The Purpose of Yoga- The Change We Wish to See


One common thread among all Yoga practitioners is the desire to make the world around them a better place to live on all levels. Many Yoga teachers volunteer community time in selfless service or contribute to local charities.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi once said, “We must be the change we wish to see.” What are the deeper implications and universal meanings of these words? You could spend years analyzing the words of Mahatma Gandhi. In a Yoga class, he is often mentioned as the “shining example” of a Karma Yogi.

Now let’s reflect on his inspiring words and apply them to the present. We live at a time when change must be accepted, but some of us resist change, even in the face of disaster.

As one example: Look at the lack of human action, with the inevitable consequences of global warming right in our path. We cannot leave the responsibility of changing our planet up to governments, corporate empires, or somebody else.

Global warming, tolerance, poverty, world peace, and hunger concern all of us, but we have to focus on these issues at the “grass roots” level, for change to happen. One person alone cannot make a significant impact on these problems, but a collective human intelligence, in the form of a charitable organization, can make huge progress.

Therefore, seek out a charity, which contributes to the benefit of humanity, animals, or the planet. You do not have to give money, when you have none, but you can volunteer your services. When it comes to giving to charity, you give only what you can realistically afford to share.

Some people say, “I will give some day, when I have enough money.” This is a conditional relationship toward humanity. Imagine placing this condition on friendship: “I will be your friend, but you must make the first move.” If all of us thought this way, we would have no friends, and it would be a very hostile world.

Luckily, most people are inherently good, but cruelty always makes the headlines of newspapers, radio, television, and the Internet. Be careful not to be swept up in a polarization of issues, when you watch the news. Life is not so clear that we can define it simply as a struggle between good and evil.

Sometimes, good people fight each other on the battlefield, because they have been polarized into a conflict based on an idea, philosophy, or dogma, which defines the other side as less than human or inferior.

When you listen to a story about a conflict of any kind, do not be in a hurry to judge, pick sides, or jump to conclusions. When you choose a charity, to help or support, make sure it does contribute to the common good of humanity.

One of the changes we wish to see is a better world for our children and grandchildren. Yoga, and Yoga meditation, develop steadiness of mind, which will result in seeing clearly under stressful conditions.

Perhaps, the knowledge of Yoga, the positive results it brings, and its growth, on a global scale, is the most important change we have seen because Yoga can create a better world for our descendants.

© Copyright 2007 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center, in Attleboro, MA. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995. To receive a Free e-Book: “Yoga in Practice,” and a Free Yoga Newsletter, please visit:

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