I just went to yahoo.com on the internet and the first thing that came up was a school shooting in Connecticut. The report states that at least 27 people have been killed. The shooting was at an elementary school and the victims include children. This is sickening to say the least, and the question that pops up in my mind is, what is wrong with our society?
We have had years of economic downturn in the United States and people have begun to do things that are unimaginable. This year alone there have been so many tragedies, that one has to wonder what is wrong with society. I think that something that may help is teaching yoga to kids. Yes, I know, it may not solve all of the world’s problems, but its a start, and this is why:
If we start with the first limb of Pantajali’s Yoga Sutras, we know that this is how people in the world would live a more peaceful and meaningful life. “Himsa (Sanskrit: अहिंसा; IAST: ahiṃsā, Pāli: avihiṃsā) is a term meaning to do no harm (literally: the avoidance of violence – himsa). The word is derived from the Sanskrit root hims – to strike; himsa is injury or harm, a-himsa is the opposite of this, i.e. non harming or nonviolence” (Source)
If the first teaching in yoga sutras is nonviolence, then maybe this is the only place to start. If we start teaching yoga to children, the first thing they would learn is nonviolence. Personally, if I have a rough day, I take out my emotions by participating in a yoga practice involving physical poses as well as breathing exercises. By the time I am done with the practice, I am ready to move on and tackle my tasks peacefully and with a clear mind.
The brain is a complex organism and can react to situations in many ways. Some people simply resort to hurting others as a result of stress. Others do whatever they can to help those in need and resort to nonviolence. The question that arises is whether how we act is due to nature or nurture. I think it is a little of both. In my criminal defense practice I have seen many people act in negative ways because that is all they know. At school they associated with the clicks that accepted them, many involved in drugs and gangs. This starts at the elementary school level, and I see more juvenile cases now than I ever have.
If we start teaching yoga in pre-school, it would pave the way for a better world. I am not suggesting that this would solve the world’s problems, but it would make for a better society. Take for example: “Ahimsa manifests in various ways. Mahatma Gandhi used ahimsa as a powerful weapon against the British to drive them out of India and to achieve independence. Even Martin Luther King junior, after a trip to India, adopted nonviolence as the hallmark of his civil rights movement in America.”A Hindu Primer
by Shukavak N. Dasa
So yes, teaching nonviolence would make a difference in America. Unfortunately in difficult economic times, people worry about finances and making ends meet. The stress can become so intense that it results in people doing the unimaginable. It is so disturbing to see another school shooting. I hope that people reading this will spread the word and help make this world a better place for our children.
May those whose lives were taken by a coward rest in peace, and may nonviolence be a resolution for humankind this new year.