I was talking to a friend the other day who was telling me how the practice of Kundalini Yoga "saved" her life during an incredible emotionally challenging time. It reminded me how incredibly lucky I feel to have found this practice at an early age. I have been relatively (read: extremely!) lucky that to this point in my life things have gone pretty smoothly. However, I have still experienced the power of Kundalini Yoga helping me through challenges.
During my freshman year of college I was incredibly homesick, pretty sure I had chosen the wrong college and in a constant battle with my roommate. I felt like I was at my wits end....and then I began rehearsals with a notoriously demanding choreographer. There were many moments when I was on the verge of a complete tear-filled, expletive-shouting collapse. Instead, I closed my eyes, rolled them to my third eye point and took slow breaths through my nose. With this simple technique I was able to access the calm and peace I felt during my yoga classes. Instead of yelling, crying or tearing my (or his!) hair out I made it through those rehearsals with grace (and learned a lot about myself in the process!)
This is a relatively simple example, however it demonstrates an important yogic concept. If I hadn't been practicing yoga before those rehearsals I certainly would have had some kind of breakdown. This would have negatively affected the experience for everyone involved. Rehearsals would have become tense, the dance would have suffered and we all would have felt less peaceful. Instead, my ability to access calmness within created a calmer more peaceful experience for everyone involved in that dance. This is why we practice yoga and meditation. So that when the world around us is stressful (and it always will be in one way or another) we don't have to add to our own stress and that of the people around us by reacting.
It is clear to me that we are in a time of high-stress and big challenges as individuals and as a society in general. I know it may sound idealistic, but I truly believe that if humanity is going to make it through this time it will be because individuals have taken on the task of becoming more peaceful and centered in their own lives. If we as individuals are able to close our eyes and take a few deep breaths and choose to access the peace within we will relax into a situation rather than escalate it. Each time you do that you encourage the people around you to find better, calmer more peaceful solutions as well.
The time is NOW. Begin your practice (however you practice) of yoga, meditation, self-reflection or contemplation. Choose peace within. And watch peace ripple out from you and elevate those around you. Your Peace becomes everyones Peace.