Ancient Yoga wisdom you can use right now
23rd March 2020
“And how does one, by protecting others, protect oneself? By patience and forbearance, by a non-violent and harmless life, by loving kindness and compassion”Satipatthana, Samyutta
Ahimsa means non-violence and is a central concept in yoga philosophy and its never been more relevant to humanity than right now.
The Corona Virus is an unprecedented crisis. It’s clear that governments, scientists and health services can only do so much. The extent and level of impact that the virus will have is almost entirely down the actions of individuals. Individuals like you and me.
But what action?
Yoga philosophy teaches us that even inaction is a choice and an action in itself. Every action has a consequence. So, we choose to do something (even if that something is nothing). Consequently, it’s important that each and every action is the ‘right’ action. We must be mindful of the consequences and do what we can to avoid harm to others and to ourselves.
Worry or panic is an action that only harms us. The fight or flight ‘stress response’ suppresses our bodies’ immune response. It also inhibits our rationale and our logic leading us to make poorer decisions.
Hoarding supplies is harmful to others who will be forced to go without. Stock piling toilet roll will not stop anyone getting the virus. Stock piling hand sanitisers or masks will prevent those on the front line from having access, therefore increasing the risk to the entire community.
On the other hand, taking no action, dismissing the threat or advice as if it doesn’t apply to us (for example, not taking extra precautions with regard to hygiene and social distancing) is an active choice and also has serious repercussions for ourselves and others.
So, we can choose to stay at home whenever we possibly can. If we absolutely have to go out, we can choose to keep our distance from others. We can choose to wash our hands throughly and frequently. We can choose to avoid touching our faces. We can choose to completely isolate ourselves at the first sign of infection. Or we can choose not. It is up to us.
Our only real choice at this moment is to listen to the experts, the doctors and scientists who treat, study and research diseases for their whole careers. These are the only people who can give us the best advice. It is up to each and every one of us to take it seriously and follow that advice.
Calm, considered and correct action is the only thing that will achieve the best result for our worldwide community. It will be hard, it will take patience and forebearance. It will take time and persistence. But when we look back at this period in our history, we want to be proud of how we all contributed to protecting others, stopped this pandemic and saved hundreds of thousands of lives. And all we had to do to save them was stay at home.