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"A reflection from Gary on the current times", by Gary Kraftsow

There is much to say about the current times, and not being able to find the right words myself, I share here my teacher's.

A reflection from Gary on the current times

"According to the Ancients, there are two fundamental forces that influence our lives, the reality of change (Pariṇāma) and the reality of conditioning (Saṁskāra). Things are always changing, yet at the same time there are deep, and often unconscious, patterns at the root of perception and behavior.     

The bad news is that as long as these patterns are at the root, they are reinforced by everything that we do and, over time, become more and more deeply embedded into the fabric of our being; these patterns become systemic, harder and harder to change.     

The good news is that, although we can’t stop change, we can influence its direction. And that is the goal of Yoga.     

We are living through a global pandemic.     

Yoga offers us as individual practitioners a means to strengthen our body, support our immune system, and increase our courage and self-confidence in the face of this crisis. Yoga also offers us a means to manage stress, calm our emotional reactivity, promote deep relaxation, and find peace.     

In the face of this pandemic, we as individuals can reap these benefits by a commitment to consistent personal practice.     

Of course, what is true at an individual level is equally true, though far more complicated to manage, at a broader social level. The current global pandemic is a real and present danger to us all. As a society, must do what we can to protect ourselves and each other, thinking beyond our own self-interest for the greater good of our community at large.     

Yet there is a deeper and more systemic illness that has recently flared to the surface again, one that is having a devastating impact on our communities, and that is the illness of racism.  Like an unconscious pattern, it is deeply embedded into the very fabric of our society and its institutions.     

According to the Ancients, the highest goal of Yoga is to become free of our conditioned mind. It takes a deep commitment and hard work to surface and transform our patterns at an individual level. Each of us as individuals are called to do this work so that we can become free.          

What it will take to free society and its institutions from this deep and systemic illness is beyond my comprehension. However, I am a firm believer that peace and freedom must begin from within. Our commitment atAmerican Viniyoga Instituteis to initiate practitioners into the process of freeing themselves from the conditioned mind, learning the means of transforming anger and resentment into joy and happiness, and finding peace. And as well, to help practitioners uncover their own way (Svadharma) to bring these gifts – which are the fruits of practice – to their families and their communities.

I pray that clarity, stability, wisdom, and compassion guide each of us through these challenging times.

Śubhamastu, may good things happen."

My teacher, Gary Kraftsow, founder and director of the American Viniyoga Insitute

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