Could you imagine practicing yoga with 15,000 people? This was the scene in what is purported to be the world’s largest yoga class. At the culmination of the holiday weekend, on Sunday, November 25, 2012, over 15,000 first and longtime yogis gathered to salute the sun and partake in a massive Naam Yoga session in Mexico City. The yogic mob gathered under Mexico City’s Revolution Monument in the morning, not to mourn over the country’s recent drug war between rival cartels, but to call for peace within the country.
The yoga session offered 15,000 + citizens the internal and external space to unite, representing the majority of the country who seek peace in their homeland.
Naam Yoga, who has a location in Santa Monica, was founded by Dr. Levry as a catalyst for wellbeing, health and peace. The 501(3) has locations throughout the United States as well as in Brazil, Canada, England, Israel, Mexico, Spain, and beyond. The centers host a variety of healing workshops, yoga classes, and teacher training programs to fit their cross-cultural clientele’s desires and needs.
So do these Gandhi-inspired nonviolent protests really have that major of an impact on the grand scale? How are yoga and peace connected anyway? In the 8 Limbs of Yoga, ahimsa, or nonviolence in thoughts and words is the first major tenant in the “Yamas” or our sense of universal morality and ethical standards. In The Yoga Sutras, Patanjali states, “Ahimsa Pratistayam tat sannidhu vaira tyagah” meaning by practicing nonviolence internally, we are less inclined to encounter or engage in hostile acts with others. As violence in action is almost always preceded by violent thoughts (with the exception of self-defense) it is important to first be pure in thoughts and intentions. When hosting a colossal gathering focused on nonviolence and cultivating peace like the one Naam Yoga conducted in Mexico City, the effects can be revolutionary as these moments represent an immense amount of brainpower focused on healing.
In line with their mission to help the community and encourage self-healing, Naam Yoga’s successful yoga gathering in Mexico proves that by cultivating peace within, even the largest rivalries and a country in distress has the potential to unite. Prayer first, and world peace will follow.
By Vanessa Harris
Vanessa Harris is graduate of Pepperdine University who completed her teacher training in India. Her experience includes writing, making malas or prayer beads, serving as an associate producer at Bhakti Fest, and contributing as the Editorial Coordinator at Bliss Network.