By February 23, 2016 Read More →

Social Inclusion for the 21st. Century: Yoga as a Means for Social Inclusion

United Nations HQ

February 9, 2016

The International Day of Yoga Committee at the United Nations hosted a side event during the 54th Session of the United Nations Commission on Social Development.

With the adoption of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution marking 21 June as the International Day of Yoga, Member States have recognized the significance of yoga upon global health from a holistic perspective and the well-being of the integral being. At the same time, the richness and fullness of yogic principles of unity and sustainability provide a means for social inclusion, harmony, and non-violence.

A small group of yoga practitioners, including UN staff members, had a lively interactive dialogue on this subject.

On the panel were:

  • Mr. German Bravo Casas, President UNSRC Yoga Club & UN DESA,  retired
  • Mr. Chaitanya Sonar, Sahaja Yoga Practitioner & UN Department of Public Information.
  • Rona Schweitz, MD, Raja Yoga Meditation Teacher & Practitioner, Brahma Kumaris

Moderator for the panel was vibrant Denise Scotto, Esq., Chair, International Day of Yoga Committee at the UN, Vice President & UN Representative International Federation of Women in Legal Careers.

Mr. Bravo Casas took us on a beautiful journey back in time about the history of yoga started by Patanjali and how it came to the western world in more recent times.

Yoga was described as a way to control the mind or leash the monkey, in other words. Yoga, meaning union or connection, can be an important spiritual tool for social inclusion as it has an effect on our behavior. One of the main aspects of yoga mentioned by our speakers was that of meditation as this has a positive effect on our attitudes and interactions with each other.

Rona Schweitz  spoke of the subtler aspects of yoga, “needs of the souls are the same, feelings of souls are the same. When we position ourselves to see the soul within, it becomes easier to see ourselves as brothers. Only then we can go beyond the external differences, which then makes inclusion possible.”

Mr. Sonar raised some deep questions as he reminded us that we share the same planet:  “why are we born as humans beings? what’s our purpose? Who is the artist that created the art of the world?”  He explained Yoga to be like doing a research on the self – going within to find answers that are already there, answers to the questions above.

To conclude:

If we can pluck up the courage to take a look at ourselves as a unique being, we can see the true goodness of our spirit, which in turn, helps us to see others as unique beings, also.  If this is yoga in practice, then we can all become seasoned yogis. Inclusiveness is only a thought away!

IDY and Social Inclusion



Posted in: Yoga

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