Light on Light Magazine - International Day of Yoga 2022 Special Edition

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nternational DayofYog a

Yoga, Healing, & Peace

Celebrating the International Day of Yoga

2022 Edition
Featuring The INTERNATIONAL DAY of YOGA COMMITTEE at the UNITED NATIONS And renowned contributors including: Hawa Diallo, UNDGC; HE Assemblyman Dr Nader J Sayegh; Swamini Adityananda; Sheila Chaman; Swami Prakashananda Saraswati; Gil Agnew; Allie MIddleton; Olivier Onghena-t ‘Hooft; Monica Willard; Thomas Legrand, PhD; Acharini Mirta Bardo; David Wick
A Special Edition of
IDY Committee at the UN

As the lotus rises on it’s stalk unsoiled by the mud and water, so the wise one speaks of peace and is unstained by the opinions of the world. ~ Buddha ~


We at Light on Light Magazine are dedicated to illuminating the light of wisdom and compassion of spiritual practices and inspiring lifestyle features for the flourishing of health, mind, and spirit every day.

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The opinions
MAGAZINE Special Edition Yoga, Healing, and Peace Celebrating the International Day of Yoga Special Edition Editor ..................................................
Esq. Host Editor .........................................................................
Contributions Editor ....................................................
Johnson, PhD Managing Editor ...................................... Rev. Shannon Winters, MS Graphic Editor & Layout ............................................................ David Winters © Light on Light Magazine. All rights reserved.
expressed in this issue do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or editors of Light on Light Magazine
Spiritual Practices & Inspired Lifestyle
Denise Scotto,
The Interspiritual Dialogue Network Established with Br. Wayne Teasdale, 2002 a member of the UNITY EARTH network

2022 Welcome from the International Day of Yoga Committee at the UN by Denise Scotto, Esq., Chair 4-6

A Special Message from Light on Light by Karuna, Host Editor, Light on Light Magazine ................................................ 7-9

Message from the Honorable Consul General of India in New York, Randhir Jaiswal .....................................................................................................10

Message from the United Nations Civil Society Unit, Outreach Division, Hawa Taylor-Kamara Diallo, Chief 11

8th World Yoga Day Remarks, from the United Nations Global Department of Global Communications, by Jacky Tong 12

Message from New York State Congressman the Honorable Dr. Nader J. Sayegh ............................................................................................... 13

The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

The Path to God from The New Sun by Hilda Charleton 14-15

From Inner to Outer Peace: Self-Transformation to Societal Change by HH Amma Sri Karunamayi 16-17

Returning to Harmony by Sister Jayanti 18-20

Peace and Non-violence by Yogmata ..................................................................................................... 21-23

Cultivating a Peaceful World for our Children by Swami Prakashananda 24-29

What Needs to be Remembered by Swamini Adityananda Saraswati 30-32

Peace Breathing by Jennifer Kim 33-34

One Second of True Collective Peace Defeats a Million Conflicts by Dzambling Cho Tab Khen (Alfredo Sfeir-Younis) 35-37

Resetting Your Mind for Higher Consciousness by Deepak Chopra, MD & Dr. David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri) 38-40

The Importance of Mental Well Being Compiled from the Teachings of Gurudev Swami Chidananda of Sivananda Ashram by Swami Yatidharmananda 41-43

YOGA - the Spine of Life by Sheila Chaman 44-45

Yogasanas Deportivas [Yogasanas Sports] by Acharini Mirta Bardo, Swamini Shaktidevananda Saraswati 46-49

The Goddess is Alive and Well: Summer Solstice 2022 in Avalon by Gil Agnew 50-51

The Story of Yoga Radicals Inspiring Stories from Pioneers in the Field by Allie Middleton ........................................................................................... 52-53

Yoga & the Work of the United Nations

Ending Plastics Pollution: Adoption of the UNEA Plastics Resolution by Denise Scotto, Esq 55-56

International Day for Women in Diplomacy by Denise Scotto, Esq 57

UN General Assembly Declares that Access to a Clean & Healthy Environment is a Universal Human Right by Denise Scotto, Esq 58

World Yoga Day: A Silent Revolution by Rev. Guru Dileepkumar Thankappan 59-61

The Embrace of Good Health by Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi 63-64

The Importance of Yoga on Women’s Mental Health & Wellbeing by Padmini Murthy MD, MPH, FRSPH, FAMWA 65-66

Soil, Food & Nutrition by Isha Foundation ......................................................................................... 67-69 Oh Soil poem by Sadhguru ......................................................................................................... 70

How I’m Making My Life Green, at UNICEF and at Home by Aysel Toprakli 71-72

Politics of Being: Wisdom & Science for a New Development Paradigm, from a new book by Dr Thomas Legrand 73-75

“Be the Love” A 21st Century Yoga of the Earth by Sofia Stril-Rever .......................................................................................... 76-77

Yoga in a Time of War by Farah [Sarita] Nazarali 78-79

Yoga & Nuclear Weapons by Monica Willard 80-81

A Global Governance Paradigm Shift: First Principles First by Joni Carley 82-84

The Encounters of Wisdom by Olivier Onghena-’t Hooft 85-86

Yoga & A Culture of Peace and Non-Violence

Profile in Peace: Dr. Robert Muller, Former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) by Denise Scotto, Esq 87-89

Poems on Peace by Sri Chinmoy 90

United Nations Secretary-General 100 Day Countdown to the International Day of Peace 91

Mayors for Peace 100 Day Countdown to the International Day of Peace, by Matsui Kazumi, Mayor of Hiroshima President of Mayors for Peace 92

Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Day of Peace 93

Quality of Life & Its Relation to Peace by J. Frederick Arment 94-95

Peace Day Chicago by Jennifer Kim 96-98

Peace Day Philly by Lisa Parker 99-100 Peace in the Park by Sabita Geer 101-104

Yoga, Healing & Peace by Fumi Johns Stewart

................................................................................ 105-106

Following the Unifying Threads of the Culture of Peace by David Wick 107-108

United Nations Department of Political Affairs: Weaving Peace in Columbia 109-110

74 Years of the Genocide Convention by Denise Scotto, Esq 111

Yoga for Unity by Veronique Nicolai 112-113

Lei of Aloha for World Peace by Vanessa Valencia 114

Tribute to Yoga Masters

Tribute to Sister Chandru by Michael Pappas, M. Div, Executive Director of the San Francisco Interfaith Council 115

Table of Contents

2022 Welcome Message

Greetings Dear Friends,

My heart is filled with gratitude for each and every reader, author, friend, committee member and person affiliated with bringing the latest issue of the International Day of Yoga Committee at the UN’s Special Edition of Light on Light E-Magazine to life. It’s because of all of you that our yoga journal has become as widespread as it has and that it has gained significant recognition.

2022’s Welcome is somewhat different from my prior messages. I’ve been feeling an urgency which requires a different note. The war in Europe, previously inconceivable, which began in February, combined with our other global challenges demands that we be more serious and persistent in our practice. I ask that we all take action in our daily lives to bring yoga’s values and underlying philosophy with us in our every moment. Start simply with our self then with others.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Light and love will always be the greater power over darkness and hate.”

If we want to have a world that is based on the universal principles we find in the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights where there is human dignity, equality, unity, interdependence, cooperation, fairness, justice, social and sustainable development, harmony, a culture of peace and non-violence, then, there is no time like NOW for us to act with good will and have the will to do good as we live our lives. Again, I ask that we step up in a new way to these key challenges, and, as we do, let’s draw the qualities of care, kindness, compassion and love ever more gently into our individual lives and bring it outward into our world.

Love is the affinity which links and draws together the elements of the world…love, in fact, is the agent of universal syntheses.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

How to do this ? How about first taking stock and evaluating ? Being centered within, it’s important to recognize if it’s time to change course. Given the impending turn of the year, we have a built-in opportunity to reflect and make shifts. Some of this may seem easier than others. Some of it is quite taxing like ending a relationship where the signs have been there in plain sight for a while. Although not easy, a number of reasons may require this behavior, but, whatever the impetus, by making adjustments, the outcome may bring new opportunity which may enhance our lives in unexpected ways and provide freedom to be more caring and to act more kindly. At the very least, it may provide the space for wisdom to arise and to be recognized. Although, sometimes, it may take a very long time and requires patience. As we know, growth requires that we move on. And, for us to go forward together with those who share the fundamental values that we hold so dear to create a better life for ourselves, for humanity and for our planet and the larger world. I’ve personally found this issue deeply inspiring as it emphasizes collective community action which expands light and peace.

Finally, I pay tribute to our luminaries for their support in being with the IDY Committee as we returned to in-person events. Yoga Day brought us HE NY Assemblyman Dr Nader J Sayegh who, due to his steadfast leadership, was instrumental in having New York State recognize June 21 as Yoga Day Statewide! We also enjoyed a special celebration for Guru Dileep Thankappan’s World Yoga Community’s 35th Anniversary, and, yes, we enjoyed cake! As we commemorated the first Nuclear Prayer Day, we were honored that Sheila Chaman, the renowned Doordarshan News Readers and a past Miss India, joined us as a speaker along with colleagues and friends from Japan. A month later, we observed the International Day of Peace by having the best-selling author Matt Kahn join us as a guest speaker.


At the same time, somewhat befittingly, on Yoga Day on the UN North Lawn, we said a fond farewell to close friend HE Ambassador Nagaraj Naidu who was reposted back to India. A couple of months later, we also said goodbye to HE Ambassador T. S. Tirumurti who had served as Permanent Representative when India was elected to a two-year term to the UN Security Council as he returned to India and retired.

So, dear friends, before we move forward to the year ahead, from my hear to yours, I wish you a beautiful holiday season and leave you with a few quotes.

In unity, healing and peace, Denise Scotto, Esq.

Chair, International Day of Yoga Committee at the United Nations

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning, but, a going on with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.” Hal Borland
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Eleanor Roosevelt
“Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows.” Native American Proverb

A Special Message from Light on Light

It’s such a pleasure to be sharing with you—from Light on Light magazine—in our annual International Yoga Day commemorative issue for 2022. Along with sharing this content about yoga around the world from our colleagues at the International Day of Yoga Committee at the United Nations (the UNIDY), we have also joined them recently in a VoiceAmerica Special broadcast in association the Evolutionary Leaders Circle. On their VoiceAmerica Series “Humanity’s Moment of Choice” we’ve presented “Choosing to Serve.” The Special is co-hosted by UNIDY Chair Denise Scotto, Esq. and features our longtime beloved friend and yoga colleague Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati of the renowned Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, India. Visited by thousands annually, Parmarth is a true spiritual haven, lying on the holy banks of the Mother Ganga, in the lap of the grand Himalayas.

Sadhviji is Director of the world-renowned International Yoga Festival, which brings thousands together from all over the world in celebration of unity and yoga. And she is a recent recipient of President Joe Biden’s Presidential Citation for Lifetime Achievement and Service. In this inspiring broadcast we speak with Sadhviji about the implicit, and inspiring, connection between Awakened Consciousness and the call to deep and urgent service today—to all things and beings on this beautiful planet that we all share.

The amazing breadth of world service that Sadhviji’s work displays is iconic of this calling to serve and our discussion with Sadhviji, and her beloved Guru Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati, is an inspiring broadcast.

Our Collective Voyage These Last Three Years

The other wonderful opportunity within Light on Light magazine’s message for this special issue is to share about the important and inspiring collaborative work between Yoga communities worldwide and the UNIDY commitee.

With the global pandemic in 2020-2021 the work of global yoga communities has become exceedingly important. It remains so in 2022 and as we head into 2023 as the world waits to see if it actually can fully emerge from this unprecedented challenge. Last year the UNIDY’s official message Yoga Day included these words, which ring just as true today, as they did then:

“With the pandemic the core UNITY message of Yoga and its unparalleled resources for healing and well-being are more important than ever.

Spiritual uplifting that nurtures both body and soul is key, and the Wisdom Schools of Yoga provide major and truly effective rest, respite, rebuilding and rebirth.”

These are indeed challenging times and the message of Yoga—and Yoga spirituality and cosmology—one of Oneness and well-being is eminently important at this time.

So, I want to take this opportunity to share core reflections from this year’s Yoga Day and Yoga itself. Our 2020 and 2021 editions were special because of, first, the sudden and unexpected trauma of COVID, the challenges of lockdowns, and then the long healing and recovery period for so many people around the world. The period was also filled with political and social unrest and turmoil around the world—of which we are all aware.


Thus, the world’s Yoga communities not only had Yoga Day to observe but herculean challenges regarding stress and traumas to address. With myriad illnesses, and millions of deaths worldwide, attention to healing grief and offering reawakening and rebirth became paramount across the spiritual community.

Our programs with UNIDY during this challenging period have included essential practices for Healing Grief and for Rebirth and Awakening. The theme for Yoga Day’s 2021 celebrations was “Yoga Wisdom for Healing and Peace.” In addition, the program was companioned by a presentation from the UNIDY committee entitled: “Building a Culture of Inclusivity”. The two programs combined the implicit messages of Yoga and global community. I’ve included live links to these inspiring programs in my Endnotes.

The UNIDY committee program began with these words:

“All beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. We are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood.

While these words are enshrined in the text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, they are cornerstones of Yogic philosophy to live by each day. When we respect life, ourselves, each other and our natural world, we open our hearts to our shared humanity and the expansion of connection, unity, respect, solidarity, compassion and peace. This can lead to ending our own behaviors as well as dismantling institutions that perpetuate intolerance, inequality, discrimination and violence.

Emphasizing spiritual values in this way uplifts the UN’s crucial work and the actions of all those dedicated to creating a better world for humanity and our Earth. Recent events have made it clear that no country, no culture can exist on its own, and it is through our unified efforts, by joining together, that we are able to meet pressing needs and provide assistance that affects people in their daily lives.

With the pandemic the core UNITY message of Yoga and its unparalleled resources for healing and well-being have been more important than ever.

Spiritual uplifting that nurtures both body and soul is key, and the Wisdom Schools of Yoga provide major and truly effective rest, respite, rebuilding and rebirth.”

We Need a Global Rebirthing

Globally, Yoga in the modern era has come a long way. Almost everyone is familiar with Yoga today. With Yoga’s prodigious presence in global popular culture, and deep roots in the heritages of some of the world’s greatest Wisdom Traditions, its “tried and true” methods for bringing well-being to body and mind are now employed all around the world. This is quite a change from when, in earlier centuries, Yoga was well known in only a few of our world’s many cultures. How lucky we are today!

As recognition of the benefits of Yoga’s physical health and meditative components has swept the world, it is no surprise that, in 2014, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed, “The International Day of Yoga,” which has been celebrated annually on June 21st ever since. The declaration of The International Day of Yoga provided a unique opportunity to also expand global recognition of the activities of Yoga communities around the world that, everyday, serve critical health and well-being needs of millions of men and women, and especially of children, elders, and the disenfranchised and marginalized.


A global benefit of declaring an International Day of Yoga through the United Nations community has been to facilitate the birth of what has become the International Day of Yoga Committee at the United Nations.

The Committee, comprised of members from multiple service organizations from around the world, plays the dual role of not only promulgating the benefits of Yoga itself but coordinating, and making the rest of the world aware of, the multiple human services that Yoga communities provide all around the world. These include services in clean water, sanitation, health care, safe and prosperous agriculture, education, and much more that would otherwise simply not be available. And why? Because these are the basic values of Yoga itself—love, caring, mutuality, compassion and well-being. Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati speaks inspiringly of all of this in the discussion hosted with her by me and Denise at VoiceAmerica which we are so happy to share with you this year.

You can read more about the UN’s Yoga Day Anniversary, and some of these efforts in our beautifully illustrated Light on Light e-magazines for the 2020 International Day of Yoga, its companion volumes for 2018-2019, and, for the 2020 International Day of Peace, the special issue entitled “Our Moment of Choice,” click here to read online 24/7 via ISSUU

Onward Beloveds-- Together!

Brothers and sisters in the Oneness of All, let’s choose the future we know is possible from our deepest senses of love and caring. These are the heart of all our world’s revered Wisdom Traditions and certainly the central message of Yoga. As I have recently said, both on line and in my forthcoming book on Yoga and Awakening from Light on Light Press:

In every crisis there is a rebirthing. In every crisis there is an opportunity. But it often requires—in us-- a new permission, a new permission inside ourselves, a new permission that assures us “you’re healthy”, “you can do this”, “you can trust this”, “this is not something you would have designed for yourself but it was apparently designed for you. So, there is a hidden grace in every rebuilding process. From the lessons we learn from each rebuilding, each rebirthing, we come to learn that our life experience on this planet is really about rebuilding everything.”

Let’s move forward together with the assurance of Shri Aurobindo’s companion The Mother:

There are people who love adventure. It is these I call, and I tell them this: “I invite you to the great adventure.”

It is not a question of repeating spiritually what others have done before us, for our adventure begins beyond that. It is a question of a new creation, entirely new, with all the unforeseen events, the risks, the hazards it entails—a real adventure, whose goal is certain victory, but the road to which is unknown and must be traced out step by step in the unexplored. Something that has never been in this present universe and that will never be again in the same way. If that interests you... well, let us embark

Karuna is the Host Editor of Light on Light magazine (, a host for The Convergence on VoiceAmerica and founder of Light on She has been involved with United Nations event programming for numerous years, nationally and internationally, for both the International Day of Yoga and Sustainable Living and Trauma Recovery themes. In recent years she has joined with Denise Scotto of International Day of Yoga Committee at the UN and other leaders like Deepak Chopra and Ken Wilber in hosting annual Yoga Day events. Currently Karuna has on-line programming, much of it free, at both Humanity’s Stream ( and Sacred Stories (



Yoga is an age-old practice. It is a unique gift from India to the world. On December 11, 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution, piloted by India and co-sponsored by 177 members, to mark International Day of Yoga worldwide. Since then, Yoga is being celebrated among people, communities, cultures and continents with greater enthusiasm and purpose. Every day, we have more and more people joining its fold. This, obviously, is very satisfying to Yoga lovers worldwide. Yet, many feel this is only a beginning. Challenges of modern life are such that the relevance and significance of Yoga will only increase in the times to come.

