B.K.S Iyengar once said, “Yoga is first for individual growth. But through individual growth, society and community develop.” Yoga is often perceived as a solitary practice. This conception of solidarity holds true as the practitioner navigates through their own ‘self-work’ while on their yoga mat. Many times I have heard beloved members of the community attesting that yoga is a chief facilitator on the path of self-realization. I continuously hear, but never tire, of the resonating testimonial, “Yoga makes me a kinder person.” If we allow it, yoga can change us. It can be that light that shines into all of the areas within us that may be dark or dormant. Nevertheless, what also holds true, is that what we put in, we also put out. When work on connecting to our highest Self, we are simultaneously benefiting future interactions that we'll have with loved ones and strangers. Have you ever noticed yourself being more patient, compassionate, or generous with those whom you come into contact with? Have you noticed that when you connect to your highest Self, you open up the possibility of connecting with others on a deeper level?
What you do on your mat changes you -- If you tune in, you'll note that yoga inevitably shifts from the individual to the collective. This is a powerful tool! What you do on your mat, is what you will take out into the world; by committing to the work that it takes to stay connected to our highest and happiest selves, we arrive at the realization that we absolutely have the power to make our communities a happier and more peaceful space. There are many beautiful prayers that can be said or sang aloud or quietly that emit positive energy out into the world. I often recite the prayer, 'Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu' at the closing of my practice. For me, this mantra translates to “May all beings on this Earth experience happiness and peace; may this practice of yoga contribute to that happiness and peace that is cultivated individually and spread collectively.”