We all have our take on yoga. Don’t we? Yet when it comes from an advocate of peace, a strong believer and preacher of non-violence, a whole new dimension opens up in front of us. What does peace in Korea have to do with inner peace? What does stretching your hamstrings or being truthful have to do with yoga?
Find out answers to above questions from the transcript of interview of Gurudev aired on Vancouver based radio station: Drishti Point yoga radio.
Q: Many people who think of yoga may think of Downward Dog or physical exercises. I'm hoping you can speak about the foundation of yoga based in an ethic of non-violence. Maybe some of our listeners may not be familiar with Ahimsa. Can you define ahimsa and explain what it means and its connection to yoga?
Gurudev: "Today it's very important that people wake up to a call for Non Violence. Violence is so pervasive in schools, homes are broken. Domestic violence - women are in trouble all over the world. We need a safe and secure world. We all have to work together. Every NGO, Civil Society Governments need to have one common goal: Creating a violence-free stress-free society.
There are eight limbs to yoga. First limb is Yama - in that are included non-violence, truth, integrity. These are foremost qualities for any yoga practitioners. Second limb of yoga is Niyama - Inner & outer purity. Then comes Asanas. It's the third step: stretching. Yoga helps lead you to a non-violent state. You can start with any limb; all of them work well with each others. Like the legs of a table, they are interconnected. You pull one then others also come. When you do yoga you tend to be peaceful in your behaviors and with people, more non-violent.
Q: Many Yoga Masters advocate a vegetarian diet as a way to awaken compassion for other living beings. Can a vegetarian diet help us develop a more peaceful heart and mind?
Gurudev: “There are many articles and research on benefits of a vegetarian diet. Herbivorous animals all have ptyalin in their saliva. Our immediate ancestors, monkeys, apes, horses, elephants are all vegetarian. It’s the most suitable food and gets digested in a few hours. Better for mind and body. Breathing and higher states depends on proper easily digestible diet. Vegetarian diet seems most suitable. I am a vegetarian from birth. I usually don't force others. Those who switch have a sense of well-being. Being a vegetarian is not a barrier for starting yoga. Once they start they have natural tendency to take on vegetarian diet.
Q: Many people these days are worried about the threats of nuclear missiles being launched from North Korea. I know that you have come forward to negotiate a peaceful solution. Can you speak about this situation and the solution?
Gurudev: “When you meditate and you feel calm and peace inside you will move away from violent tendencies and violent entertainment. It's so obvious. If you are agitated, like leaders today, then your decisions affect millions of lives. In Iraq, one President was disturbed and it affected the whole country. When leaders meditate they will take better decisions. All decisions for war sprout in minds of individual people. So meditation by leaders is absolutely essential for a peaceful society."