The Covid pandemic brought many changes to our living behavior. During these difficult times, millions around the world turned to Yoga to find inner peace and strength. As our Prime Minister, Shri Narenda Modi said, “The peace from Yoga is not only for individuals. Yoga brings peace to our society. Yoga brings peace to our nations and the world. And, Yoga brings peace for our universe.” In today’s challenging times, Yoga has immense potential to change people’s lives for the better. It can truly be a problem solver for all of us, be it our health, our environment or nurturing the planet. But we must do more. Our Prime Minister recently launched Mission Life — ‘Lifestyle for Environment’. It is a clarion call to the global community to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, one that is respectful of Mother Earth. Come, let’s join hands.

This year, we celebrated the International Day of Yoga with much fervor and fanfare at the iconic Times Square in New York, and with communities spread across the length and breadth of the United States. The celebration this year was also special for it formed part of our ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ — festival celebrating 75 years of India’s Independence. Marking the International Day of Yoga today has become a people’s movement. And in this endeavor the efforts of the International Day of Yoga Committee in the UN have been of immense value. The Committee and its members have enthusiastically promoted and popularized Yoga. We treasure the support received from the Committee and also extend our deepest appreciation for their dedication to Yoga, its philosophy and inner meaning.


Hawa Taylor-Kamara Diallo


On the occasion of the 8th Anniversary of the International Day of Yoga, it is good to know that the International Day of Yoga Committee at the United Nations has been promoting yoga and its multiple dimensions including the positive health benefits and those that lead to peaceful and sustainable societies. Practiced by peoples of all backgrounds and ages across the globe confirm its universality.

Yoga’s acceptance especially in the past eight years have validated the continued wide global appreciation of how it can be an effective way to promote and accomplish some of the crucial Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to health and well-being, education, justice and peace, just to name a few.

I take this opportunity to celebrate with you and to thank the International Day of Yoga Committee at the United Nations for highlighting the advantages of the many different practices that yoga offers as well as advancing its deeper purpose. We have learned a lot from your activities. I also recognize the many efforts you put forth in highlighting important UN Days that promote the UN’s goals and values such as the International Day of Peace and International Women’s Day.

The numerous events that the Committee has organized in partnership with UN offices and other like-minded organizations in observance of significant United Nations Days is an example of the inclusivity and unity that is inherent in the understanding of yoga. By working together with civil society and NGOs, we at the UN can increase our vision and can make strides in creating a better world for the peoples of the world and our planet. I wish you every success today and in the future.


8th International Day of Yoga Message

Ladies and gentlemen and distinguished guests, Today is International Yoga Day. The theme for this year is “Yoga for Humanity.”

Before I talk about Yoga, first, allow me to talk about the 3 Cs. What are the three Cs? The 3 Cs are the 3 crises which are facing, confronting, and challenging our humanity today.

Conflicts; Covid; and Climate Change.

Around the world, conflicts are erupting with some conflicts grabbing international headlines. Some have fallen out of international spotlight, forgotten, but they continue to claim countless lives.

Globally, Covid-19…. is still far from over.

And Climate Change ….is further exacerbating the already complicated situation.

To address this triple crisis, the UN and its partners are working around the clock to secure our outer peace. The UN General Assembly is dealing with over 170 items of its agenda every year.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council is meeting every day. Just this morning, they met on the situation involving the Ukraine. This afternoon, they will be discussing South Sudan.

The UN peacekeepers and humanitarian workers are spread across four continents to keep peace, make peace, and build peace.

But what can you and I, as individuals, do to secure our inner peace? Many things. And, one of them can be practicing yoga.

As many of you know, yoga is more than just a physical exercise. It is more than just a mental exercise. The essence of yoga is balance - not just balance within the body or that between the mind and the body, but also balance in the human relationship with the world.

Yoga emphasizes the values of ----mindfulness, moderation, discipline and perseverance. When applied to our communities and our societies ---- to our humanity, Yoga offers a path for sustainable living.

Today, as we gather here, we look inward, and meditate upon our inner peace.

In 90 days, on September 21, I would like to invite to celebrate the International Peace Day with the UN. You can join the very special peace bell ringing ceremony virtually as the UN and its partners continue to build outer peace.

Happy Yoga Day! Thank you.

Jacky Tong works in the United Nations Department of Global Communications. He is a Speaker for the UN Speaker ’s Bureau. He also trains the UN Tour Guides on public speaking, story-telling, UN history, and global affairs.


Dear Friends,

It is truly a great pleasure to be able to contribute to such a commendable and worthy publication. As a New York State Assemblyman, and as a human being living on this planet, I personally aligned with the goals of the International Day of Yoga Committee, seeking global peace and harmony, interfaith dialogue and multiculturalism.

As the first Jordanian-American elected to the New York State Legislature, I bring to this role in government a global perspective that I believe well serves the people of our cities and nation, where nearly half of the residents were born in other nations.

My City of Yonkers is New York’s third largest city with more than 100 nationalities present, so it was my pleasure to introduce legislation and resolutions that encompass the International Day of Yoga’s themes of Multiculturalism and World Peace. My first major interaction with Yoga and interfaith and global peace efforts came through meeting my good friend and brother, Guriji H.H. Dileepukmar Thankappan, the founder, global chairman and CEO of the World Yoga Community, Inc. He has risen to global prominence through his global outreach at the United Nations and I am proud to call him a close friend. His commendable and laudable efforts have done much to expand Yoga and Wellness in the United States and indeed across the world.

I have participated in numerous conferences and events relating to Yoga and Interfaith, and find that I have attained a greater appreciation for the global effort made in the pursuit of these honorable and worthy goals. In times such as these, with political, cultural and racial polarization at an all-time high, we need to be reminded that we are all citizens of the world, and are all human beings with a common bond. Eventually I am confident that we shall see light overcome darkness and goodness over evil as these wonderful organizations such as the International Day of Yoga continue their good work.

I congratulate Denise Scotto, Chair of the International Day of Yoga Committee at the United Nations, and the numerous advocates and volunteers who commit countless efforts to making our Mother Earth cleaner, healthier, safer and vibrant; including Climate Control and Environmental Conservation. I also salute the efforts to prepare this informative Yoga Journal which brings the message out to an even wider group of people.

I was proud to introduce in the New York State Assembly, Resolutions also introduced in the State Senate by Senator Kevin Thomas, memorializing Governor Kathy Hochul to proclaim June 21, 2022 as Yoga Day in the State of New York. The measure was broadly supported. The Resolutions passed both the Assembly and State Senate unanimously. Additionally, we have collaborated and worked hard together to bring greater awareness and appreciation to the mission undertaken by our Leadership, the Committees and our commendable advocates and volunteers.

Keep up the Great Work!


The New Sun

Chapter Seven: The Path to God

There are many wonderful experiences awaiting those who first begin to tread the path and who wish for purity, for they then begin to weave beauty and purpose into the stream of life. The first break from the world usually begins with a restless desire for higher things: sometimes in this stage of restlessness, a person runs from teacher to teacher, country to country, seeking outside in the marketplace of life. An ancient spiritual teacher said:

“Many ask themselves, ‘Which way do I go, which path do I follow?’ Those who ask this shall never find the goal they seek, for they scatter in the defying winds of growth like dried leaves. Holding on to nothing, they venture along the spiritual path sampling and tasting and receiving nothing. He who sits within himself firmly has the power of the universe around him and the world at his feet. He seeks not among the vines and forests but rests on his will and conviction of the omnipotent God that permeates every atom of the universe. Why should he seek in the market when he knows that God is within his own heart’s embrace, within every living creature, penetrating the universe. He who mingles in the market will find naught, but he who calls silently upon the Lord within his heart will find the love and presence of His light everywhere, and his treasured find will last through eternity.”

Every man is a king, the creator not only of his life but also of the universe in which he lives because he is the universe. A man is not bones and flesh and is even more than a soul – man is a supreme force which wishes to explode and reunite with itself. Once this great longing has ceased and man is no longer subject to illusion and limitation, he becomes one with all the forces in the universe, and he learns to master these forces. Then he may be of service on the Earth. Only when man accepts his true destiny and ceases to dwell on limiting thoughts can he give of God to man.

You who are on this path are close to the completion which your soul has longed for through the ages. The force and will of your soul is the strongest force in the universe. The great atom bomb is but a reflection of a small amount of power which originates as ideas in the mind of man and can then be brought forth on the material plane. If not even one-billionth of this power which exists in man’s mind, heart and soul can blow up the world, how much greater must be the full glory of God? Man is God. God’s gift to man is life. Man’s gift to God is his determination, strength and desire for the full glory of God to come to Earth through his own individual thoughts and life. A man’s soul longs

14 The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

for completion – its fulfillment – and within each man is the explosive to awaken the beauty, power and love of God in himself, to create heaven on Earth. Man was never bound to mortality. Man seeks his freedom.

There are many wonderful experiences awaiting those who first begin to long to know themselves. How to do this? First, you must spend time in cleaning yourself up. Most people have been supersalesmen for the negative in life, fearing that the worst will come upon them. Life on this Earth will either make you or break you. You either bend like the supple green-stemmed flower in the wind or crack in the hardness of life. Stand up against adversity in ease. We know life is not strewn with rose petals but is a test of fortitude and perseverance. Go above praise and blame. If you know you are living truth, let people say and do what they will. Live above the turbulent waves of life by keeping the mind calm. Most people on this planet have Earth disease – that is, pettiness, craftiness, greed, lust, jealousy. Therefore, we can easily forgive their jaundiced outlook on life, created by Earth disease.

Become big and magnanimous. Step back and look at life. Climb onto the center of the pendulum and not on the end that swings from negative to positive. Or should I say, do not be a yo-yo with its up and downs. How to accomplish this? Find joy in life, spend time in contemplation, in looking within and cleaning up your own limitations. Don’t look over the fence into your neighbor’s garden and see his weeds when you have enough weeds in your own garden to keep you busy. Become tolerant, patient and know the joy of living a life more abundant while here on Earth. Eliminate pettiness and gossip from yourself and see life blossom forth.

I believe there is only one path to God, whether you are following jnana yoga, karma yoga, bhakti yoga, hatha yoga

or some other way. I believe that one path is the path of moral conduct, or “code of conduct,” as Sai Baba calls it. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” As Jesus put it, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) Your neighbor is yourself, created and drawn into your force field by your own actions and thoughts of this life or another. If you do not love and tolerate your neighbor, which means anyone in your life – husband, wife, mother, father, child, lover, friend – then you are not an any path to God, no matter whether you call yourself Muslim, Hindu, Christian or Jew.

Take the dare to live with all your might free from Earth disease by controlling emotions, body and, greater still, the mind, because the mind is the key that sets you free. What you will not worry about ten years hence, do not fret about now. What you cannot take to heaven with you is all flotsam on the sea of life. Do the best you can with all your heart, mind and soul, and knowing you have done your best, let go.

Life can be fun down here if you know the trick of living. Make the body do what you want. Control the body with the mind, and then these emotions get in order. The mind sometimes takes over and says, “I can’t go to meditation, I’m too tired. I can’t exercise, I’m too tired.” But with determination, you go, and something, a new energy, releases within you, and you have conquered. Your mind has conquered. Your emotions and body have been made to do what you will, and you are closer to finding out who this you is – this truth within. Every time you force yourself to break inertia, one of the stumbling blocks upon the path, you are on your way. Become the master of yourself and find out how great you truly are. Within you is the key: it is your mind. It can open the door within you to the glory of the Kingdom of God.

Her teachings

Hilda’s teachings had a profound effect on the lives of thousands of people from all walks of life. Alcoholics and drug addicts were known to conquer their addictions, prostitutes left the street, and those afflicted with serious diseases often reported experiencing remission and cure.

You can find more about her life by going to

Hilda Charlton was a spiritual teacher, author, dancer and healer who taught classes in New York City from 1965 to 1988. From 1947 to 1965 Hilda was in India pursuing her studies of Eastern mysticism and meditation. She was guided by great spiritual masters and holy people, including Sri Nityananda of Ganeshpuri, Sri Mahadevananda of Bombay, and Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi. incorporated the fundamental principles of the world’s religions. Foremost in her classes she stressed the importance of a life of giving, unconditional love and remembrance of God.


Self-Transformation to Societal Change

We live in a troubled world where we are encountering unprecedented threats and risks from violence and extremism to the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic to the ravages of climate change to the displacement of people. What the human soul, spirit and heart long for the most, is peace. We talk of inner and outer peace as the answer to a world in turmoil. This requires our attention and reflection.


What is peace? Knowing all its dimensions allows one to be able to appreciate and then attain it. Peace is not a static concept but a permanent flow and should be reinvented in every changing context, and not confined within a rigid rational structure. Every moment holds the potential for experiencing peace.

‘Peace’ is experienced within a wide range of expressions in different cultures and languages. For instance, in Mandarin Chinese the word peace (hépíng) combines two characters: the harmonious (hé), and level or balance (píng). In Hindi and Sanskrit, the expression is Shanti (śānti), emphasizing spiritual and inner peace and harmony with nature. In Hebrew, it is translated as Shalom, and in Arabic, as Salaam.

In saying that peace is the ‘absence of war’ it limits our understanding in a ‘negative’ way. So, “positive peace”, embodies the larger issues like stable development or social justice that meet human needs.

As most of you know, there are various UN platforms that aim for peace and justice. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are based on ‘global justice for all’, telling us that peace is ‘everyone’s business’, requiting the participation of each one of us. The UN asks us to build capacity in people across the world by giving them the skills to empower themselves so they can have their rightful place and their share in the progress and prosperity of society. Education is a key for this, as is peace education where problems are resolved in an inclusive, dignified, tolerant, and amicable way


Outer peace is a reflection of inner peace. Each individual must develop their own potential to live life with awareness, wisdom, confidence, compassion and serenity. Without inner peace an individual is unable to function in the outer world at peace. At the same time, no amount of outer peace will bring internal peace, unless the mind is transcended. Internal peace is a guide or measure for going within. The further we delve deeper within us, the greater is the potential for peace.

How to develop inner peace? Yoga, meditation, pranayama, breathing, and other practices help considerably to improve one’s overall well-being. It is well known how these create mental clarity and calmness, increased body awareness, the release of chronic stress patterns, and sharpened concentration, thus, enabling one to focus outside on the external world with maturity and wise judgement.

A yogic way of living, everyday by everyday, comprises healthy eating, regular activity and a sound metabolic system of the body, with lowered blood sugar and cholesterol, weight and insulin levels and optimal immune system. It aids in increasing flexibility, muscle strength and body tone while enhancing focus and concentration. The outcome of a yoga routine promotes the balanced development of the physical, mental, and spiritual being. A regular practice recharges the body with cosmic energy and facilitates the attainment of perfect equilibrium and harmony.


As human beings, all of us share the wish to be happy and free from suffering. Suffering comes in many forms -all of them stemming from a forgetfulness (Avidya) of who we are at the core of our being, beyond our thoughts, emotions, and external circumstances. Traditionally, the purpose of yoga is to show us the way back home to the Truth that we know deep within our hearts. It is a peace and truth that are free from attachment to outside elements and mental attraction or aversion towards them. There are many paths and practices that point the way to remembering this Universal Truth: Pratyahara (stillness and withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (concentration and listening), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (realization and direct experience of consciousness as oneself).

By cultivating these with a loving and playful attitude, we walk the path that is actually paved by the peace we are searching for. Control of the mind is most difficult but inner peace comes only from knowing our beliefs and the willingness to act according to them. Mental strength and inner peace go hand in hand. Mentally strong people are confident that they can handle whatever life throws their way. It does not mean that mentally strong people do not feel pain or sadness. Of course they experience all agonies on a deep level, but, they do not waste energy wishing things were different, or try to change other people. Staying focused on managing one’s own thoughts, feelings, behaviors and self-improvement are steps along the path. Try not to change others, but change oneself instead. Remember that indulgence in blaming is to be avoided, and there should be little desire to impress others. Most of all, let go of grudges and the relentless desire for material acquisitions. Concentrate on possessing a quiet sense of self-reliance.


We must be committed to developing some kind of dedicated mindfulness practice, a habit of time and space for ourselves so that we can bring our absolute best self to any situations that arises. We can model calm, compassion, active listening, nonviolent speech, deliberation, accurate vocabulary, and appropriate body language.

At the end of the day, “Outer Peace” is not the lack of conflict, but a way of dealing with the inevitable conflicts in life—between individuals and groups - without violence. This calls for respect and increasing equity between members of society. It’s easy to respect someone who is deeply similar to each of us yet we must learn to come to respect anyone who is different. We develop inner and outer skills as a peacebuilder enhancing ourselves as we:

· transform ourselves from intolerant, potential perpetrators of violence, even by way of one’s negative thoughts, into collaborators in liberating communication.

· examine emotions consciously to better prevent unexpected aggressions from appearing, stemming from attitudes, beliefs, or even childhood trauma thereby expressing current relationships maturely. act with the integrity in building, making, and keeping peace between colleagues and communities in one’s daily live.

Let us end with understanding that building peace is a continuous process. The UN was established in 1945 and in these past 77 years pursuing peace is a core mandate. It’s a driving force behind all actions taken across the UN system along with the private sector and NGOs. The International Day of Yoga Committee at the UN and the SMVA Trust, along with many of our other collaborators are excellent examples of groups working for outer and inner peace.

It is my profound hope and conviction that the Walk of Peace, which, may at times, be long and painful too, will inspire us, knowing that it is vital for building stable, thriving and happy societies because, according to all scriptures, bliss is the essence of human existence in harmony with nature.

Her Holiness Amma Sri Karunamayi is revered as an embodiment of unconditional Divine Motherly Love due to the care and compassion that she so liberally showers upon all. In 1988, she established SMVA Trust, a global non-profit affiliated with the United Nations, creating social justice initiatives to serve those in need demonstrating how the timeless wisdom of Sanathana Dharma (Vedic Culture) interweaves tradition and public service. SMVA Trust provides: free education/housing/ medical care, clean drinking water and women’s empowerment programs.

Amma is also the founder and spiritual head of Manidweepa Maha Samsthanam, a serene forest ashram which includes the Sri Lalita Parameshwari Devi Tri-Shakti Peetham. The ashram regularly hosts events such as: meditation retreats, students retreats, festivals, the annual Navaratri Grand Celebrations, Homas and Pujas.

