Happy International Yoga Day

Yoga is not Globalization

Yoga and globalization go ill together. The concept of a global citizen is often seen as superficial and mythical.

Does this raise the question: What about yoga being globalized? Can India ascertain its soft power through yoga?

The beauty of yoga lies in its root meaning, which is universal but applied diversely.

Yoga means action (Kriya) and submission to natural and logical laws (Dharma). This is a universal concept but different from capitalist globalization, wherein one country dominates many.

Sri Krishna defined a yogi as not being faithful to some particular cult, idea, or nation but to a lifestyle.

The Gita defines a yogi as someone who practices appropriate eating, judicious sleep, time-bound dedicated work, recreation, and wakefulness. There is no tinge of imposition or control by one civilization over another. It’s simple and realistic. No high-sounding words.

Yoga is the act of creating a harmonious identity between one’s core individual identity and one’s identity with the world. It does not entail changing or merging into one another.

The body serves as the core reference point in yoga. If the body is neglected, then the evolving process becomes disorganized or useless for function. Therefore, asanas are an important aspect of yoga.

Yoga and its various limbs are yoga itself. They coexist and are inherently interconnected. For instance, asanas are not simply bodily exercises as long as they are connected to yoga philosophy. If performed with this connection, asanas gradually transform into deep meditation, leading to personal growth in all aspects of life.

The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali Muni gives us a profound understanding of life and asanas in just three words: “sthiram sukham asanam.” Sthiram means stability, sukha means happiness, and asanas mean postures. If we extend this concept to life, we realize that every action can become yoga.

Discovering one’s svadharma and acting from that platform brings happiness, which further makes one stable in life. Therefore, every asana teaches us our position in life. From Garbhasana to Shavasana, they are all integrated into real life to enable a lifelong journey as a yogi.

Therefore, Sri Krishna urges Arjuna to remain a yogi forever, nurturing a deep connection with His personality & cultivating devotion to Him in the heart.

So, yoga is a “Global Reality” and not the “Globalization” of a certain agenda or ideology, whether it be the promotion of capitalist philosophy favoring America or the pursuit of dominance by Marxist philosophy resulting in China’s rule. It stands apart from Catholic or Protestant philosophies that historically imposed Western dominance on other cultures, as well as from the current “Woke” philosophy, which is trying to dismantle family and cultural reality, often leading to disruptive ideas.

Yoga stands apart & transcends all these ideologies; it is neither Indian government-controlled nor does India seek control over it. The only objective of Bharatiya Rishis is to promote yoga in its pure form, allowing individuals from all corners of the world to become yogis. This means leading a life of integration—a good, healthy, stable, and happy life—while maintaining devotion to the Supreme as perceived by their civilization.

Henceforth, the Yogis and Rishis boldly proclaim, “sarve jana sukhino bhavanthu”—may all individuals, irrespective of their backgrounds, find happiness. They do not impose conditions based on faith or ideology. Yoga is for all, both universal and, at the same time, deeply individualistic.

– Govinda Das