As you know, yoga is not just the practice of asanas, pranayama and meditation. It’s the practice of self-awareness, compassion and service. Here are the three ways Yoga serves humanity:
1. Stillness cultivates the desire to serve others
By taking the time to be in stillness, you reduce your stress. And you can begin to see all the good things, people and experiences in your life. Some people might say to have an “attitude of gratitude,” not in a spiritually bypassing way. But in knowing the challenges that many people are facing right now in the world and cultivating gratitude for the peace and health that you and your community may be currently experiencing. When you feel grateful, you want to serve and help others. Therefore, you begin to act and think in ways that benefit the world and those with challenges, rather than just yourself. Humanity is better for caring for others.
2. Yoga promotes community
Sometimes we have to make room or allowances for each other in class and outside of class. As we do, we begin to see that, one way or another, we’re all in the same boat. It helps us to see that we depend on each other, and we have better lives when we work together. In this way yoga changes your personal attitude and helps you to think globally rather than personally.
3. Yoga changes how you conduct yourself
Consciously practicing the “yamas” or ethical codes such as non-stealing, non-violence, non-avarice, truthfulness, and spiritual training, develops better personal conduct. You can’t help but change for the better by considering these ethical codes in your daily life. And even if you are not very good at the yamas, your efforts influence and serve others by example.
For me, practicing yoga helps me more easily admit my mistakes, be more compassionate to myself and others, and generally helps me to become a less selfish and happier human being. On its own, global thinking in an individual serves the world but over time, yogis usually develop a practice that serves others. When I look around, I see that I’m surrounded by people who are serving humanity.