17 The
Om shanti, Shanti Om
Richness & Fullness of Yoga

Returning to Harmony

Harmony is natural to us. It is the original state of humanity, where our way of relating and interacting with one another and with all forms of life is naturally harmonious. Deep inside we know this – it is as if we remember it – and this is why we long for harmony and work so hard to find or create it. If there were no conscious or unconscious memory of that experience, there would be no sense of something missing, something awry, in our world at this time. If harmony is our natural way of being, then why is it not currently the norm?

Today’s world is an increasingly divided one. There is division and fragmentation within families and communities, between genders and generations, and between ideologies, faiths and nations. A sense of ‘them and us’ inevitably leads to comparison, competition and, often, conflict and undermines our deeper feelings of belonging, love and compassion. At the same time, we are seeing a soaring rise in health problems – mental and physical – across the globe, at all levels of society, which would seem to indicate some form of disharmony within us as individuals.

Within every human tradition there is the concept of paradise, utopia or a golden age – a world of peace, love and happiness, a time when human beings lived their lives in harmony with each other and with nature. What has happened that we’ve come so far from where we were? And, more importantly, how can we help ourselves to return to our natural state of being?

The tendency has been to try and find external solutions - by changing systems, changing policies, injecting more money, more technology and more information. Yet, despite all of this, we appear to be going in reverse rather than moving forward. Perhaps it is time to look at a different perspective entirely: to look at what’s going on inside ourselves and to see how it’s connected to the world outside - both on a personal level and a global level. Spirituality tells me that, when I sort things out within myself and come to a state of harmony inside, I am more likely to contribute to harmony outside on all levels - with people and with our physical environment. ‘Charity begins at home’ - with the self.

The experience of harmony

Harmony is, first and foremost, about being at peace with one’s own self. It is that inner state in which our thoughts, our conscience and our expression – our words and actions – are all in alignment. This brings feelings of deep comfort and security and, at the same time, flexibility and flow. When we experience peace and harmony within ourselves, our decisions and actions are motivated by contentment and love. We have the strength and clarity to be able to behave in a way that is according to our deepest values – which brings the greatest happiness. Inner harmony enables us to bring meaning and truth to even the smallest matters. We give our full attention and bring the best of ourselves to whatever we are engaged in at the present moment. Like someone playing in an orchestra or playing a team sport, we are alert and focused on what we have to do as well as what is happening around us.


If we ourselves are able to maintain inner peace and harmony inside, our personal and professional relationships will automatically be more likely to be conducive to harmony. This will then naturally lead to harmony in our communities, in our countries and could ultimately be a small contribution to peace and harmony in the world. Inner harmony is thus the seed of harmony between us and around us and is what enables us to create structures and practices that sustain harmony.

A question of awareness

Everything starts with our awareness: our sense of who we are and who we belong to. In most cases, our self-image and sense of belonging are bound up with our physical identity and the material world: what we look like, what we do, where we live, the family and community we were born into, and many other aspects of conditioning that we’ve picked up along the way. What if we could see beyond our physical self and everything associated with that – even beyond our personality – to our inner core: the eternal, spiritual self?

When we are in the awareness of ‘I’ being the physical form, there will inevitably be some feeling of insecurity. Our body is temporary and so relationships, roles, possessions and circumstances associated with my physical identity are all prone to change and, ultimately, loss. This uncertainty drives us to look for comfort and support in external things. The pull of the physical senses can lead to dependencies and desires that can never be satisfied and undermine our selfrespect.

If, however, ‘I’ is experienced as a being of spiritual energy that expresses itself through our physical body, then that uncertainty and vulnerability is no longer there. Knowing that the ‘I’ that thinks, feels, remembers, and generally experiences and contributes to life is ultimately distinct from the material world brings a deep feeling of inner peace. This understanding of the deeper aspects of the self has largely been forgotten. We have become disconnected from our higher, spiritual selves and this is the fundamental cause of our overly materialistic outlook today.

As spiritual beings, we do not exist in isolation. We are connected with each other through an eternal connection with the Divine, the Parent of us all and the Source of all that is highest in human nature. As we connect with this perfect reference point, we increase our own power of truth and we also experience a deep connection with each other. The more we experience the highest within ourselves, the more easily we feel connected and in harmony with people around us. This is because we are free from needing others to give us a sense of self; we experience a higher sense of self-worth.

There is a continuum that works on the spiritual level and also manifests in the material world. It goes like this:

Our awareness defines our attitude

Our attitude colours our vision

Our vision dictates our actions.

Our actions shape our culture.

Our culture creates our world.

The words rhyme in Hindi: smruti - vritti - drishti - kritti - sanskriti - srishti. What we see and experience in the world – and what we wish to see and experience –depend ultimately on our awareness, our consciousness.

Until now, the current critical state of the world has generally been attributed to external factors. There is no doubt that political, economic, social, technological and environmental conditions all have a huge impact on our everyday experience


and behaviour. However, it is my understanding that these are all the inevitable consequences of the individual and collective consciousness of human beings – the manifestations of an inner disharmony. Logic then tells me that the solutions to humanity’s current state of dis-ease also lie there.

The inner being, the soul, itself has inherent goodness within. This goodness is based on five core innate qualities: peace, love, wisdom, joy and purity. We spend a lot of time and energy trying to find these in what we do, where we go, in the people around us and in the possessions we acquire. All the time these much sought-after ‘treasures’ are within us; they are who we really are inside. Because of the selfishness to which materialism gives rise, these qualities are mostly deeply suppressed. The level of violence that we see in society today can be traced back to this first violence that we do to ourselves: that of suppressing our inherent goodness.

When we reconnect with our inner core of goodness, we are less influenced by any negativity coming from outside of us. We are not so affected by the anger or arrogance of other people, or by distressing situations in front of us or in the news. It is not that we avoid or ignore them but they do not disturb us in a way that makes us react out of fear or dislike. Instead, we find that we have the self-respect and power to be able to respond calmly and constructively. With understanding and love, we see beyond the differences, the labels and the barriers – we see beyond the presenting behaviour – to the truth of the soul. We recognise the whole human family as our family and the physical world as our shared home, which naturally engenders relationships of caring and sharing and the desire to connect with and appreciate the other.

Meditation enables us to rediscover and re-energise our inner qualities. Becoming more aware of them and practising them in everyday situations can transform our thinking, our speaking and our doing and bring them back into alignment and harmony. It is then the inner being who is directing my interactions with the world, rather than the physical senses, influenced by the weight of the world’s negativity, controlling the inner self. Although we may be living right now in an era of compassion deficit, social isolation and post-truth, re-connecting with the inner self empowers us as individuals to live lives based on our core values of compassion, love and truth.

Sister Jayanti is Additional Administrative Head of The Brahma Kumaris and the organisation’s NGO representative at the UN in Geneva.

Peace and Non-violence

• Conflict arises from a competitive society.

There is competition, which causes insecurity, envy, hatred, and suffering. Sometimes violence occurs. Conflicts arise at the individual level and from the conflict between countries. The desire to gain more territory and power can eventually lead to major wars.

Somewhere on the planet, there is still conflict. There is competition. There is always economic competition. It will be a competition of various forces. There is competition for military power. We are preparing for conflict to defend our country. And then there is conflict and destruction. There is a struggle to defend one’s country or to defend oneself.

Conflict occurs in the name of the struggle to get better. Is conflict essential? How can we make the world a peaceful place? Sometimes we take lives for no good reason. The spirit of individual violence leads to national strife.

How does conflict arise? There are large conflicts such as national conflicts, and small conflicts such as conflicts between individuals. The seeds of conflict are within us, even when we cannot see them.

The mind is always comparing, competing, and desiring, which leads to conflict and, eventually, to violence. You want to hurt people, and when you are hurt, you hurt back.

Various conflicts arise in the mind. We get angry when things don’t go our way. In addition, one thing goes wrong after another. The situation gets worse.

It is important to always achieve harmony among us. Respect every relationship, do not invade the other person, and pay respect to the other person’s sphere. Make peace within yourself. Condition your body. Condition your mind. We do not invade the other person’s territory in their body. For example, muscles may be twisted, internal organs may be misaligned, or bones may be misaligned. These areas need to be aligned so that blood and fluids flow and function properly. Posture needs to be corrected. If there is any unevenness, tension, or looseness and lack of strength, it is important to make these areas function properly and be peaceful on average.

If the mind goes toward not being peaceful such as being angry, sad, obsessed, hard-headed, or not happy based on comparison, it becomes irritable and eventually becomes aggressive, which can lead to conflicts.

21 The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

When we are stressed and not in good condition, we are more likely to blame others and to have conflicts. This can lead to domestic violence, making families unhappy, individuals less happy, schools more fragile, and society more fragile.

Even at the national level, there is instability. In order to make everyone happy from the national level as well, various laws and regulations should be set up so that everyone can have equal opportunities.

People live by building up their abilities and capabilities in order to suppress their deepest fears and insecurities. At the national level, we provide opportunities for physical education, moral education, and educational equality to protect everyone and help them improve their abilities and skills.

However, this alone may not bring happiness. Differences in ability are created. In addition, when we lose in the competition for physical and intellectual strength, we may feel hatred and lose our sense of happiness. Also, at the level of country to country, the struggle for power, military power, will escalate due to insecurity. There is a sense of disquiet there.

The human ego is further developed along with economic development, and this insecurity leads to a competition for power. How can the seeds of such violence be eradicated?

• Good deeds produce good results.

There is an old teaching about doing morally good deeds. It is also found in the Himalayan secret teachings. It means that we can make our mind peaceful by doing the right things in our deeds and by doing compassionate deeds.

We will make peace through outward acts. We will do what is right. We do not commit violence. We teach not to kill. We teach not to take what belongs to others. Every human being has desires. Some of us may have strong desires and may want to take what others have because we want it.

As the minds are twisted, some may try to win by hurting others. Everyone has an aggressive nature to defend themselves. It is a habit given to us to defend ourselves. We have a propensity to attack to protect ourselves from our enemies. We are given the ability to defend ourselves against sudden attacks. But if we are forced to use too much of that energy, we may feel as if we are going to be attacked, even though we are not. As a result, we may attack in advance. We can become new and evolved human beings instead of using violence. Otherwise, it is difficult to end the conflict. But everyone sees only himself.


What should we do? The Himalayan secret teachings are practical teachings to become a perfect human being. People do not necessarily grow by simply living. Of course, we learn from history, we are well educated, and we can do many things. This power has led to the Industrial Revolution, and the world has become more creative and convenient. Food, clothing, and shelter have become richer.

In the process, we improve human beings ourselves. It is something that makes us healthier, develops our muscles, and enables us to play sports. It can be walking, running, thinking, drawing, making music. We can do more and more things and refine them. To improve our humanity, that is what everyone can do.

Sometimes you have a special love and/or talent for something such as painting, music and so on. Not everyone can do it and be good at it. It is necessary to use the five senses correctly and peacefully, like seeing correctly or hearing correctly. It is stressful to see and hear incorrectly and cause conflict. We need to avoid unnecessary conflict.

Trust others instead of feeling in danger on a regular basis. Before that, you trust yourself. You need to be confident in doing so. When you are insecure, you doubt people or cannot read situations correctly.

It is important to awaken to divine wisdom, not your previous value judgments, cultivate love, and be at peace. It is about becoming a holy person and acquiring the ability to move forward with a correct understanding of everything. It is possible to do so. When people use their minds, they are insecure, they doubt or don’t believe people, and relationships don’t work.

• New Evolution Brings a Peaceful World

Human beings need to grow up more. Even if we don’t know them, we must understand them and respond to them without misunderstanding. We have been learning from our history how to live in peace. We must further evolve the way we respond to them. It is the Himalayan saints who see from such a cosmic perspective.

The practice of Himalayan secret teachings enables us to develop the personality of each individual. We receive good vibrational energy. It is the energy of the enlightenment of the Himalayan saints. This will help us to remove anxiety and fear from our own value and increase love, to forgive others, and to give rather than protect. By doing so, the world will become more peaceful. If all of us receive such protective energy, we are able to change this world. Our essential nature is not the mind, free from conflict and full of love. We can cultivate compassion and respect each other.

Women have motherhood. Women have compassion. All mothers have a maternal nature, and when raising their small children, they bring them up with unselfish love. Mothers do not sleep at night and take care of breastfeeding and babies crying at night. This is nothing but compassion. The seed of such a pure mind is in everyone. Men also have this. Motherhood may be of an instinctive and physiological nature in parenting. We can further evolve our humanity with energy from the Divine beyond all.

Our essential nature is peaceful and full of love. It is a divine essence. Connect to this essential quality and awaken it. It is the Himalayan saint who has done that. If you connect to the Himalayan saint and receive his/her guidance, you will be reborn to a person of love. If you choose loving instead of fighting, this world will become more peaceful where everyone cooperates each other.

Yogmata, Keiko Aikawa, is the first and only woman, as well as only foreigner, ever to become a Siddha Master; attaining the ultimate stage of Meditation and Yoga (samadhi) through harsh ascetic training in the Himalayas. Between 1991 and 2007, she performed eighteen public viewing of samadhi, throughout India, to attest to the truth and promote world peace. She regularly holds lectures and meditation guidance workshops all over the world. In June 2016, she was invited, as a special guest, to the UN headquarters to celebrate the International Day of Yoga and has since given keynote speeches and guidance of meditation, at other UN events, in October 2016 and May 2017.

23 The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

Cultivating a Peaceful World for our Children

As our Sages and Teachers remind us, peace begins at home. It begins with ourselves. Each one of us has experienced profound peace at least a few times, yet how easily such peace can seem to dissipate and how elusive to recapture. Can we learn how to actively access and cultivate peace, can we experience peace as our constant companion? In the fabled Golden Age of thousands of years ago, society was stable, lives were very long, and contentment was the norm. In these darker times, society is much more fragmented and we have lost touch with our natural peaceful state of mind.

In a typical family day, many of us experience a nagging, underlying stress which begins when we open our eyes first thing in the morning and spills out, infecting the whole day.

Stress is amplified by our family members, our children, our work colleagues, the violence of programmes on the television screens, the constant stories of woe in the newspapers. There’s always some shock horror or latest scandal to worry about, personal irritation, inconsiderate neighbour, disruptive issue to occupy our minds. And if nothing happened today, why, I’ve got millions of stored memories to draw on to sustain my mood of dissatisfaction. So much upset, so much sadness and irritation!! It’s not my fault, I’ve had an upset childhood (insert you own reason here)!

The most amazing thing of all in the 21st Century is that we tolerate, and (mostly) get by with living in such a state in spite of such discomfort and restlessness.

Maybe it’s because we are so inured to it, that misery is accepted as the norm. We don’t notice it any more. When person is shot on our television news, we accept it. The full reality of a human being’s death has been removed from us, and we are anaesthetised. We see meat in a supermarket wrapped up in plastic, but we don’t experience the animal’s fear of death because it is not killed before us. Our days are filled with unnatural noise, pollution, artificial food and light, and all sorts of activities we weren’t really designed to tolerate, like sitting in front of a computer all day long, or queuing in the traffic, breathing in exhaust fumes. All these stresses take their toll and there’s a sting in the tail.


The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

Our outer and inner worlds are intimately connected. What is inside is reflected outside, and vice versa. Our so-called peaceful world is very fragile, because we are often so very out of touch with ourselves. Our formal Western education disrupts the divine presence that the young child experiences quite naturally.

When I came to starting my own family, I fell into a big empty hole, because I had all these intellectual ideas about peace but no real sustained experience of it. Consequently, my children’s early family life was a big experiment. One of the first things I noticed (from the moment my first child was born) and obvious really - was that I was my child’s first teacher. He copied me in every way. My movements, my sounds, words, and my moods. He was so in tune with me that I began to realise that he was my mirror. If I was shut off from myself, so was he. My son was a natural mimic and took me and my husband, and everyone else, including all the adverts on the TV, off to a tee, right down to the intonation and underlying mood. It was a subtle hint to me. If I wanted a happy child, a happy family, I had to dig inside myself, to anchor into my own natural happy state, and function from that point of reference. I had to be careful what I put out there, and what kind of environment I created around my children. Obviously, I wanted the best for my children - I wanted to create a nourishing, supportive environment for them.

Actually, it was very hard going the first couple of years, because I was working in the dark. I knew that a more peaceful way was possible, but I really hadn’t a clue how to begin. My eldest was a hyperactive, very intelligent little boy, and I admit freely - I was often in a reactive state of despair! As Dame Edna Everedge, that well known Australian Housewife Super Star TV character once lamented, “O Lord, when I’m at the end of my tether, I do hope you’re on the other end!”

Peace is not just an other-worldly concept, it has to be experienced and embodied.

When there is a real longing, there is great focus, and the energy of that focus brings about change. I kept searching for answers. And they came in natural, simple ways. My children were prone to colds. I felt sure that we should be looking at prevention rather than just dealing with the symptoms. One day I heard about a Medical Doctor who also practised complementary medicine, muscle testing for allergies and food intolerance. This was back in the early 1980s, when such specialties were unusual. I took my little boys for a consultation and discovered they were sensitive to refined sugar. To cut a long story short, that single discovery was a huge practical step towards self-discovery. We learnt to eat a natural, unpolluted diet that calmed the hyperactivity, stopped the ill health and brought an evenness of mind and peaceful temperament to the whole family.

In time a whole spiritual path based on inner peace emerged. Whilst leading a busy householder life—bringing up my three children, running the family business, holding down a part-time job and teaching Yoga, I was also happy--and our home eventually provided a peaceful resource for the neighbourhood as well, where people could come and learn to meditate. None of this happened over night, it took time and happened in small, cumulative ways. I was fortunate to study deeply with some major Teachers from both Hindu and Buddhist traditions and they taught me to live the sacred teachings in everyday life.

Our family life was not without its ups and downs, (who can avoid that), but each child had the opportunity to be taught how to face and handle life’s stresses. Forty years on, they are now serving the community meaningfully and modeling peaceful ways for their own children.


How can we create a peaceful environment that will nurture, support and involve our children? How can we touch peace on a regular basis and how can we communicate it and share that experience with our children?

