with the experience of good and a feeling of disturbance (discontent or even strife) with bad. But when we practice yoga, be that moving on our mats, meditating, or in the wider yoga of life, we bring effort into the practice of cultivating peace so that whatever arises, we can sit in (or at least move toward!) a feeling of peace.

So, what are we doing when we cultivate peace, what does that actually mean? For us here at SSY it means sitting willingly in whatever experiences arise within us in each moment, using our breath connection (just observing our inhales and exhales) to stay in this actual moment (the only one there is really available to us!) and noticing what is turning up in the inner landscape of the mind and how that can translate into words and actions in the exterior world.

…and how does this figure into our real-life experience? With practice this brings us into a much more aware state, where we can act with more intention, really expressing ourselves in the way that accurately reflects what we truly mean (and you do start to question, ‘what do I truly think about this situation?’ when you’re in this practice!), rather than responding to situations on auto pilot, from the sum of all the layers of our previous experiences or samskaras (more on samskaras soon).

Ultimately then, when we find ourselves in challenging circumstances, we find more resilience in ourselves and more compassion for others, but also when in the more exhilarating circumstances too we’re less swayed. This isn’t a turning off of joy and sadness or anger or a numbing, far from it. As a house holder yogi (someone who has work, home, responsibilities), we still very much ‘feel all the feels’ and we’re definitely not trying to move away from the messy, joyous, chaotic ride that it is to be alive and in the world. Rather we want to live fully experiencing it, as it is, in this moment. This doesn’t just offer us greater peace in that particular moment, but a deeper sense of trust and peace that permeates through our days, helping us manage stress and support our wellness as we move through life.

So it’s worth remembering on this International Day of Peace, that with our sadhana, our yoga practice, we can perhaps just for some moments or minutes (or more) each day, be that peace that we’d like to see in the world. It’s in our personal journey of peace that we can positively benefit not only our own lives but also radiate out those benefits to those around us.

Shanti, shanti, shantihi!