We want to know: Do you think of your yoga as activism? If so, in what way? | Universal Empress

We want to know: Do you think of your yoga as activism? If so, in what way?

December 24th, 2010

As a global humanitarian and lifelong United Nations employee, my personal practice has transformed the way in which I go out into the field and engage in my work.  For example, during my 6 month stint as Director of Global Volunteer Network’s Haiti Initiative, one whose main function was to align volunteers with established NGOs in Haiti, the involvement of yoga to serve the volunteers as well as the affected communities was vital.  As aid workers, when we enter volatile communities and are unaware of our own traumas, we are likely to get triggered which ultimately has an adverse effect on our ability to effectively deliver our programmes.

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Through yoga, we are reminded of who we are and why we do what we do.  Further, for traumatised communities, yoga serves as a healing tool — teaching the affected how to move through their traumas and fears, and ultimately releasing them.  Increasingly, it is becoming apparent that the old models for engaging peace are not working, thus threatening the very core of democracy.  Yoga is non-partisan and entirely democratic — engagement only requires an able body, mind and spirit.  As human beings, we all breathe.  Breath is the universal thread that binds us all.  Breath transcends all boundaries — religious, political, social and economic.

Here in the Central African Republic, I am slowly introducing yoga to my colleagues, many of whom are burnt out and depressed as a result of our harsh living conditions.  I wonder, if we who are intended to serve are off-balance, how can we expect to have a positive impact on the very communities in which we are working?  In sum, yoga aligns us with our Sat Nam, our true selves, thus enabling us to be of service to others which in the beginning as well as the end, is our ultimate activism.

For more information, please visit my website:  www.universalempress.com

Nadine McNeil

About The Author

Nadine McNeil, Universal Empress, is an evolution agent committed to global transformation. As a global activist, social entrepreneur, writer and yoga instructor she has worked extensively with the United Nations and other organizations across the globe. Currently in Africa on assignment with the UN, following the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010, she headed up an initiative that placed over 400 volunteers there working alongside Haitian nationals in remote areas. Her work is always deeply intertwined with yoga.

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