Creating peace is possible and it is not difficult. It is a skill like any other and can begin in the simplest of ways. The late Lama Gangchen Rinpoche, a Tibetan Teacher who worked tirelessly for peace, says in his book, Peace Culture:

“Peace is not just an absence of war; it has many qualities. It is precious, beautiful and it is our natural essence.” [1]

We begin with ourselves, by taking care of our own hearts. We can create a peace culture in our outer environment through loving, peaceful actions such as nurturing our physical bodies with nourishing food and we can work for change in our own inner environment, by healing our mental and emotional states. Through our own peaceful thoughts and actions, our children too will absorb peace. Here are seven key things that worked for me in creating a peace culture in my family life.

1) Self Observation.

Our thoughts are formed from old traces of experiences, old memories, actions and thoughts. All these eventually repeat and accumulate to create habitual reactions, tendencies and patterns of behaviour. Just a fleeting trace of a word in our mind can call up vast realms of thought, speech and action. Unchecked, all those tendencies kick in unconsciously and repeatedly Thoughts cluttered by random baggage are not an accurate barometer for seeing things as they really are. We perceive a very personalised view of the world, coloured by our own biases, for good or bad.

So! We can anchor into peace simply by becoming more conscious of our thoughts. We can change our negative thoughts to good ones. For example, when I first get up in the morning, I can notice my mood. If I wake up grumpy, who is responsible? Am I going to let it ruin the whole day?

We create a powerful reality with our thoughts because energy follows thought. Therefore, let’s create a happy world for ourselves and others. Keep a journal. It doesn’t have to be daily--that can be a chore--but maintain one fairly regularly. This helps to plot your patterns and issues. Insights bring changes - you begin to see how your attitudes have been shaped, and how they shape your regular thoughts. Journaling gives you a forum to explore and off load feelings and can also stimulate great creativity.

A friend told me that in the elementary school where she works, each child does a weekly mind map to explore their week--to explore what worked, what didn’t and so on. This is teaching children a life-long tool which will help in all sorts of situations in the future, and has the added benefit of alerting teachers to any difficulty a child may need help with resolving.

2) Relationships

Create peaceful family and neighbourly relationships, not family arguments. Peace really does begin at home, in your own heart. Children are so attuned to us, to our emotional and mental states; they pick up on all our subtle messages. We can engage in community projects, such as environmental cleanups, take on roles such as ‘scout leader,’ volunteer to take your elderly neighbour shopping. Sometimes it takes courage to step into unfamiliar roles. Children absorb our example day by day.


The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

The bottom line is this. You just cannot rely on someone else to make the first move. It really is down to us to take responsibility, and the rewards are greater than you could ever imagine.

3) Meditation - Chanting - Sacred Space

Meditation is a natural progression from reflection and prayer. It is helpful to practice formally in the beginning. Many readers here will have an established practice of their own but if you don’t, I encourage you to begin with-10-20 minutes. Sit or lie with your back comfortably straight, and well supported if necessary. And then watch the thoughts but don’t let them grab your attention. Just watch them, like you’d watch the waves on a seashore. Keep the focus on the present, on the rise and fall of the breath. As the breath becomes steady and even, the mind calms down, the thoughts slowly trickle by, the peace envelops you, and conscious awareness comes singing in your soul. It’s a most amazing discovery.

Developing a simple meditation practice when my children were small was a big key for me, 5-10 minutes a day in the beginning. When the babies catnapped, I’d be camped out in the kitchen! It was when I didn’t practice that I noticed the effect on me. Keeping the attention in the present, we experience the presence of our own consciousness. We experience peace. This peace habit then filters into the rest of the day - when we’re changing a dirty nappy, or the children are crying over something, we have learnt the knack of keeping our balance or at least, of regaining it quickly!!

I sat with my children too and led them through simple meditation. I taught them how to relax their muscles, which became handy later on when they were tense and sitting an exam and sat with them chanting simple prayers and mantras. Chanting really does open the heart - it expands the thymus gland on a physical level, and helps to open the spiritual heart. Of course, theirs were already open, but it helped me to open mine, and to share their experience. Sometimes we sang the Sanskrit mantras I had learnt, and sometimes we sang simple English ones. This was my particular way, I encourage you to develop what feels right for you.

If you like, begin your meditation by using a simple word like Peace, or your own mantra, if you have been given one to use. If you don’t have one, try Ma-Ra-Na-Tha. Maranata mean “Come Lord” in Aramaic and is taken from the New Testament; repeat on the in and out breath until the mind falls into silence. Om Bhishwa Shanti Hum, or Om Namah Shivaya are other good examples.

It is helpful to create a little sacred spot in the house where you can spend some regular quiet time. It creates a good habit in you, and also the peaceful vibrations start to accumulate there after a while, making it easier to go back into your peaceful state. Put a candle and a flower there, maybe a crystal; it can be ornate or simple, whatever calms your senses. It is somewhere your child may choose to sit too, from time to time - if they are upset, for example. When my children were little, our sacred space was simply a corner in my living room. Later on, when it was more appropriate, I was the original closet yogi, with a little converted cupboard at the top of the stairs. As they got older, I would sit in there in an odd, snatched moment during the day. It was a little haven of peace, a five-minute time-out. On one or two occasions, I was caught out when one of my children answered the door to a neighbour, The three of them all chorused - “oh yes, Mum’s upstairs, sitting in the cupboard!”


4) Subtle energy work

To clear the clutter, we can do energy work. Together with meditation these are powerful tools. Healing and energy work act like a scouring pad, clearing out the old stored up traumas and psychic debris and re-tuning us to the divine within. Energy work is, a modern set of practices which support our meditation, using the vibrational base of the practices of a spiritual tradition; there are many such systems, from Huna in Hawaii, to the empowerments and healing practices of Tibetan Buddhism. The simplified practice of Ngal So, introduced by Lama Gangchen is one such enliven d practice that even children can follow. [2]

Regular practice helps us to heal our bodies, emotions, minds and spiritual levels of ourselves. Then we don’t dump our reactions and emotions on those around us. We take responsibility for our mental states. Our children don’t get dumped on either, and are shown how to handle those raw emotions when they come up, because they see us responding, instead of reacting.

5) Spending conscious time with our children

As well as involving them in our personal practices, we can teach our children to take responsibility for their issues by involving them in such activities as family council.

Eat together. We can sit down WITH our children for at least one meal a day together - without the television on! Community activity develops connection, continuity, social skills like listening, tolerance, and sharing time. Have time for their stories and issues.

Family walks and activities. We can go out with them for walks - spend time in natural surroundings- so that they connect with and develop respect for Nature, trees, can feel the grass under their feet, and appreciate the sun etc. Get them involved in growing plants, give them a little responsibility! Do fun things and take up personal challenges with them - I learnt to Roller-skate at the grand old age of thirty six!

6) Supporting practical initiatives

Practice ethical consumerism - use recycled paper, recycle bottles, choose to walk instead of always taking the bus or car, and so on! It’s healthier for the body, and actually moderate exercise is important for a peaceful body and mind. Join in projects and activities that protect and nurture our environment. Join local peace initiatives.

Finally, give a little in charity. Practice generosity. This does not necessarily mean money. Time is also precious, and again children learn through our example to have consideration for others in our community - like doing the shopping for someone who is house ridden, or even simply going in to listen for an hour. Even a smile can give so much to uplift another’s day. It develops gratitude and appreciation for what we have, and also brings a peaceful attitude. In fact, we can bring loving attention to everything we do.

7) Developing our own personal Code of Ethics

These points helped to develop my own personal code of ethics. They worked for our family, and my adult children now embody them quite naturally as they nurture the next generation.

Unconditional love. Teaching through your own personal actions that even if you don’t always like what they do, your children are always loved.

Consistency. Children feel secure about the adult world and they can trust you. Kindness. Not the sugar sweet kind, but the kind that will teach sensible boundaries of behaviour, and help develop an internal sense of discipline and regularity in their lives, together with loving appraisal.


Fairness. No bias towards adults or favouritism of children.

Respect. To receive respect, we have to give it to our children. How can they learn to offer something they have had no experience of? Children need respect from parents and of course, they also need it from their teachers - something often forgotten. This also includes patience for their point of view and level of understanding! Honesty. Give truthful answers.

Trustworthiness. Don’t make promises you can’t keep - those made should be honoured.

Listening. Listen to our children, be fully present with them. When they are very young, it isn’t always easy, of course, they want you NOW. They want a story NOW, while you are getting their lunch!! I would address the need, for example saying, “I can’t read to you right now, because I’m preparing your lunch, but here’s a hug and shall we read together afterwards?” Almost every time they were quite satisfied, because they felt they had been heard.

As we learn to stay in touch with our inner peace, our outer world begins to reflect it back to us. This cultivation of peace then spreads out in a cumulative, ripple effect in our relationships, with our children’s friends and in the environment around us. This is the sort of non-formal education we don’t get in school, but it should be on every curriculum. If we took care to make this happen, we would have a highly empowered, highly creative and fulfilled, peaceful society.

Become a channel for peace.

The great prayer often attributed to the gentle St Francis begins, “Make me a channel of your peace.” Let’s take responsibility for creating a peaceful world for our children. Now, more than ever before, we NEED to hold that peace inside for ourselves and our world. This is for all of us, not just for saints! What a difference this would make!

The great Master Jesus said “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” This is not a temporal peace which comes and goes, this is the deepest expression of being that a human being can become aware of. When we anchor our awareness in our essential nature, our divine essence, the more we become a beacon for others. Finally, here is a beautiful practice to hold in your consciousness, a gift we can cultivate for all our future generations of children:

“Peace with everything and everything with peace. Please.”

-Lama Gangchen Rinpoche.

[1] Making Peace With the Environment 1, TYS Lama Gangchen Rinpoche, (Lama Gangchen Peace Publications: 1996).

[2] NgalSo For Newcomers: An Introductory Guide to Lama Gangchen’s Tantric Self-Healing Practice, Rosemary Allix, (Createspace Independent Publ. Platform 2012); Ngalso Self-healing Tantra II MP3 Download (United Peace Voices).

© 2000, 2022 Swami Prakashananda Saraswati

Sw. Prakashananda is a co-Dharma Heir of Sacred Feet Yoga and a lineage holder of the great Indian Saint, Bhagavan Nityananda of Ganeshpuri. She is a well-loved Shaktipat Teacher living in the UK. Website:

Richness & Fullness of Yoga

What Needs to be Remembered

A long time ago in the history of humanity, but in less than a blink of God’s eye, was the Vedic age. Life was simple, unafraid, unabashed. Fields were endless, forests lush, and the air and water were clear and fresh. It is said that spirituality blazed in hearts like the sun itself. There was little anxiety. Just simple, uncomplicated living. Some say it was akin to living in an Eden.

I look out the window of the jetliner I’m in today. Lights greet me below as we rise effortlessly into the sky. Faces, contorted by stress, stare straight ahead, trying to focus on something, anything, but now. Magazines, phones, and laptop computers open as myriad films play on the backs of endless seats. Even here, where movement is limited, we must be active. We’re running full speed at 30,000 feet, with no place to go.

Nobody looks happy. Why is this, when there is seemingly so much to be happy about? Fast travel, entertainment galore, the ability to communicate with just about anyone, anywhere, and so much more.

Perhaps it is because society expects much from us. Our value is oft judged by our employment, our looks, our acquisitions, and our money, leading to the pains that arise from the endless race for significance and even survival.

An acquaintance mentioned to me once, “you know, we spend all our lives racing to earn money at the expense of our health, and when our health is gone, we spend all our money trying to reclaim it.”

Can we ultimately be happy living in such a way?

To reclaim a peaceful life, we must remember one essential thing

We go about everyday breathing, talking, eating, having some fun, crying some tears, perhaps even making some trouble. But who is breathing? Who is making the trouble?


The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

There was once a boy who loved God. He was very poor, and was thus forced to work tending cows for a very rich man. Every morning, he would fetch milk for his master. It had to be fresh, and presented in a beautiful cup of silver and jewels.

“Why the need for such fancy milk,” the child would wonder day and night. In his simple existence, he didn’t have much else to wonder about.

One day, after a regular milk run, the boy decided to peek in on his master. The man was chanting prayers, and pouring the liquid onto a beautiful shining stone.

“What is that stone?” The little boy asked his master later on. “It is a sacred stone, given to me by my guru, my spiritual teacher,” said the man. “He taught me to bathe it with fresh milk every day as an act of worship.” The child’s eyes grew wide.

“Young boy,” the man chided, “never come near my prayer room again, for God himself is represented in this stone. You are far too impure to be near it.”

The boy was dejected over the next few weeks. “Why,” he thought to himself, “if I love God, couldn’t I worship the Divine like my master does?”

Then he remembered what his master said, “God himself is represented in this stone.”

“Well,” wondered the child, “If God himself is represented in a stone like my master’s, anything of a similar shape must also be godly.”

Skipping with joy, he set off to search for such an item. Day turned to night and then again before he found it: a fence post worn smooth by the winds and rains.

From then on, every day, the boy would worship the fence post with reverence. Every night, he would meditate before it with love. It became the center of his life, and he forgot all other chores.

The master, missing his milk, was none too pleased.

He searched high and low for the boy, before finding him at his fence post, where he was bathing it with sweet honey and fresh milk. “Outrageous!” the master shouted.

Dragging the child by the scruff, the old man fetched his axe. The boy pleaded and cried so loudly that it seemed like the skies might soon cry back in reply. But it was to no avail. The man took an angry swing at the post, hoping to fall it with one stroke.

To his horror, and the child’s amazement, the fencepost began to bleed.

“My God, what have I done?” Whispered the man. “I’ve forgotten, oh Lord. I’ve forgotten that you are omnipresent, and nothing can exist without you. Forgive me.”

With that, the man took the little boy by his hand to his prayer room, where he sat him on his altar, and lovingly poured fresh milk over his little boy head… and then over his own.

I am That.

Some years ago, I was sitting at the feet of the great spiritual master, Amma Sri Karunamayi, under a rosewood tree in South India. It was a beautiful evening in her forest ashram, and it felt as if we had slipped into ancient Vedic times.

“Remember God in the trees,” she said as the rosewood’s leaves twinkled. “Remember God in the mountains. Remember God in the cities. Remember God in the cars that


travel the roads and the passengers within. In the fleeting light of dusk and the Milky Way at night. Remember.”

From time immemorial, Rishis, the ancient sages of India, have taught the phrase, Aham Brahmasmi, meaning, “I am That.” It is a beautiful phrase to meditate upon, to remember when times turn bitter, sweet, or anything in between. When we are savaged by the angry boss, or reeling with the flu. Aham Brahmasmi. I am That. Ever Divine, ever pure.

“God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

We see ourselves as rich, poor, young, old, yet money flows in and out, youth flows in and out. None of these are permanent. What is permanent is your own true Self, your beautiful soul. What is also permanent is the Self within all others.

In the sacred Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, it is said, “the soul can never be cut to pieces by any weapon, nor burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.”

“Is it not written in your law,” said Jesus. “Ye are Gods?” (John 10:34).

In the ancient Hindu scripture, the Makunda Upanishad, it is said, “Bright but hidden, the Self dwells in the heart. Everything that moves, breathes, opens, and closes lives in the Self. He is the Source of love and may be known though love, but not through thought. His is the goal of life. Attain this goal!”

Going back to my musings on the plane: Why is it that we sorrow? Why is it that we cause others to sorrow? Why does nature fall and injustices rise? Perhaps because we have collectively forgotten the simple truth realized by a simple little boy worshipping a withered fence post. Perhaps we as a society have forgotten to recognize the sacred magnificence of all that exists. We as a people have forgotten our own true Selves.

The power is within you to realize this yet again. Pray, meditate, and serve the world as you would serve the divine. In doing so, your life will become sacred. Your life will become a blessing.

Aham Brahmasmi. Remember.

Swamini Adityananda undertook years of spiritual tapas in south India and decades of service to all humanity across the world before coming to Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh nearly a decade ago, where she was bestowed with sanyas (Hinduism’s ancient order of monasticism) by the hands of HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji. In her service to God and our beautiful world, her life has been dedicated to addressing some of the world’s most pressing environmental and social causes, having served in several African nations, India, the United States, Southeast Asia and at the United Nations, World Bank and IMF levels.

As Director of Programmes, Policy and Development of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA), she directs sweeping campaigns and programmes in support of a water-secure and pollution-free world that have impacted millions. She is also a Global Trustee of the world’s largest interfaith organization, United Religions Initiative, which has presence in 104 nations. Swamini Adityananda is furthermore the co-founder of the Pan-African Association, which has provided direct services to survivors of war, violence, displacement and torture to tens of thousands of people from over 40 nations across the world for nearly two decades. Her motto is, “if you dream it, it can be done.”


Peace Breathing

Every breath is an opportunity for peace. If only more people realized this, many things could change. The world could change.

As our most fundamental life source, breath itself connects us with great nature while simultaneously supporting the functions of every living cell in the body. Slow and deep breathing helps bring the functions of the body into harmonious balance. With better breathing comes better health.

Peace Breathing begins with the foundation of healthy breathing and integrates it with the powerful energy of thought, creating the expansive energy of deep peace and connecting us with the great harmony of the universe. We are constantly creating, storing and sending out energy based on our thoughts. A thick, heavy layer of negative energy created by human beings has accumulated throughout history up to the present. Our world is increasingly experiencing tragedy and disaster as a result.

Just as human beings have created negative energy, we can – in this very moment – create beautiful, healing energy filled with peace, harmony and love. The power of this positive energy is enormous, much greater than the power of negativity. It helps clear away old negative energy and opens us up to limitless possibilities for a bright future. The need for this strong positive energy has never been more critical.

The idea behind Peace Breathing begins with the energy and rhythm of breath, connecting it to thoughts that produce bright, positive, light-filled energy. The Peace Breathing method is both simple and profound. You can try it right now. As you breathe in, think world; as you breathe out, think peace. Continue breathing word….peace, world… peace, world… peace….

Peace Breathing is a meditative practice of quiet contemplation. When you set aside time to close your eyes and Peace Breathe, you experience stillness and wholeness as you connect with your deeper self. Peace Breathing is also a practice of moving meditation. When you Peace Breathe with your eyes open during daily activities like walking, cooking, driving or waiting, the deep energy of peace brings balance, clarity and mindfulness into the moment. When you Peace Breathe in bed

33 The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

before falling asleep, you allow deep relaxation and a sense of calm to gently flow through your mind and body. In these ways, Peace Breathing helps to alleviate stress and anxiety while building self confidence as you harmonize with the energy of peace.

