by Acharya Shunya
We all explore yoga for various reasons: for stress management, for an experience of self-actualization, and even self-realization. Yet yoga isn’t simply a practice — contrary to how it is often presented in the West. If you are living the teachings of yoga, you become calm and balanced from within. With this balance, you are able to become not only emotionally mature, but someone who is in deep alignment with the universe.
This evolving consciousness allows us to become agents of ease, happiness, and wellbeing for all beings in the universe. When we become this “agent of wellbeing,” we embody not only personal agency but an intuitive connection with our own true self, and an ability to quell affliction, sorrow, greed, and frustration and instead bring to light messages of hope and health. The Vedic sciences of Yoga, Ayurveda, Advaita, and Vedanta all invite us to learn this knowledge not only for ourselves and for our learning and inner growth, but so that we may bring this radiance to others.
We often hear in the US — and particularly since the social upheaval of 2020 — that yoga “teaches” social justice. It's important to talk about social justice right now, because the lack of it is afflicting Western societies, and specifically America. Because the yogi community is a bearer of greater consciousness, they've taken upon themselves a mantle to address social justice, and I applaud them for it. However, it's important to understand that yoga as a curriculum as a Vedic Science was not trying to address social justice. It began with social justice.
Yoga has sprouted from Dharma — which means social justice, which means ethics and righteousness and goodness; not just for one person or few people, but for all beings. When we make social justice, known as Dharma, a part of our individual lives and our collective anchor, we may signal to the world that social justice need not be something we aspire for or talk about, but that we LIVE.
There is no yoga without Dharma. When we bring yoga and Dharma together, we find a path that leads to social justice.