Let’s talk about yoga. Many people in the West do yoga for purely physical reasons, to be more flexible, or improve balance or become stronger, which are all good reasons. But did you know that yoga is much more than nice hamstrings and a firm rear end? Do you know what the word yoga means? Yoga means to yoke together, to unite or connect, and this hints at the true goal and benefit of yoga. It truly puts us back together again.

One way to look at this union is small self to big Self, or small mind to big Mind. We reconnect our egoic small self with our true, essential Self. And of course, this changes everything.

On a human level, most of us are scattered. Our body is in one place, our mind is distracted in the past or the future. Our spirit is elsewhere. Our emotions are buried. We don’t like certain parts of our body or our life. With yoga, we connect to the breath, and this helps us connect to our body, and its emotions. We get in touch with our beliefs and our patterns and false limits. We begin to witness our ways, and this awareness is the first step in healing and shifting dysfunctional patterns.

But this yoga idea of union goes even deeper. Basically, it reveals the true nature of reality. In truth, everything is already united or oneness. We only have the experience of separation, and this often causes us tremendous conflict and suffering.

But again, on a human level, anything we resist or judge or fight against causes us tension and suffering. So you see the goal is to integrate and include and accept everything, and here we come face to face with our greatest challenge. Can you accept everything? The neighbor we do not like. The bad back and its pain. Our anger. Our money issues. Certain politicians. Our maleness or femaleness? This does not mean we cannot choose to changes some things, but we are wise to first accept what is, and then with as little reactivity and resistance as possible, choose again.

What I am saying here is that any time we exclude or resist something, we suffer. We have the huge challenge of integrating polarities, and this planet is full of tremendous polarities. Can we accept our love and our hate? Can we balance our masculinity with our femininity? Can we accept the other football team? Can we drop the right wing and left wing, democrat and republican labels and begin to see that we all have the same needs and wants, for the most part.

So again, we see that yoga is much more than exercise. It is the process of inclusion and integration of all the parts, all the aspects, internally and externally, that we have split off of, what we have judged, resisted, buried, denied, or fought against. When we do this, we eliminate or really integrate our enemies, and the wars end, both the internal wars, and the external wars. And when enough of us do this, we will have peace on Earth.