Moreover, when you Peace Breathe you send the expansive energy of peace out to the world. Peace Breathing uplifts your own energy while at the same time, contributes healthy, bright and harmonious energy to all humanity, great nature and all living things. When enough people generate this type of energy on a regular basis, peace will become more natural to us. In time, peace and harmony will flourish in families, communities, societies and finally, throughout our precious planet.

Peace Breathing was developed by the founder of The Peace School, Grand Master MyungSu YuSung Kim. A master of meditation, yoga and traditional martial art from a young age, Grand Master Kim couldn’t rest until he found a form of meditation that people from all walks of life could easily practice in today’s world. After spending decades researching science, anatomy, spirituality and various methods of meditation, and seeking inwardly through many hours of disciplined meditation each day, the simple practice of Peace Breathing came to him. To this day, Peace Breathing is integrated into The Peace School’s practices of yoga and traditional martial art, and is shared in stress management workshops for businesses and schools. The Peace School also offers an online course in Peace Breathing Meditation.

Engaging stories that illustrate the benefits of Peace Breathing are found in the book, Peace Breathing: Lessons on Achieving Peace in Everyday Life. The book was written by Grand Master Kim’s son, Master Charles Kim, who has served as president of The Peace School since his father’s passing in 1999. Growing up in a family of meditators, teaching and running The Peace School and having a demanding IT career for over 30 years have given Master Kim a unique perspective and great insight into peace for the modern world. His inspiring stories give examples from nature and everyday life that are, like Peace Breathing, easy to understand and put into practice.

Young or old, whatever culture or circumstance, we are all breathing. Let’s Peace Breathe for our own peace of mind and for the peace of our world. We can do it anywhere, anytime. Inhale world, exhale peace. So simple. So impactful for ourselves and for the planet.

Jennifer Kim is an instructor at The Peace School with classes including Peace Breathing Meditation, Peace Yoga, Self-Defense for Women Classes; Senior, School, Community and Corporate Programs; Peace Day.

One Second of True Collective Peace Defeats a Million Conflicts

I dedicate these teachings to the children who are dying all over the world as a result of war and conflict. That they be attracted to the Supreme Light, despite of the atrocities they witnessed as they were departing; that they be happy, despite the crime that took them away from our planet; and that they be healed, despite the brutality which separated them from us.

We shall not allow the world to be a violent place. If violence is the outcome, what are then its causes and conditions? Why is there so much violence? How are we contributing to violence? Who benefits from the conflicts? Is it possible to eradicate violence? We hear that violence is an integral part of human nature and, thus, that we will always experience violence in one form or another. If this is so, our spiritual transformation and evolution is in jeopardy. But, if peace is the only answer, we must begin eradicating violence in the relationship with our Self (“me and me”, and my Divinity) and with, at least, one more being (“me and you”, and sentient beings). Today, we face many forms of violence: physical, verbal, emotional, religious, political, ecological, economic… Be aware that every weapon brings a decline in our own state of being! Each life lost, because of weapons, contributes to humanity’s self-destruction. Most societies ignore the relationships between economics/business and peace (spiritual betterment). Now, we practice the economics of war, as if war were to bring outer and inner prosperity. We need to move from “war economics” to “peace economics”. Furthermore, the destruction of nature is an act of violence; violence against Divine Creation. Polluting water, earth, space and air erodes the essence of inner peace. There must be a total coherence between the quality of the environment and our aspirations for inner and world peace. Peace and respect for nature are One.

35 The Richness & Fullness of Yoga
“When two people are at war, we all are at war”

Is it possible to eliminate violence? Many say: “it is impossible to get rid of violence and, all we can do is define what level of violence becomes acceptable. Peace is seen as a utopia”. Is this your way of thinking too? How is the mindset of a person or government that commits acts of violence? How does one justify killing children and, then, going home? Is violence the outcome of an ingrained “collective seed” we are to take care of? Do you always see a profile of the violent mind, violent country, violent government, violent religion, violent science/technology? Shall we combat violence with violence? Or, shall we use non-violent means to attain peace? If the answer to this last question is a trivial “Yes”, why does it not happen?

Violence leads to more violence. War will not bring peace. Thus, super powers must “disarm”; i.e., all forms of disarmament: “outer and “inner disarmament”. Outer disarmament is about weapons (nuclear and non-nuclear). Inner disarmament is about hate, fears, insecurity, indifference, discrimination… Disarm now! The ‘logic’ of conflicts feeds their own questions (war), and our deep beliefs feed the necessary answers (peace). By believing in the Divine, we connect to our true origin, and by believing in Karma we attain our destination. To me, peace is our origin and destination.

We did not parachute on this Planet Earth. We all came with a mission and responsibilities (our Dharma). But, peace on earth is one common responsibility for all. No Dharma is void of peace. Peace is the primordial foundation of all expressions of Dharma. Peace is inseparable from the Self, enhancing our abilities to self-realize ‘life’ on this planet. The self-realization of “calmness” will define the ‘quality’ of our awareness, mindfulness, concentration and wisdom within our ‘inner ecology’. To attain “collective calmness”, we must practice the spirituality of total interdependence: among human beings (peace in our hearts), nature (peace with nature), and all expressions of Dharma (peace with ALL). War represents a failure of our collective interdependence, calling for greater attention to peaceful behavior, peaceful intent, and peaceful co-existence.

Peace is not a ‘thing’ but a State of Being. We must reclaim our “inner peace” and, only by so doing, humanity will attain collective peace. We must become self-realized in “the art of peace” through collective human transformation and healing. It is through self- and collective healing that world peace will surge. And, the most important instruments of self-healing are ‘the power of silence’ and ‘healing nature’. This is not only a personal thing; we need peaceful governments, governance, businesses, citizenry… Let us embrace A Right Vision to establish our collective destiny, which will unfold from a new consciousness. Today, wars must be addressed collectively; no single country can bring peace. Peace is a collective endeavor and a fundamental act of mutuality to bring dignity to life.

Let us surrender to our inner peace. Peace is not an emotional state, but a natural state of human and nature’s reality. When we do not self-realize peace, we destroy the very core of our own existence. Because, “the inner is like the outer and the outer is like the inner”, world peace demands inner peace. Peace in our material world is the mirror image of peace in our souls. Global warming is the mirror image of our inner warming, and success in addressing the outer warming demands addressing our inner warming. Be aware: do not kill mistreat or eat animals. They possess the keys to open the gate to higher and higher levels of human enlightenment and inner peace. Our genetic codes are interdependent. Similarly, every tree has the divine intelligence we aspire for. Saving indigenous trees is guarding a library of spiritual messages and road signs for our individual and collective transformation. Our road to peace is one.

Peace is only born out of peace. Christ’s, Buddha’s, Mohamed’s, Moses’, Lord Krishna’s… messages are universal. What actually makes their messages ‘universal’ is their advocacy of “peace in all and all in peace”. They taught us that inner peace is the most powerful form of healing. Also, that collective consciousness rises, all of us will have access to peace. Thus, collective peace will come when we attain the full power of silence, and when we heal our planet. Heal, heal, and heal! If you want to be happy tomorrow, saturate your inner self with peace and happiness today. Peace is our duty now. Happiness is only born out of happiness. Only embracing a paradigm of peace, we will attain peace. Using the paradigm of war (arm those in conflict), you will always be at war. The primordial sounds of peace are ingrained within the alphabet of human transformation. This alphabet is scattered and lost, as external noises keep primordial sounds away from our inner existence. Eradicate individualistic materialism and war-making!


Attaining world peace is not linear. Human transformation is not linear. Thus, be prepared to become peace in the next few seconds. The next stage of your evolution has already arrived with peace written all over it; it is only waiting for your acknowledgment. Use your energies to turn-on the light of peace. A powerful universal road towards peace is compassion: to become the other without losing your own identity and commit to the construction of a compassionate society. Compassion and peace go hand in hand. Also, a world without forgiveness is like an empty glass of water. The soul who has no power to forgive is a galaxy without motions. Have the courage to forgive yourself and you will bloom. Have the wisdom to forgive others and you will be the true expression of peace.

World peace demands the right effort. Peace will surge just out of goodwill. If your efforts to attain peace are half of what is needed, you will attain half of peace, or no peace at all. The effort of the archer is embedded in the speed and trajectory of the arrow (peace)! Let us practice peace meditation. This applies to yoga, contemplation and prayer. Peace meditation in ‘full awareness’ will enable you to vibrate in a way you will enter into a state of “collective peace”. The final outcome: sit on the thrown wisdom.

You must surrender to peace. The self-realization of surrendering is a stepping stone towards the fulfillment of ‘yoga’ and ‘karma’, on the path towards divine enlightenment. Do not let your ego be on the way to world peace. We must be at the service of peace. Those who do not serve peace will be stuck in the mud of illusions and false forms of prosperity. The waves of peace must carry all boats; the big and little ones. Because of today’s unsettled states of violence, we will experience violence after death. You may leave your body behind, but you will carry violence within. It could manifest in your next reincarnation, or be born in a lower realm as a result. Be aware of this reality!

The first thing I will tell the violent person is “I love you”, “why don’t you love me?”, “How am I negatively affecting your life?”, “May I do something to improve your life?”, “Do you live in a violent environment?”, and “How can I help you to change it to a peaceful environment?” I believe in humanity. I have experienced the beauty of human beings. Reach out to the other and the other will embrace you.

When you wake up tomorrow, you must make a choice. Please choose to be in peace and heal yourself from any thoughts of conflict and war. Make a conscious choice, leading to your supreme existence. Even if you have one seed of inner peace, cultivate it now. If you think you do not have the seed of peace, prepare your inner soil daily. I can assure you that the seed of peace is there!

Peace is the beginning and the end. You are peace, I am peace, and we are peace. Reach inner peace and you will be all you can be. Be at the service of peace and you will become peace.

Dzambling Cho Tab Khen (Alfredo Sfeir-Younis, PH.D.) is a Chilean economist, with a PhD in natural resources economics (U. of Wisconsin, USA) and spiritual leader who understand that spirituality must be in the public domain: sustainable development, human rights, politics, economics, and citizenship. He devotes his life to the healing of our planet for world peace. Former Director and Special Representative of the World Bank to the UN (1996-2003). Candidate to the Presidency of Chile in 2013 and UN representative for the Lama Ganchen World Peace Foundation


Resetting Your Mind for Higher Consciousness

There has never been a better time to reach a state of higher consciousness than now. On the surface this seems like a paradox. Modern secular society is far removed from the pursuit of higher consciousness, whether we call it nearness to God, enlightenment, awakening, or living a saintly life. This has the effect of placing it out of reach of our ordinary life experience.

Putting higher consciousness back into everyday life can happen in our own times, because what is involved is a process that anyone can undertake. The most basic way to define this is as a reset of the mind, and there is abundant evidence about how resetting the mind works—it has similarities to undertaking any project that focuses the mind in a new direction, such as training for a marathon or adopting an anti-aging program, while at the same time there are significant differences.

To begin with, the process requires conscious choices and attitudes, which applies equally to mental health, psychological well-being, and the development of higher consciousness. We can learn to reset our minds to free ourselves from bad habits, emotional toxins, addictions, and blockages that limit our mental acuity, inner peace and lasting happiness.

The obstacles to higher consciousness are mind-made. Fortunately, we can adopt routine measures to empty our minds of their residues of conditioned thinking, obsessions, compulsions, and prejudices. This will help stimulate new creativity, original thinking, a sharper memory, and deeper self-awareness.

First, we must be aware of the forces working against mental well-being. Today our minds are overstimulated, overworked, and easily disturbed in a media-dominated era of constant digital and electronic engagement, along with the habit of persistent worry and concerns about increasing social and world problems. Our minds are subject to stress throughout the day and night. We have little free time to slow down and settle our thoughts and emotions.

Getting out of this cycle of entropy doesn’t happen merely by thinking. It is the thinking mind that traps us in the unconscious forces just listed. Mental clutter and the baggage of memory weigh the mind down, restricting its subtle awareness and getting us caught in outer influences. Trying to cope, going into denial, or distracting yourself doesn’t work, either. You need to notice what is happening “in here,” because noticing is basic to creating change. Conditioned mental reactions prevent us from seeing things directly, while the shadows of memory obscure our inner vision.

We see what we expect to see; we experience things that reinforce our old experiences; we think along lines of settled and fixed beliefs. The result is that we adopt repetitive patterns, missing what life teaches us in our daily situations, relationships, actions, and expressions. If you face this directly, you will realize that your thinking mind doesn’t know how to free your awareness for a new creative way of living. All of this comes under the category of noticing and recognizing.

by Deepak Chopra, MD & Dr. David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri)

The next step is to engage in a process for restoring the mind to optimal levels of functioning. Here the resetting begins, not just mystically but in experiential ways that are well studied and verified.

Steps to Reset the Mind:

• Stop overloading the central nervous system with outer stimulations;

• Allow the mind to relax and learn to let the mind go;

• Catch yourself acting or speaking unconsciously and stop;

• Make room within yourself for your awareness to reach a deeper level;

• Focus on inner peace, calmness, and a quieted mind, not a reactive mind;

• Get adequate deep sleep every night;

• Take practical steps to reduce stress at physical and emotional levels;

• Align your daily activity toward higher values.

In their reflective moments most people would agree that these steps represent an improvement in well-being. But inertia and habit are powerful, and it takes conscious attention, operating every day, to fully counter them. There is no simple button we can push to turn the mind off and on again the way we can with a computer. However, there is an inner power we can develop to slow down and stop the mind from going into a default that keeps us trapped in habit, memory, and old conditioning.

This is the power of focused awareness, in which we move from being trapped in our thoughts to calmly observing our thoughts and letting them disperse on their own. This power of awareness is available to everyone. Think of a developmental stage that you consciously participated in. An obvious example is learning to read. No one learned to read by thinking about it. Instead, awareness was focused in a new direction, and by putting daily focus on reading, a new skill was attained, a skill in awareness.

Similarly, higher consciousness requires turning your awareness in a new direction and applying daily focus on it. Here the most potent means at your disposal is deep meditation. The mind requires extended periods of rest to renew itself, in which we disengage from any outer-oriented mental activity and turn the mind back to a state of rest, stillness and silence where it can naturally renew itself.

By putting you in touch with inner silence, meditation takes advantage of how the mind naturally resets itself and fills itself with a new inspiration from within. But this silent mind is not a purposeless or lazy mind. It is a receptive consciousness in which we connect ourselves to the root powers of existence. Being accomplishes what the thinking mind cannot.

To reset the mind, we must develop a conscious state of peace and rest as our default state. With the practice of meditation, the mind learns to relax into a simple state of openness and receptivity without conflict. Being in the state of simple awareness removes the veil of thought by becoming present in your inner being, witnessing life from a place of openness and observation. If we let things be what they are, this power of observation will allow us to reset our minds from the shadows of the past and find new and lasting solutions.

As witnesses we don’t become blank; we take our minds back to their ground zero, their core point of silence, centering, and stillness. As it turns out, the mind’s place of origin is also its ultimate goal. This is the underlying, boundless, self-awareness behind the outward looking thinking mind.

In the Vedic tradition great emphasis is put upon consciousness as a type of space, or Akasha. As we all know, it feels freeing to be given your own space. To renew itself, the mind requires space both within ourselves and in the world around

The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

us, experiencing ourselves as a presence or movement in space, not just as a set of mental opinions tied to a physical body. Akasha is accessible between your thoughts as a steady state where you directly perceive what it feels to be fully present here now, which is where higher consciousness develops.

Cultivating this inner silence gave rise, thousands of years ago in India, to many practical tools. One of these, the use of a mantra in meditation, has established itself in the West. So-called seed mantras serve to break down the conditioned patterns of our thoughts, and ease awareness into a settled, one-pointed state without effort. The science of mantra gets very complex, but there are useful mantras anyone can silently repeat in meditation such as Om, Hreem, and So Hum.

Another tool involves controlled breathing, known as Pranayama. The key word here is Prana, which refers to the flow of vital energy at a subtle level. Pranayama has yet to enter Western acceptance and familiarity the way mantras have, but advances are constantly being made, the chief of which focuses on the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is one of the ten cranial nerves that branch out from the brain to the rest of the body, and stimulating it with controlled, relaxed breathing has been proven to have a regulating effect on breathing, heart rate, and stress reduction.

What we want to leave you with aren’t a wealth of details and choices. Online you can find abundant information about meditating, using a mantra, and Pranayama or vagal breathing. The essence of this article is about resetting your mind for higher consciousness by making the process the core of your personal vision. Such a vision is what makes anyone’s life full of purpose and meaning. In this case envision the highest possibilities that are open to you and everyone. Nothing more beneficial need be imagined or aspired to.

Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, is the founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a whole health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. He is the author of over 90 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.”

Dr. David Frawley (Acharya Vamadeva Shastri) is a Vedic teacher and educator who is the author of over fifty books in several Vedic and Yogic fields published worldwide over the past forty years. He is the founder and director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies, which offers on-line courses and publications on Ayurveda, Yoga, Vedanta, mantra and meditation. He is involved in important research into ancient Vedic Sanskrit texts and is a well-known modern exponent of Hinduism and Sanatana Dharma. He has a rare D. Litt in Yoga and Ayurveda and is a recipient of the prestigious Padma Bhushan award, India’s third highest civilian award for “distinguished service of a high order.” His work is highly respected in traditional circles in India, as well as influential in the West, where he is involved with many Vedic and Yogic schools, ashrams and associations. He is one of the main global exponents of Ayurveda for both physical and psychological wellbeing.


The Importance of Mental WellBeing

Compiled from the Teachings of Gurudev Swami Chidananda of Sivananda Ashram

41 The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

The science and art of living life as per Yoga is all about adapting oneself to a phenomenal flux of changing situations, unexpected events & occurrences, challenges & obstacles, conflicting views and, above all, in our continuous efforts to adjust ourselves to other persons. It is this human factor that is really challenging. It is the most vexing of all the other aspects of life that go to make our outer living in this earth plane.

