Why getting together in peaceful big groups is important.
Yoga Rocks the Park, a weekly yoga and live music event in Denver and Boulder could be seen as just a fun way to practice yoga outside, see your friends and have some fun on a sunny Sunday afternoon. And that would be good enough for me. But, on a deeper level gathering in large groups — like the world-record setting 10,000 yogis who gathered in NYC recently — is a chance to ‘be’ yoga. Not to ‘do’ yoga but to embody the fruits of the practice; a peaceful union of body and mind expanding outwards to our community. Big groups of peaceful, happy yogis can make a huge impact on our mainstream community. Here’s why – according to Buddhism the world doesn’t happen to you. It’s created from your own mind. Yogis, especially yogis that meditate, go deep within. They go past their storylines, dramas and ego and discover what some people call God, others call non-self and Buddhists call Buddha Nature. The next step, the one you can’t help but take, is to send this beautiful God-like energy you find within out into the world. The Buddhists call it mandala building. You understand that a good and peaceful world ain’t just gonna happen — it needs to be created from one peaceful mind and the next and the next.
At large events we show each other, our children and ourselves that we are good, that we can create and “be” peace. My friend Dan Wilff of YOGANONYMOUS, one of the main promoters of the massive NYC yoga event, was not only amazed by the turnout but floored by participants’ response when it started pouring rain just minutes into the practice. “At most other events of this scale in NYC there would have been a riot,” he told me. “But this group was so peaceful; it was simply no big deal when it rained.” Yoga teaches us to let go, be peace and it’s important that we come together in big groups to create whole communities that know how to return to the breath and let go.
On a more worldly level, participating in group yoga events supports a whole network of businesses and people that are accountable to a triple bottom line (accounting for ecological, social and financial performance); businesses that are working hard to create a more peaceful, sustainable, beautiful and caring world. At Yoga Rocks the Park, your $10 supports teachers who have dedicated their lives to serving others. They deserve our support; it’s not only good for you, it’s good for the entire village. Part of your $10 goes to the musicians who are creating music that soothes, inspires, is positive and supportive of the positive global shift we are finally seeing. Your contribution also supports Yoga World Reach, an organization spreading meditation and yoga to those in need all over the world. Showing up to large-scale events goes even further if you support the sponsors of these events. These are the businesses that are shifting the way business is done in the US. When you support Yoga Rocks the Park’s sponsors, you create a demand for even more goodness in the world. High Country Kombucha’s Steve Dickman can make what is pretty much the opposite of Coke and Pepsi, a beverage that actually heals. Storytime Yoga can continue to promote programs that introduce children to the sacred — yet fun world of yoga. WaterCourse Foods can spread its mission to serve vegan and vegetarian organic foods to the masses. Be present can continue to source organic, mindfully-sourced cotton for its clothing lines. After all, what did you think would change the world? It’s one person at a time showing up and participating in their local community event, bringing it out to Bhakti Fest, Wanderlust, Yoga Rocks the Mountains and further out to communities around the globe.
Showing up in community physically is the first step. The second is showing up mentally, breath aligned with the mind, calm, present, peaceful, able to expand, contract, let go, to be OK with it all. It’s necessary for us to all know we are good. The violence we see daily in the mainstream media and the negativity and polarization we see in our political system can all be transformed when we breathe, laugh, connect and expand together. At your local yoga event you take off your shoes, put those feet in the grass, connect with your truest essence and expand peace to self and others.