As mentioned previously, representatives of 340 non government organisations are attending a conference in Melbourne this week, with the Millennium Development Goals firmly on the agenda.
Bhakti Johnson, National Coordinator for the Australian Association of Yoga in Daily Life, is there, together with more than 2,000 other delegates. She has been hearing, and telling, some stories about the benefits of yoga.
Bhakti Johnson writes:
“Yoga saved my life” said Sue, matter-of-factly. We met as we queued to enter this week’s United Nations conference for NGOs on the theme ‘Advance Global Health’.
Sue had flown in from America and while we waited in line, she told how she was savagely attacked and left for dead. Prior to the attack, she had been a regular yoga practitioner and knew of its far-reaching health benefits. She diligently applied yoga techniques in her rehabilitation and credits it for her recovery and presence at the conference.
Wow, I thought. Chalk another one up in favour of yoga. But how to get this message out to others?
In his opening speech to the conference, UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, said simple measures can make a huge difference. Yoga is simple. He also said that the wealth of nations is inextricably linked to the health of its citizens. Well, the practice of yoga costs nothing.
As a ‘Yoga in Daily Life’ teacher, I share this ancient science with a wide range of folk : from the bloke on the street, tradies, and pregnant women to professionals, athletes and surgeons; from the homeless, jobless and refugees to kids and adults with cancer.
Whether classes are conducted in a dedicated yoga studio, board room, hot desert, tropical park, or safe-house, the result is always the same – an experience of genuine wellbeing. It is the kind of wellbeing that permeates all aspects of health – physical, mental and emotional. This is the kind of stuff multinationals would like to bottle!
While staffing our yoga exhibit at the conference, dozens of people from all over the world approached me. Many were medical professionals or people who had been recommended yoga by their health care advisor.
One doctor told me that her first preference is always to prescribe relaxation and meditation in response to stress and anxiety, rather than pills. Others said that yoga offered them sanity and relief from back problems. Still others have shared yoga techniques with disadvantaged communities elsewhere in the world.
As my yoga master always says, ‘Yoga makes you a better person, which makes a better family, which makes a better neighbourhood, which makes a better community, which makes a better nation…. in this way, yoga contributes to world peace.’