Within the four walls of a domestic setup in one house, one family, there is always a special situation of human relationship and inter-personal relationship between members of this domestic setup. And this gives rise to so many tensions, states of pressure, inner vexations, frustrations, outer confrontations. Sometimes such complications become a source of various states of ill health and much diseased condition of both body and mind.

Nevertheless, we cannot do without the body and the mind. The body is our dwelling place and an instrument of action. The mind propels and directs us in what way to act and do things—aptly the inner director. It is in this context that we must clearly perceive and recognize that these two are the sole instruments at the disposal of each human individual to live one’s life and to act and achieve. Whatever needs to be done has to be done through the body and the mind. They are the only endowments which have been given to us to live life, to make the maximum out of life, to attain through life.

So common sense makes it clear that whatever a human individual has as an endowment, an instrument, a tool, which makes one a “human being”, must be kept healthy. If it is not kept in a healthy condition, its performance will be degraded. It is the physical body that we share in common with all other living beings, but what makes us unique as a human being, is our thinking, feeling, reasoning faculty—the mind.

Now it is perfectly plain, to keep one’s unique faculty—the mind in a fit condition so that it is utilized always to achieve best results. It is, therefore, a top priority that every human being has to engage in with intelligence, common sense and understanding and with all these acumens one can bring upon to bear an important task which is central to life well lived—successfully lived.

How many of us are giving attention to this as a top priority process? How many of us recognize that such attention is imperative and is most important to life that we have to attend to our mind. We have to do everything that we can wisely, to see that it is always in a perfectly fit state. Furthermore, it is not only a top priority which is to be attended to. IT IS CENTRAL TO LIVING OF A LIFE.

Someone has said--as a man thinketh so he becometh. Mind is pivotal. This famous adage in the Sanskrit language it is said, mind alone is the cause of man’s bondage or liberation: Manameva manushyanam karanam bandha mokshayoh.

This being so, we all should realize to keep the mind always in a positive state, always in a state of active optimism, always full of enthusiasm, full of positivity, full of confidence, full of cheerful disposition which is indispensable for living life with keenness and zest. Only if you are interested in what you are doing, then the performance and the end result becomes very, very successful. And you thrive upon it (don’t drag through it, half-heartedly or half-believing it).

There is an interesting story:

It was once announced that the devil was going out of business and would offer all his tools for sale to whosoever would pay his price. The devil always does business at night in the darkness of the inner psyche. On the night of the sale, they were all attractively displayed and a bad looking lot they were. Malice, hatred, envy, jealousy, sensuality and deceit and all the other implements of evil were spread out, each marked with a price. And something exceptional apart from all the rest, there lay a harmless looking wedge-shaped tool, much worn and priced higher than any of the others.

Someone asked the devil what it was. Discouragement was the reply. Why is it priced so high? Because, replied the devil, it is more useful to me than the rest. I can pry open and get inside a man’s consciousness with that which I cannot with any of the other instruments. Once inside I can use him in whatever way suits me best. It is so much worn because I use it with everybody as very few


people know it belongs to me. So, they allow themselves to entertain it, they allow themselves to give a place in them. If they knew, it doesn’t belong to god’s side, it is devil’s, they will think not twice but ten times before allowing it to be entertained inside.

It hardly needs to be added that the devil’s price for discouragement was so high that it was never sold. He still owns it and is still using it. It is one thing that prevented him from going totally out of business.

This story seems to be so simple but is so true. And, mind is the only thing we have. If we don’t keep it fit, full of courage, full of self-confidence, full of positivity, we all are aware of what the result is going to be.

Positivity, optimism, enthusiasm, interest all are the ingredients in the mind that becomes best asset to your subjective-objective life. You have to make it an asset not a liability. You have to make it an instrument for overcoming all obstacles not an obstacle in itself. You have to make it an instrument that provides solution to all your problems and not become a problem in itself.

If that which is to be provider of all solutions become itself the problem, then, where are you? And all these things don’t come by themselves—they come through intelligence-culture, self-culture, culture of the inner man, culture of the psyche. This is important not only for your secular life but also for your spiritual life and not only for your own personal life but also for your social life--All Aspects of Life. Therefore, it needs your positive and active attention.

May the divine grace and the benedictions of the supreme grant us success in our efforts to make ourselves ideal human individuals and also success in our constant struggle and effort to adjust, adapt and accommodate.

Swami Yatidharmananda Saraswati was born in north India and received Sannyasa Diksha by Swami Chidananda Saraswati ji of Divine Life Society- Rishikesh India (Shivanada Ashram). He was personal assistant to Swami Chidanandaji. He is the General Secretary of the Swami Sivanand Seva Samiti, a charitable trust which is nestled among the picturesque mountains of the Himalayas aside the banks of the Ganga, in the beautiful Uttarkashi region of India. He has participated in the IDY Committee at the UN World Yoga Day Celebrations in New York. For more information, please visit:

The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

YOGA - the Spine of Life

These motivational words of wisdom are by B.K. S. Iyengar who was an Indian yoga teacher, author and founder of the style of yoga as exercise known as “Iyengar Yoga”. He is considered one of the foremost yoga gurus in the world. Recognizing the universal appeal of YOGA, on 11 December 2014, the United Nations proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga.

The first International Day of Yoga was observed around the world on 21 June 2015. The inaugural day was marked with an outdoor event at UN Headquarters in New York attended by the then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the then Indian Minister for external affairs Sushma Swaraj and many celebrities and dignitaries from India and around the World. I was invited to join in this historic, grand event where all the attendees took part in performing some basic Yoga asanas and got a practical feel of the spiritual, mental and physical benefits of it.

Yoga is meant to keep the mind and body in alignment. The wear and tear and time takes its toll on us as we age. The term ‘ageing gracefully’ really means keeping ourselves agile and spirited in looks and spirit on the outside and inside. Internal maintenance comes with deep breathing, meditation and performing certain basic asanas. Slowly, yoga becomes an integral part of us and a Way of Life. Its manifold benefits can only be felt if practiced daily, dutifully with diligence and discipline.

For me, personally, it has been a boon and a blessing in many ways. Yoga has seen me surface and survive successfully from many medical and emotional traumas. One such life changing incident occurred in the year 1991. I was one of the top News Anchors on National Television of India at that time.

13th July 1991. We were driving by road to Mumbai from Shirdi, a city in Maharashtra, India. It was a cloudy afternoon and the rain-soaked narrow dirt road only contributed to reining in the speed of the car. The kids were taking a nap in the rear seat. I sat in front of the co-driver’s seat. Suddenly, from a distance, I could see a white small car hurtling towards us at high speed and I shouted “ be careful” ! The driver pulled up to the left even further and almost stopped, but, before we knew what was happening, that car came crashing into ours, breaking the wind screen and all the shards were in my face.

“Yoga is a light, which once lit will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter your flame.”
– B.K.S Iyengar

Tiny pieces of glass were all over my face and it was bleeding profusely. My face was totally battered, bruised and bashed! After much persuasion a good Samaritan gave us all a lift to Bombay hospital where, luckily, I received the expert care of a good plastic surgeon. My looks had changed completely. Thankfully, no bones were broken and my facial structure was not damaged.

Being a die-hard optimist, I went back to face the Camera and read the news. Since the numerous micro-surgery stitches on my face were still not fully healed, I covered it with micropore tape and put on heavier base make-up over it. The makeup man was full of awe and admiration at my ‘guts’. My colleagues empathized with me but not one of them ever felt sorry which is what I truly appreciated. In fact, I think some of them secretly admired my spirit.

I was back to reading the News again on National Television and the fan mail that often came pouring in, began enquiring if something had happened ? News reports and magazines featured bits and pieces of that fateful day, and, soon it became clear to all that I had surfaced and survived successfully from a rather major accident. I received a compliment from one of my most ardent detractors that my News delivery had become more polished and captivating. Since I knew I had a ‘flaw’ on my face, I put in greater effort in my presentations and bettered my performance.

Yoga gives us the inner strength to ‘just go on’ and have an optimistic attitude towards life. Especially in today’s tumultuous times when the world is going through pandemic, war and strife with pain and poverty around us, the world of yoga provides a shelter for our inner selves to keep the balance of mind and body. Yoga is a haven of peace and tranquility within ourselves that ultimately radiates its aura all around us.

Just a few minutes every day can make a huge difference to our body and mind. Do deep breathing slowly and the ‘anulom vilom’ asana (breathing in through one nostril and breathing out through the other) on day one for 5 minutes. On day two, do some simple stretches and side bends. On day three, lie on a mat and do some basic leg bends and twists to keep the spine supple. Schedule your day and manage your time with yoga and you will reap the benefits all Life long! Yoga is your partner for Life!

Sheila Chaman was the MC for the inaugural event representing India at the 8th World Hindi Conference at UN NY Headquarters in July 2007 where all Hindi speaking countries were representing their government. The then Minister for Foreign Affairs, India, Mr. Anand Sharma attended and the then SG Mr. Ban Ki Moon addressed the august gathering and reminisced about his India connections. Ms Chaman was a premiere national TV News Anchor in India and Talk Show Host. She is a Media personality, Author & Columnist, Former “Miss Young India”, Communication skills expert, MC for International Stage Events, Documentary Producer, Social activist & motivational speaker, Environmentalist and yoga teacher. She participated as a Speaker in the 2022 World Yoga Day Celebration at the Tillman Chapel for the Church Center for United Nations.

The Richness & Fullness of Yoga


En el largo trayecto de la historia del Yoga Deportivo hemos recorrido un camino que ha pasado y toma como punto de partido Método del Raja Yoga (Yoga de la mente) ya que es necesario el trabajo mental para la construcción de yoga-asanas Tradicional cuanto si más para lo que se relaciona con Yoga Artística, Rítmica o Parejas.

Este origen del Raja Yoga y su relación con las Yogasanas deportivas se remonta a miles de años atrás, entrena la mente a fin de aumentar la concentración y la introspección mejorando las técnicas de respiración para que la ejecución de un asana sea acertada y correcta.

Respetando los ocho pasos del Raja Yoga alcanzamos la meta final, (Yamas–Niyamas-asana-pranayama-prathiahara.Dharana-Dyana y Samadhi) el camino nos conduce en la búsqueda de perfección, paz, interior, alegría, el respeto por nuestros Guías y por sí mismo, que todo Yogui persigue en la búsqueda constante del encuentro interior, allí donde se asienta un estado de paz y plenitud que nos permite transitar esta vida en completo estado de calma y armonía interior. Estado de “Jivatan”.

Luego enfoca su trayecto a través de las prácticas del Ashtanga Yoga Vinyasa, este método además de mantener los ocho pasos del Raja Yoga durante su práctica entrena intensamente el cuerpo físico, la flexibilidad, los estiramientos, la fuerza, el equilibrio, la focalización, la concentración, flexibilidad en la fuerza y fuerza en la flexibilidad. Este equilibrio de las distintas partes de cuerpo físico y mental no seria posible sin un entrenamiento previo de técnicas de respiración y meditación a fin de integrar la mente a el trabajo del cuerpo físico. La

práctica regular del Ashtanga Vigñasa Yoga nos ha permitido avanzar en el entrenamiento durante las clases de Yoga Deportivo.

Luego y continuando con la línea del tiempo atraviesa los conocimientos que nos otorga otro Método fundamental que enfocaría aún más su perspectiva al trabajo del cuerpo físico: Hatha Yoga. Las asanas serían mantenidas durante un minuto, ya sea en posturas de fuerza, equilibrio, relajación, flexibilidad, para lo cual será necesario también todas las bases que nos otorga la práctica del Raja Yoga y del Ashtanga Vinjasa Yoga. Estos tres métodos mencionados integran las áreas que cada uno de ellos trabaja para la llegada de las Yogasanas deportivas.

¿Por qué se denominaría a partir de esta práctica “Deportivo”?, ingresa a la categoría de competencia, esta competencia debe ser en primera instancia con uno mismo para buscar la superación, el manejo de las emociones, la frustración, la rápida aceptación en presente real.

El Yogui debe concentrarse no solo en la ejecución del asana sino en la exposición de la mirada de los otros y su posterior evaluación, preparado para superarse en todo momento sin importar el resultado exitoso o no.

Estos “otros” serán los entrenadores, los jueces durante una competencia, los árbitros generales y el contexto social donde corresponda ejecutar su presentación.

Así entonces el “Yoga Deportivo” alcanzaría diferente líneas de práctica, Tradicional, Artística, Rítmica y Parejas.

by Acharini Mirta Bardo, Swamini Shaktidevananda Saraswati

Richness & Fullness of Yoga

En la línea Tradicional el desarrollo de la creatividad en la ejecución de asanas se basará fundamentalmente en la capacidad de movilidad articular y estiramiento muscular que cada practicante puede tener, deberá ser mantenida según las reglas del juego planteadas en el reglamento que se aplique. Dentro de las distintas culturas, costumbres, hábitos de vida y alimentación, encontraremos diferencia entre los diferentes biotipos de estructura corporal que responderá de diversas maneras. No olvidemos nunca que cada ser es único e irrepetible y debe moverse socialmente integrado y manejando sus posibilidades y capacidades sino también sus limitaciones.

La aparición de la línea Artística incorpora el Arte, la música, la vestimenta adecuada, el maquillaje, la prolijidad en la presentación, comenzando desde la manera de peinarse hasta la delicadeza del cuidado de posturas de pies manos, el uso de mudras, teniendo en cuenta que el cuerpo integrado involucra desde las puntas de los pies, las puntas de los dedos de las manos, la expresión del rostro. Esta modalidad respeta la ejecución de una serie de asanas que deberá durar el tiempo estipulado según el reglamento aplicado. En general suelen ser de 8 a 12 asanas. El arte en su mayor expresión se muestra en los pasajes y enganches que permitirán un fluído desarrollo entre una postura y la otra, coordinando el movimiento con el rítmo de la música seleccionada por cada practicante.

El entrenador de Yogasanas deportivas es quien cuida en sus Yoguinis estos detalles incorporando los conceptos que la biomecánica y la anatomía nos aportan como ciencias del conocimiento.

El desarrollo de las series denominadas Rítmicas básicamente se definen desde la sincronía entre dos practicantes que deberán ejecutar el mismo asana al mismo tiempo, mismo ángulo de apertura articular, movilidad articular, velocidad, estética y creatividad. En esta línea también se tomará en cuenta para su juzgamiento la presentación prolija de ambos competidores.

Por último, en las series de pares o parejas ambos competidores deben ejecutar distintas asanas al mismo tiempo, también se evalúa la prolijidad, la creatividad, la asertividad y el arte de construir una obra de arte en movimiento.

Como hemos visto y a grandes rasgos el Yogasanas deportivas han recorrido un largo trayecto de historia hasta llegar a la actualidad donde su práctica se hace necesaria ya que contribuye a la formación de seres pacíficos, lo que redundaría en la estructuración a largo plazo de estratos sociales pacíficos, prevalecerá el respeto por las capacidades y limitaciones del “otro” como persona humana, la naturaleza misma y el respeto y amor por uno mismo.

Unidad a través de la práctica del yoga deportivo en la diversidad cultural, conociendo y reconociendo las diferencias que se hará un solo movimiento en búsqueda de la paz. Una gran maquinaria mundial que nunca cesa de moverse hacia el camino trazado.

Esperamos contribuir con este artículo a poner luz sobre la necesidad de que este Deporte sea reconocido como tal, manteniendo las enseñanzas del Yoga, incorporando todas las técnicas que nos aporta esta disciplina y la alimentación ayurveda para una vida saludable, estable y en paz.



In the history of Yogasanans Sports, we have traveled a long journey over a path that takes as its starting point the Raja Yoga Method (Yoga of the Mind). Mental work is necessary for the construction of Traditional Yoga Asanas and even more is required for when engaging in the various categories including: Artistic, Rhythmic or Couples Yoga.

This origin of Raja Yoga and its relationship with Yogasanas Sports goes back thousands of years. It trains the mind to increase concentration and introspection by improving breathing techniques so that the execution of an asana is successful and correct.

Respecting the eight steps of Raja Yoga (Yamas-Niyamas-Asana-Pranayama-Prathiahara-Dharana-Dyana and Samadhi), we may reach the final goal. The path leads us in the search for perfection, peace, interiority, joy, respect for our guides. Every Yogi pursues in the path, this constant search for the inner encounter, where a state of peace and fullness settles that allows one to go through this life in a complete state of calm and inner harmony.

Then, one focuses on the journey through the practices of Ashtanga Yoga Vinjasa in addition to maintaining the eight steps of Raja Yoga. During its practice, it intensely trains the physical body in ways of flexibility, stretching, strength, balance, focus, concentration, flexibility in strength and strength in flexibility. This balance of the different parts of the physical and mental body would not be possible without prior training in breathing and meditation techniques to integrate the mind into the work of the physical body.

The regular practice of Ashtanga Vinjasa Yoga allows advancement in training during Sports Yoga classes. Then, and continuing with the timeline, one may realize that another fundamental Method gives us that which would further focus one’s perspective on the work of the physical body: Hatha Yoga. The asanas would be maintained for one minute, in postures of strength, balance, relaxation, and/or flexibility. Naturally, it will also be necessary to incorporate all that the practice which Raja Yoga and Ashtanga Vinjasa Yoga provide. These three mentioned methods integrate many areas and merge together for the accomplishment of Yogasanas Sports.

Why would it be called “Sports” from this practice? Certainly, it enters the category of competition. However, this competition should, in the first instance, be with oneself to seek improvement, management of emotions, frustration, rapid acceptance in the actual present moment. The Yogi must concentrate not only on the execution of the asana but also on the exposure of the gaze of ‘others’ and of the subsequent evaluation--all the while, being prepared to improve at all times regardless of a successful result or not. These “others” will be the coaches, the judges during a competition, the general referees, and the social context where it corresponds to execute their presentation.


Yogasanas Sports or as some people say “Sports Yoga” may be described by different types of practice such as: Traditional, Artistic, Rhythmic and Couples.

In the Traditional category, the development of creativity in the execution of asanas will be based fundamentally on the capacity for joint mobility and muscle stretching that each practitioner may have. It must be maintained according to the rules set out in the regulations that apply.

While respecting different cultures, customs, life and eating habits, we will find differences between the different biotypes of body structure that will respond in different ways. Let us always remember that each being is unique and unrepeatable and must move socially integrated along with managing their possibilities and capacities, and, at the same time, also their limitations.

