International Peace Day was commemorated at Sonic Yoga NYC with a Shanti Sadhana that left everyone in the studio breathless and teary-eyed.
We cascaded in hordes because our beloved teacher Lauren Hanna had announced few days ago that it will be a Shanti Sadhana. Shanti is a Sanskrit word that means peace, calm, tranquility and bliss. And who in New York doesn’t want a piece of that? International Peace Day notwithstanding. Multitudes of yearning, eager bodies shuffled into the large open room and occupied their little yoga-mat sized space – we were rendered like sardines with little or no wing span as we swan dived our way into deep forward folds.
We began with Prana Flow inspired Hridiya Namaskar, a salutation of the heart, repeated over and over until there was only heart and no body, as we continued to dive deeper into back bends that opened our solar plexus to the solar powerhouse in the universe – the sun. And from there we swam in the bliss of chanting and rolling on our mats in asanas that may have been unmemorable in the physical realm, but left a deep, velvety sensation of pure bliss in the spirit.
Lauren Hanna created an atmosphere of complete relaxation, bliss and acceptance in a room that housed over forty individuals from different walks of life, races, religions and creeds. It truly felt like International Peace day at a visceral level in our cozy little yoga community.
It also made me think of how yoga can truly shatter the manmade demarcations that keep one at bay from another.
We deeply breathed into the Sitar playing magnificence of Thomas Wave, who took us floating into the waves of his skillful melodies. Ebbing and flowing, stretching and contracting, leaving body behind and embracing the inner, truer, authentic self that shines brighter than the physical self could ever aspire to.
This two hour sadhana or spiritual practice ended with a 108 rounds of chanting Om Shanti Shanti Shanti. And if I thought I was blissed out by the asana part of our practice, I was in for the most pleasant experience of the day.
As Christians, Jews, Muslims, whites, blacks, Asians, Indians all united with heart energy to chant in unison the mantra of Om Shanti – the mantra of peace, not one of us was left dry-eyed. We felt united, connected, together as a human family vibrating with the same energy, the same soul regardless of our color, complexion and belief systems. We had in that moment transcended all limiting concepts and emerged as humans are supposed to:
A global human family.
I am eternally grateful for the experience and the magic with which selfless teachers devote their energy to the harmony and well being of others. Now, if only our world leaders would take a page out of a yoga teacher’s life, they’d learn a whole lot too. Perhaps the next UN general assembly should be in a yoga studio with all the contracted leaders practicing some deep heart-opening asanas. Pardon the idealism, but I am quite certain it would be the start to a more peaceful world.
Tania Kazi is a yoga teacher, a meditation guide, an Ayurveda Life Consultant and a mom. she is also a student of Feng shui + Vastu Shastra and believes strongly in an outer environment that supports and compliments inner peace. Tania works for a think-tank in Washington, D.C. where she holds a position on the board of directors. Her loyalty lies in the betterment and the healing of the human soul, which she does through her yoga and meditation classes while also working toward empowering the indigenous peoples of the developing world. Tania is a thinker, yogi, a writer, an activist and a breaker of moulds. She resides in Manhattan. for further musings, do visit:www.taniakazi.blogspot.com.