Sunday, July 22, 2018

New York City: Peace, Practicing, Presenting

Dear friends and armchair travelers, forgive my long neglect of your need for rousing tales of seafaring snafus and disasterly disorders.

Fact is, since braving high seas and drunken captains in the Windward Islands this winter, I've stuck to safer waters. My adventures turned from thrilling (and thankless) to restorative (and rewarding); i.e., volunteering for yoga-related events.
What could be more sobering than representing my yoga center at the United Nations? Most of you know about my association with Yoga in Daily Life (YIDL), an international nonprofit with volunteer teachers and staff. Because we fund and participate in humanitarian projects, such as alleviating poverty in India, we earned special consultative status with an arm of the UN (ECOSOC). Founding a yoga center in Cuba helped too.
Building a reservoir for monsoon rain in the Indian desert

Seems like only yesterday that we organized the conference "Yoga and World Peace" in the UN conference center. YIDL resentatives from North America and Europe, led by our founder, Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda, addressed an international audience with thoughts on the contribution of inner peace to world peace. Yes, I did too.
Convening at the United Nations to promote peace within and without

In June, 20 of us from Austria, Australia, Croatia, Czech, Germany, India, Slovakia, Slovenia, and US reconvened in New York for the International Day of Yoga at the United Nations.
Congregating on the steps of the UN; even swamis in orange robe have to go through security!

We joined hundreds of yoga organizations on the UN grounds for a very-large-group practice. Good news: the UN designated the International Day of Yoga in recognition of yoga's contributions to peace, people, and planet! How refreshing in an era of so much negative news. 
By wearing YIDL teachers' uniforms, we could find each other in the crowd!

I barely got off the bus back home before another invitation came in the (e)mail. I hopped a train for Peace in the Park, a festival in Central Park. Joining a dozen other organizations, we chatted with visitors and demonstrated how pranayama (meditative breathing) can contribute to--you guessed it--peace!

Promoting yoga techniques at a festival in Central Park

Peace is ultimately what we're all about in yoga and meditation practices. For me, forgoing heart-thumping heeling in favor of inner waves of peace and quiet has proved restorative and rewarding. I needed some solid grounding before we set sail again for New England.

And you undoubtedly needed a break from my whining about a leaky boat!