The appearance of the Artistic kind incorporates art, music, appropriate clothing, and makeup. Neatness in the presentation, starting from the way of combing to the delicacy of the care of the placement of the hands and feet in postures, to the use of mudras. It is essential to consider that the integrated body encompasses from the tips of the feet to the tips of the fingers of the hands to the expression of the face.

This modality respects the execution of a series of asanas that must last the stipulated time according to the applied regulation. In general, they are usually between 8 to 12 asanas. The Art, in its greatest expression, is shown in the passages and hooks that will allow a fluid development between one posture and the other, coordinating the movement with the rhythm of the music selected by each practitioner. The Yogasanas Sports trainer is the one who takes care of these details in the Yogini trainees, incorporating the concepts that biomechanics and anatomy provide as sciences of knowledge.

The development of the Rhythmic style is defined from the synchrony between two practitioners who must execute the same asana at the same time, same joint opening angle, joint mobility, speed, esthetics and creativity. In this style, the neat presentation of both competitors will also be reviewed by the judges.

Finally, in Pairs or Couples, both competitors must execute different asanas at the same time. Neatness, creativity, assertiveness and the art of building a work of art in movement are criteria that is evaluated.

Broadly speaking, Yogasanas Sports have had a long progression which has developed considerably reaching the present day. Its practice is valuable because it contributes to the formation of peaceful beings, which results in the long-term structuring of peaceful social strata. It provides for the understanding of and the compassion for oneself. It also produces respect for the capabilities and limitations of the “other” as a human person as well as nature itself. Significantly, we may find a sense of Unity through the practice of Sports Yoga in our cultural diversity, knowing and recognizing the differences that will be made in a single movement in search of peace.

We hope this article sheds light on the need for Yogasanas Sport to be recognized as such. At the same time as it exapands, we hope for it to maintain the core teachings of Yoga by incorporating all the techniques that this discipline and that Ayurvedic nutrition provide us for a healthy, stable and peaceful life.

Acharini Mirta Bardo Swamini Shaktidevananda Saraswati

WYC: CMY América del Sur-Argentina

Acharini Mirta Bardo, is an ordained Sanyasini known as “Swamini Shaktideviananda Saraswati”, a long time practitioner of yoga from Argentina. She is a Global Council Member & Director of the World Yoga Community in Argentina, Continental Director of the Global Yogasana Sports Council at the World Yoga Community in South America, and the Director of the Escuela Argentina de Yoga Integrado

The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

The Goddess is Alive and Well: Summer Solstice

2022 in Avalon

Reading The Mists of Avalon in my 20’s was such a revelation and inspiration to me; the story of King Arthur told from the Women’s perspective; what novelty! All of the history and culture I grew up with rarely featured a female narrative that was not in service to the glory and leadership of men. Avalon, however, introduced me to a sacred, sound and resonant cosmology I did not know existed.

When German system constellation practitioners Antonia Stessl and Rotger Heilmeier ( opened 2022 offering the Avalonian Healing Cycle via zoom through the Spring, and culminating in person at Glastonbury UK for the solstice, those seeds planted years ago came alive in me.

The goal of the Avalonian Healing Cycle is to guide us on our paths of spiritual transformation, through which we can come more fully into our personal sovereignty. Sovereignty in this tradition is defined as the state of loving, respecting, and knowing one’s self so well that the choices we make about who we are, and how we choose to be in the world, are informed only by our true will, and not by our fears, wounds, perceived limitations, and the expectation of others.

Arriving in Glastonbury, home of the ancient Priestesshood of Avalon, the burial place of King Arthur, the first Christian and thus Catholic church in Britain, which became the richest and most venerated monastic foundation of England by the end of the first millennial AD, the history of The Abbey is immediate, given its central location to the village. However, i was surprised to learn that The Abbey is a ruin and has been since 1539. The Church Abbot lived in enviable splendor in his own lodgings, entertaining the rich and powerful from his great hall. However, the 1530s were a period of profound religious and political upheaval in England as King Henry VIII and his Chief Minister Thomas Cromwell sought to bring down the old Catholic structures, who held more power than them, and replace them with the new pillars of Protestantism, passing The Act of Supremacy.

In doing so, they unleashed a wave of violence and destruction of epic proportions, according to Oxford Bodley Librarian Richard Ovenden. Glastonbury held out as long as possible, but eventually Abbot Richard Whiting was arrested on fabricated charges, and hung and quartered on the Tor, marking the end of the monastery.

Immediately following the Dissolution, the Abbey was stripped of its valuables and the land was awarded to the Duke of Somerset, as the still ruling Aristocracy was further entrenched.

Glastonbury has been a crucible of the evolution of Western spirituality for 2000 years, when the Romans arrived. Back then, King Arthur, son of the High Priestess of Avalon and a Roman Christian, was the great hope for unifying the two religions and Kingdom. Sadly, his light was extinguished before that could happen, as the patriarchal religions we still live with today were forcibly enthroned by Henry and Thomas.


Stepping into The Chalice Well Gardens, just a quarter mile from the Abbey ruins, the beauty and abundance of the grotto and groves, presided by majestic, towering cypress and oak trees, immediately calls one to reverence; silently, ethereally, viscerally.

Enveloped by the tender tentacles of compassion, visible in the interweaving species of flowers and ferns; held by the power and animus of the dancing tree branches; and shown by the sacred geometry of the vessicus pisces of The Chalice Well; you gnow you sit in the liminal awareness of Heaven and Earth.

You are not alone in the presence of God, but in the wholeness of God and Goddess. The Goddess is alive and well and present.

As a civilization, we find ourselves once again in the evolutionary throes of political and spiritual upheaval, as we lurch forward towards Wholeness and Unity, graduating from the Age of Knowledge, and humbly stepping into the vast Age of Wisdom.

Avalon invites and guides us into wholeness through the subterranean depths of the White Spring, the portal of the Chalice Well, the peak of the Tor, and the softness of the Chalice Hill. They are the essence and example of the unity that radical diversity and inclusivity can create; where masculine and feminine are balanced, prolific and peaceful.

A new cosmology is emerging, which i call ‘scientific spirituality’, as Western science converges with Universoul spiritual experience and understanding, after a 400 year separation. Dr. Jude Currivan is leading the way to articulate this in her books The Cosmic Hologram and The Story of Gaia.

This reunification of mind and heart, understanding, experience and embodiment, requires the inclusion and honoring of both God and Goddess.

In our constellation work at Glastonbury, we asked Gaia what she needs now; she gives us everything at every moment; from our first breath to our last, our every drop of water and blood, every meal a communion with Her. How often do we give something back to our Mother?

Our Ancestors understood and practiced intentional, conscious tributes to Gaia. From science, we now know that our intention is enough to reach and honor Her.

As we learn to release the Rage of the Ages masking the collective pain of separation, I am guided to create my own sacred garden, a new Noode on our Noosphere, as we expand our awareness and embrace The Age of The Sage. You can, too!

The Richness & Fullness of Yoga Gil Agnew is an Artivist, Futurist, Design Scientist, Founder New Innergy Empowering Conscious Evolution, Co-Founder A WholeWorld-View

The Story of Yoga Radicals Inspiring Stories from Pioneers in the Field

Growing up in family observing spiritual practices and feeling grateful for that background, it was almost a surprise when the idea came to help make the impact of practicing yoga more visible to others. It was at SYTAR 2018, the annual Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research conference hosted by the International Association of Yoga Therapists ( Invited by Matthew J. Taylor PhD, I served on the small team to design the inaugural half-day forum on Community Healing and Social Activism. In this forum, emerging yoga leaders shared personal stories of how their personal yoga practices created the stage, seeded the soil, and ultimately co-created the potential to develop innovative yoga-based programs to initiate community healing and social impact in various settings.

A design emerged that employed the path of Joseph Campbell’s hero/ heroine’s journey; each emerging yoga leader responded to a set of questions formulated to illustrate their inquiry of yoga, their experience of moving from a “me” to a “we” focus or consciousness. Awarenesses shifting from personal practices as well as collectively engaging in group practices, each shared moving stories of how, while practicing yoga regularly, they each found ways to bring their internal awarenesses to life and expand their insights to enable community healing with creative social impact projects to be born. They each glowed as they told their inspiring stories of how others might also rest and relax into the benefits of a regular yoga practice and lifestyle.

As we deepened the conversation with questions from the Presencing Institute’s Theory U systems approach to awareness-based change, PI’s prototyping model formed the perfect mudra for our investigation into embodied change-making. The group was on fire about how to unearth and move the genius of yoga-inspired creativity and embodied innovation into the evolving yoga therapy space. A scribe documented our explorations on the wall with a beautiful graphic map of our shared journey as we practiced together the core movements of the Theory U awareness-based change model: embodying the journey across time and space while sensing, presencing and crystalizing with Social Presencing practices. It felt like a co-creation was happening in real time, yet it felt timeless. I remember taking my shoes off… :)

After the conference, there was strong interest in continuing the project. A year-long refinement process resulted in IAYT-sponsored blogs and a feature magazine article. This sparked the idea for interviews with additional innovators in the emerging global yoga therapy space and

It’s an amazing time to appreciate the emerging global impact, personally and collectively, of how a sustained yoga practice seeds personal wellbeing and innovation at scale.

The Richness & Fullness of Yoga

somehow to find a way to curate those conversations into a book of stories. On what seemed like a whim, after a brief conversation, Singing Dragon Press commissioned me to write the book, Yoga Radicals: A Curated Set of Inspiring Storied from the Field, released in August 2021.

The 36 featured Yoga Radicals have played a major role in developing global yoga therapy schools and trainings, bringing the process of transformative, yoga-based practices into health care, business and not-for-profits integrating the emerging collective theatre of embodied leadership. Many others are following suit as the global pandemic has wrought such stress on our minds, bodies and spirits as we learn to navigate the stress of change in this new time on the planet.

My heart’s desire is to share these different jewels of personal and collective wisdom from the yoga tradition each of these practitioners has experienced in the hope that each story will nourish your yoga practice. Perhaps it will warm you up as well as further cultivate your interest in contributing to the growing field of yoga therapy and Social Presencing through embodied leadership practices. For the sake of our planet, we need this now more than ever.

Through the curated interviews, in these personal stories, you will find something that is simultaneously very specific and very nebulous, obvious yet hard to pin down, entirely universal yet deeply personal. You may also discover how a deep commitment to a personal embodiment practice may inspire something new to be born at a larger scale.

Just before this project, a first collection of my poems, A Wayfinder’s Wanderings, Lulu, 2020 was published. Some of these poems are included in this book. They were written after decades of meditation or while on retreat in nature. The interview process was a similarly shared embodied experience of being present with something miraculous. This mutual aesthetic of experiencing a WE space is different for everyone. It happens when we connect with something natural and spontaneously co-creative, so spacious and timeless. It feels somehow different, not on an emotional level, yet perhaps from a deep place of sensing, this space of connecting together to something deeper, something still unknown, perhaps. Each project was anchored in the deep bliss of connection to the ancient teachings and the deeply rooted wisdom now being illuminated by words emerging from so many warm-hearted places and spaces of people connecting together with spontaneous and fresh seeing, feeling and sensing. Embodying presence.

The interviews were conducted virtually between April and August 2020, as everyone on the planet was adapting to ‘corona time.’ These stories have landed now because of our shared dedication to deepening our practices, telling our stories from the heart. May these seeds of transformation invite flourishing and invoke healing and wellbeing for all. Yoga practices that each Yoga Radical spoke about helped them dream a new project into being. How might we all find inspiration from them as we continue to deepen our yoga and contemplative inquiry practices now?

The voices emerged from each continent as a beautiful collective and universal acknowledgment of the power of embodied presence through yoga.

Allie Middleton is an experienced somatic coach and creative facilitator/teacher with a local and global clientele, Allie is a writer who loves offering embodied learning experiences following the Theory U process, Social Presencing Theatre and ancient yoga and energy medicine practices. Allie has been meditating and practicing yoga for over 45 years, ever grateful for growing up in an extended family immersed in the wisdom traditions and deep ecology. Her father was a pioneering immunologist, teacher and researcher and her mother was a community activist and spiritual seeker. Inquiry and reverence about the nature of everything was a constant family conversation and she and her three brothers continue the living dialogue throughout the extended family to this day.


Ending Plastics Pollution: Adoption of the UNEA Plastics Resolution

On March 2, at tis resumed 5th Session in Nairobi, Kenya, the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) which is the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment unanimously endorsed a historic Resolution by creating an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) with a major goal of forging an international legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution by the end of 2024. The resolution addresses the full lifecycle of plastic, including its production, design and disposal.

“Today marks a triumph by planet earth over single-use plastics. This is the most significant environmental multilateral deal since the Paris accord. It is an insurance policy for this generation and future ones, so they may live with plastic and not be doomed by it.” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.

Plastic production soared from 2 million tonnes in 1950 to 348 million in 2017, becoming a global industry valued at US$522.6 billion, and it is expected to double in capacity by 2040. The impacts of plastic production and pollution on the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature loss and pollution are a catastrophe in the making:

Exposure to plastics can harm human health, potentially affecting fertility, hormonal, metabolic and neurological activity, and open burning of plastics contributes to air pollution.

By 2050 greenhouse gas emissions associated with plastic production, use and disposal would account for 15 per cent of allowed emissions, under the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C (34.7°F).


More than 800 marine and coastal species are affected by this pollution through ingestion, entanglement, and other dangers.

Some 11 million tonnes of plastic waste flow annually into oceans. This may triple by 2040.

A shift to a circular economy can reduce the volume of plastics entering oceans by over 80 per cent by 2040; reduce virgin plastic production by 55 per cent; save governments US$70 billion by 2040; reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25%; and create 700,000 additional jobs – mainly in the global south.

The INC has a broad mandate. Starting later this year, it will begin preparations to develop the objectives of the proposed instrument; the role of National Action Plans in achieving those objectives; methods for periodically assessing the instrument’s effectiveness and progress toward its objectives; arrangements for capacity building and support; and a system to address compliance.

In its deliberations, the INC will consider mandatory and voluntary approaches, the need of some countries for financial support, flexibility for national circumstances, “the best available science, traditional knowledge, knowledge of indigenous peoples and local knowledge systems,” and other relevant issues. Many people would agree that this closely resembles the INC process the UN General Assembly initiated back in 1990 to create the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which eventually led to the Paris Agreement.

Notwithstanding, the process is highly complex and requires political will from all participants. While it represents a new chapter in international environmental law and policy, its outcome will have a significant impact on the plastics industry, the business sector, our precious planet and humanity for decades to come.

Denise Scotto, Esq., is an


at law,


the UN. Starting her legal

in the public sector, she was a litigator appearing in courts in all boroughs of the City of New York. Denise held leadership roles in professional bar organizations including: the NY State Bar, the NY State Women’s Bar, the International Law section of the American Bar Association, the UIA. With these associations, she organized numerous events at UN fora as well as at national and local levels on global issues of pressing concern including conducting the first legal education program in NY City and NY State on the topic of human trafficking.

attorney policy advisor, international speaker, interfaith minister Founding Chair of the International Day Yoga Committee at career

International Day for Women in Diplomacy

On June 20, 2022, to the burst of applause, the UN General Assembly adopted a Resolution by consensus proclaiming 20 June as the International Day for Women in Diplomacy. The Resolution reaffirms that the participation of women, on equal terms with men, at all levels of decision-making is essential to the achievement of sustainable development, peace and democracy

. In her introduction of the Resolution, the Hon. Maldives Ambassador Ms. Thilmeeza Hussain said that said momentum has been building on this important issue across the globe. She then stressed that, “Women’s participation in decision making is absolutely vital”. She added that far too often, as women climb the diplomatic ranks, they are outnumbered by their male peers, including at UN Headquarters, where they represent only 1/5 of the Permanent Representatives.

HE Mr. Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th session of the UN GA, remarked, “Women working in diplomacy have made critical contributions to shaping the multilateral system we have inherited today. For example, women diplomats played an essential role in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first treaty to articulate the fundamental human rights that should be universally protected.”

He continued, “Yet, despite the evident contributions of women to diplomacy and multilateral decision-making, they continue to be underrepresented in senior diplomatic positions. And they still suffer the deep-rooted legacies of sexism, which hinder their professional advancement and obscure their contributions and achievements.”

The PGA explained how, “These facts underscore the importance of this resolution being adopted. Now we have a day

specifically devoted to celebrating women in diplomacy: who have blazed trails; negotiated peace; strengthened international relations; survived hardships and danger; and have facilitated intercultural linkages.”

HE Ambassador Keisha Aniya McGuire representing Grenada and speaking on behalf of the core group of sponsors, thanked the 85 Member States that agreed to be main sponsors and welcomed the historic support of 191 co-sponsoring Member States as a testament to the collective commitment to achieving gender parity at all levels. “We are at a seminal moment for multilateralism.”

While Sustainable Development Goal 5 calls for women’s equal participation in decision-making, Amb McGuire recounted that between 1992 and 2019, women represented 13 % of negotiators, 6 % of mediators and 6 % of signatories in peace processes worldwide. In 2020, they represented 23 % of conflict party delegations in United Nations-supported peace processes, a share that would have been lower without persistent measures by the Organization. At UN Headquarters, only 21.7 % of permanent representatives are women.

“Change is necessary,” she said while calling for the systemic mainstreaming of a gender perspective throughout the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This new Resolution opens the door to discuss the challenges women in diplomacy face and at the same time, it is a celebration of women in diplomacy which can serve to inspire the next generation. This may be a critical step toward the appointment of a woman as UN SG, something that NGOs and civil society have been advocating for already over a decade.

57 Yoga & the Work of the United Nations

UN General Assembly Declares that Access to a Clean & Healthy Environment is a Universal Human Right

At the end of July 2022, the UN GA adopted a historic resolution declaring that access to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, a universal human right. The Resolution is based on a similar one which was adopted last year by the Human Rights Council. It urges Member States, international organizations, and the business sector to scale up efforts to ensure a healthy environment for all.

The UN Secretary-General welcomed the landmark development saying that it demonstrates how Member States can join in the collective fight against the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. “The resolution will help reduce environmental injustices, close protection gaps and empower people, especially those that are in vulnerable situations, including environmental human rights defenders, children, youth, women and indigenous peoples. The international community has given universal recognition to this right and brought us closer to making it a reality for all.”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet also hailed the Resolution and echoed the SG’s call for urgent action to implement it. “Today is a historic moment, but simply affirming our right to a healthy environment is not enough. The General Assembly resolution is very clear: States must implement their international commitments and scale up their efforts to realize it. We will all suffer much worse effects from environmental crises, if we do not work together to collectively avert them now. It emphasizes the underpinning of legal obligations to act, rather than simply of discretionary policy. It is also more effective, legitimate and sustainable.”

The text, was originally presented by Costa Rica, the Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia and Switzerland last June. Now, it was co-sponsored by over 100 countries with 161 voting in favor and none against it. It notes that the right to a healthy environment is related to existing international law and affirms that its promotion requires the full implementation of multilateral environmental agreements.

It also recognizes that the impact of climate change, the unsustainable management and use of natural resources, the pollution of air, land and water, the unsound management of chemicals and waste, and the resulting loss in biodiversity interfere with the enjoyment of this right - and that environmental damage has negative implications, both direct and indirect, for the effective enjoyment of all human rights.

UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, Mr. David Boyd, recently told UN News that the Assembly’s decision will change the very nature of international human rights law. “Governments have made promises to clean up the environment and address the climate emergency for decades but having a right to a healthy environment changes people’s perspective from ‘begging’ to demanding governments to act.”

“From a foothold in the 1972 Stockholm Declaration, the right has been integrated into constitutions, national laws and regional agreements. Today’s decision elevates the right to where it belongs: universal recognition”, UN Environment chief, Inger Andersen, explained in a statement upon the Resolution’s adoption. The recognition of the right to a healthy environment by these UN bodies, although not legally binding— meaning countries don’t have a legal obligation to comply— is expected to be a catalyst for action and to empower ordinary people to hold their governments accountable.


World Yoga Day: A Silent Revolution

The idea of World Yoga Day was endorsed by Yoga Gurus for the first time in 2011 at the Yoga: A Science for World Peace Conference in Bengaluru. The Yoga Gurus who attended met with the Hon. Indian Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi Ji and presented this endorsement, requesting the proposal and adoption of a Resolution at the United Nations for World Yoga Day.

My heart was overjoyed when the proposal was, in fact, first introduced by the Hon. Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji in his address, on September 27, 2014, during the opening of the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. He stated: “Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action ... a holistic approach [that] is valuable to our health and our well-being. Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.”

Thereafter, on December 11, 2014, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Hon. Ambassador Ashok Mukherji, introduced the draft resolution in the United Nations General Assembly. The Resolution was endorsed by a record 177 member states. That same day, due to this overwhelming majority, the UN General Secretary officially declared June 21st as the International Day of Yoga. What a dream come true! All the energy, effort, time and support was finally realized! The Resolution notes “the importance of individuals and populations

Yoga & the Work of the United Nations
Rev. Guru Thankappan (Internationally known as “Guru Dileepji”)

making healthier choices and following lifestyle patterns that foster good health.” In addition, the World Health Organization also urges member states to help their citizens reduce physical inactivity, which is among the top ten leading causes of death worldwide and a key risk factor for non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes.

Worldwide events including yoga classes, yoga practice sessions, lectures and seminars were conducted in different parts of the world to honor and celebrate the first International Day of Yoga on June 21, 2015. The official recognition by the United Nations creates the opportunity for Yoga to further flourish and reach humanity as a whole, ultimately establishing peace and harmony worldwide. I am honored to be the carrier of Swami Bua Ji’s conch shell and to sound it at the start of these events, thereby, keeping his memory and the essence of all our venerated yoga masters alive. Many of my friends in the UN group have joined together as we celebrate the designated International Day of Yoga from various faith backgrounds and are continuing to build a closer community. We have strengthened this movement much more than I had originally hoped!

In 2015, Yoga Master George Veiga e Castro (currently known as “Amrta Suryananda Maha Raja”), received the “Padma Shri”, the fourth highest Indian civilian award. Since 2015, yoga masters have been receiving national awards in India. This national recognition makes me so proud of my many friends and colleagues. In 2017, the Government of India established the “Prime Minister’s Awards for Outstanding Contribution towards the Development and Promotion of Yoga”, further fortifying the global movement of yoga and paying tribute to those deserving this high honor.


In my sincere efforts to expand the awareness of the International Day of Yoga, I began taking action to bring the global to the local. As per my request, New York State Assemblyman Hon. Dr. Nader J. Sayegh and New York State Senator Hon. Kevin Thomas, filed a resolution marking “Yoga Day” at the New York State Assembly and Senate, respectively. Nine Assembly Members from New York State cosponsored the motion along with Assemblyman Hon. Nader Sayegh. This acknowledges the widespread popularity of yoga, here, in the Empire State.

Finally, on May 17, 2022, the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly adopted the resolution (Senate No. 2561 and Assembly No. 916), ultimately prompting the New York State Governor Hon. Kathleen C. Hochul to officially proclaim June 21, 2022, as “YOGA DAY” in the State of New York, United States of America! I appreciate how New York State Assemblyman Hon. Dr. Nader Sayegh and New York State Senator Hon. Kevin Thomas spent a considerable amount of time and effort in reviewing my proposal in addition to implementing this resolution, making the groundbreaking “YOGA DAY” Proclamation a reality. My many friends and colleagues, including those in the UN community, have gathered in celebration and assurance of more to come.

Rev. Guru Dileepkumar Thankappan organized the 29th Annual World Yoga Festival & the 8th International Day of Yoga Celebration, which began on June 1st and ended on June 30th, 2022. On June 24, 2022, he founded and initiated the first “World Yogasana Sports Championship” via Zoom with US Congresswomen Hon. Carolyn B. Maloney inaugurating the event. Currently, he is working with elected officials to create a bill at the US Congress & Senate for supporting all aspects of yoga in the USA. As a life-long practitioner of yoga, Guru Dileepji believes that Yoga is a universal knowledge which should be practiced by all people without any discrimination, worldwide and beyond. Thousands of yoga masters and sages gave up their lives for the promotion of yoga throughout the centuries. We should pay tribute and honor these great souls eternally.

Yoga & the Work of the United Nations

The Embrace of Good Health:

healing the sick, helping the needy, and advancing the cause of medical science.

Amrita Hospitals is set to open India’s largest private medical institution in Faridabad, Haryana in August and will include 81 specialty departments.

“The Amrita Hospital at Faridabad would be a substantial addition to the healthcare infrastructure of the country, with its patient catchment area extending all over North India and North-East India,” said Dr. Prem Nair, Group Medical Director, Amrita Hospitals.

“This humongous super-specialty healthcare facility, constructed with Mata Amritanandamayi Devi’s blessings and love, is dedicated to the people of India for healing the sick, helping the needy, and advancing the cause of medical science. The new hospital will carry forward the hallowed legacy of Amrita Hospital in Kochi, which has been a bulwark of the healthcare system in South India for over 25 years now.”

The ultra-modern Amrita Hospital Faridabad will also be one of India’s largest green-building healthcare projects and have a low carbon footprint. It is an end-to-end paperless facility, with zero waste discharge. In addition, there is a helipad on the campus for swift transport of patients and a 498-room guest house where attendants who accompany the patients can stay

The new Amrita Hospital is located in India’s National Capital Region and will house 2,400 beds when fully operational, making it the largest private sector hospital in the country. Spread across 133 acres of land in Faridabad, the multispecialty facility is set to open in August. It will be the second large-scale Amrita Hospital, with the iconic 1,300-bed institution having been established in Kochi, Kerala 25 years ago.

“This will be truly a world-class institution, the like of which the country has not seen before, both in terms of magnitude of scale as well as medical excellence,” said Dr. Sanjeev K Singh, Medical Director, Amrita Hospital Faridabad. “We are in

63 Yoga & the Work of the United Nations

the process of entering into research collaborations with some of the world’s biggest names in medical science, including hospitals and universities.”

The hospital will become operational in stages, with 500 beds opening this year. In two years, the number will rise to 750 beds and then to 1,000 in five years. When fully open, it will have a staff of 10,000 people, including 800+ doctors and a total builtup area of 1 crore sq. ft. This will include a 14-floor tower that will encompass the key medical departments and patient areas.

The institution will have 534 critical care beds, the highest number in India. There will also be 64 modular operation theaters, the most advanced imaging services, a fully-automated robotic laboratory, high-precision radiation oncology, the most updated nuclear medicine, and a state-of-the-art cardiac and interventional cath lab for clinical services.

The hospital’s 81 specialties will include eight Centers of Excellence, which are in oncology, cardiac sciences, neurosciences, gastro-sciences, renal sciences, bone diseases & trauma, transplants, and mother & childcare. Mother & childcare is especially prioritized, as this is a feature that is not financially sustainable for many private hospitals in India.

“The health of women and children comes foremost, and the hospital will have an entire floor of 150,000 sq. ft. dedicated to mother and childcare, fetal and reproductive care, and high-risk obstetrics with a 40bed unit of nursery and neonatal intensive care. The facility will boast of India’s largest pediatric superspecialty center,” said Dr. Singh.

He added that considering the country’s harrowing experience with the Covid pandemic, the hospital will have the largest facility in the country to tackle infectious diseases. It is also investing heavily in a comprehensive transplant program that will be among the biggest in India.

“The hospital will be among the very few facilities in the country to conduct hand transplants, a specialty pioneered by Amrita Hospital in Kochi. We will also do transplants of liver, kidney, trachea, vocal cords, intestine, heart, lung, pancreas, skin, bone, face, and bone marrow,” said Dr. Singh.

Cutting-edge medical research is a priority, with a dedicated research block spread across a 7-floor building and totaling 300,000 sq. ft. There will be an exclusive Grade A to D Good Management Practices (GMP) lab with a focus on identifying newer diagnostic markers, artificial intelligence, machine learning, bioinformatics, etc.

Training of medical students and doctors is another strong focus area. The hospital will have a state-of-the-art robotics, haptic, and surgical-medical simulation center. Spread across four floors and 150,000 sq. ft., it will be the biggest such learning & development facility for doctors in the country. The hospital will also host a medical college and India’s biggest allied health sciences campus.

Embracing the World is a global network of regional humanitarian organizations inspired by the India-based humanitarian initiatives of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math. Spiritual leader, humanitarian and visionary Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, known throughout the world simply as “Amma”, has served the world-community for decades, imparting wisdom, strength and inspiration. Through her extraordinary acts of love, inner strength and self-sacrifice, she has endeared herself to millions and inspired thousands to follow in her path of selfless service. She holds free public programs throughout India, Europe, the United States and Australia, as well Japan, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, Africa and South America.


The Importance of Yoga on Women’s Mental Health & Wellbeing

According to the World health Organization (WHO), “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.

The health of all peoples is fundamental to the attainment of peace and security and is dependent on the fullest co-operation of individuals and States.”

Yoga is a form of exercise which includes physical activity consisting mainly of various postures (asanas) and breathing exercises, followed by relaxation and meditation. Today, it is practiced globally. Turning to the health benefits of yoga, studies demonstrate that, overall, yoga’s gains to health and wellbeing for women are multifold.

Various stretching practices in yoga accompanied with deep breathing and meditation show strengthened muscles and an increase in the flexibility of one’s joints and spine.

The various physical and mental health benefits of yoga occur due to the regulation of the secretion of hormones (cortisol, glucose, plasma s renin, epinephrine and norepinephrine) into the bloodstream which are responsible for one’s bodily functions. The routine practice of yoga lessens the negative effects of induced stress to the immune system by positively regulating one’s body’s adjustment of immunoglobulin A.

Studies in India have shown positive impacts of yoga exercise on women who experienced Premenstrual Menstrual Syndrome which can be debilitating. The practice of yoga minimized pain and decreased the heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety associated with PMS.

According to a study by Kawanishi et al (2015), the consistent practice of yoga by healthy pregnant women, helped to reduce the intensity of labor pain, shortened the duration of delivery, lessened stress levels during pregnancy, reduced anxiety levels,

65 Yoga & the Work of the United Nations

and diminished depression. A low intensity yoga routine in high-risk pregnant women can improve cardiovascular health and decrease the risks of pregnancy induced hypertension and gestational diabetes. This is important because lowering these risks improves the health of both mother and child.

In addition, establishing a yoga practice is found to be effective in reducing the troubling symptoms of hot flashes and mood swings which millions of peri menopausal women experience. They are often incapacitated and find it challenging to go about their normal routine.

The benefits associated with consistently performed yoga can be seen throughout the life cycle of women. Research has shown that engaging in yoga practices habitually can delay the onset of the cognitive impairment which is one of the early indicators of the onset Alzheimer’s (dementia). (It should be noted that women globally are more prone to Alzheimer’s than men)

Furthermore, researchers have found that yoga is as effective as standard physical therapy for treating moderate to severe chronic low back pain in women in underserved communities.

In summing up, the key benefits of engaging in the practice of yoga for women include:

1. Improved cardiovascular health;

2. Lessened anxiety levels;

3. Lowered stress levels;

4. Reduced pregnancy induced complications of hypertension, gestational diabetes;

5. Decreased premenstrual and perimenopausal symptoms;

6. Delays in the onset of Alzheimer’s;

7. Diminished musculo skeletal pain (especially back pain);

8. Brings down anxiety and pain during breast cancer treatment.

It is fundamental that implementing consistent yoga practice into one’s daily life and into the lives of women and girls provides important benefits to physical and mental health. Going further, by having governments acknowledge the positive gains of yoga for women and girls, they contribute to creating healthier societies. At the same time, an effective strategy for achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (#3-Good Health & Wellbeing and #5-Gener Equality) could start with integrating the practice of yoga in school curricula and in daily exercise routines worldwide. This can be done in person, through online instruction or by using other forms of technology.

Padmini Murthy, MD, MPH, FRSPH, FAMWA is a Professor at New York Medical College and is the American Medical Women’s Association Global Health Lead and NGO representative to the United Nations

Soil, Food & Nutrition

by Isha Foundation

Soil is a source of life on this planet. For all land dwelling plants and animals, the primary source of nutrients is the soil. If our soil is not nutrient rich and does not have the proper amount of organic content, then the food it produces will also be lacking. Without access to nutritious food, which is the very basis of our bodies, no human can live a vital and productive life. It would seem to be common sense to preserve and protect this vital source of life, yet our soil is dying.

The UN estimates that there are only 40-60 years of harvests left, as more and more soil is becoming depleted and turning into sand. Global soil depletion is a crisis the likes of which we have never seen. Large empires like the Mayans and Romans fell because of improper agricultural practices, but it has never before been a global problem. If we do not act now, we may be unable to produce enough food to feed the world in a few decades. It is not too late to change, but we must begin now. It is imperative that we come together and save our soil.

Nutrient Depletion

The food we eat must have enough nutrients, or it will not provide what we need. These nutrients come from the soil in which the food is grown, and because of soil depletion, our food is becoming depleted.

Sadhguru says, “the soil nutrients are so low. How low is it? The soil depletion – I’m only talking about United States – the soil depletion in United States has led to a 21% drop in vitamin A in all the fruits, vegetables, and everything else that you’re eating, a 30% drop in vitamin C, a 37% drop in iron levels, and a 27% drop in calcium levels. The things that you all think are very healthy to eat, such as salads, the spinach, the lettuce, the tomatoes, and other things which you normally use in your salad, from the early 20th century, what level of nutrients they had and what they have today is only 10% left, 90% lower than what it was in early 20th century. So you’re largely eating water sacks without much nutrient in it.”

“The nutrient studies across the world are showing the nutrient depletion in the food across the world is so significant. It’s tragic that we are eating something thinking it is food that nourishes us but actually it has nothing. I’m not even going to the place of fertilizers and pesticides and herbicides; I’m not even

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going there. That is outright poisoning, alright? I’m talking about depletion of food. That itself is tragic. People are eating thinking it’ll nourish their life. It’s not doing much to them except filling them up.”

“39% of the United States citizens are deficient in vitamin C and this is very vital for the antibody production. “Okay I will take more pills, more pills, more pills,” it’s not going to work like that. The food should have it. They’re saying in 1930s, what one orange would give you, today you need to eat 8 oranges. Eating eight oranges a day is not a possibility for most human beings. One orange, what it would give you today, it takes 8. So, considering all this, soil is an unfolding disaster for everybody.”

Soil, Nutrition, and Microbial Life

A primary factor linking soil and food quality is the microbial life present in soil, which is directly dependent upon the amount of organic matter that is in the soil. Organic matter comes from animals and plants, and it is vital that we begin to get more organic matter back into the soil. If we can do this, we can save the microbial life that lives in the soil and thus save all the species that rely on this microbial life for their own lives.

Sadhguru says, “Let’s say, right now, organic matter in the soil is 1.48 %. You have an apple. What are the nutrients in this apple? Now I will raise my farm soil to 3 percent. What are the nutrients available in this? There’ll be a significant difference because of these extra micronutrients. What are the health benefits that one will get? What are the preventive health benefits one will get? This science all exists already. We just have to correlate it, so it will find its own step.”

“Every year, on an average, there is a loss of 27,000 species of microbes are going extinct per year. So, if we let this go as it is for another 25 to 40 years, after that recovery will take anywhere between 150 to 200 years. If we act now, if we change the policies now and begin to act in the next 10 to 15 years’ time, in 25 years’ time we can turn this situation around. I feel this is a fundamental responsibility that we owe to ourselves and to future generations on this planet.”

The Save Soil Movement

According to Sadhguru, the Save Soil movement is about bringing humanity together to keep the magic of soil alive. Almost every major ecological crisis is, to some degree or form, a consequence or symptom of the degradation of soil. Similarly, almost every environmental or environment-related pain point can be addressed by creating healthy soil. It is a holistic movement.


It is, in fact, a fallacy to think we can address any one aspect of our environment without addressing the whole, because no aspect of the ecosystem functions in isolation. No solution is complete until we become conscious that life is one single complex phenomenon, all of which is happening in unison. In many ways, Soil is the underlying platform upon which life springs forth. If we fix soil, we have the best chance of fixing the whole.

The Save Soil Movement is working toward:

Turning the world attention to our dying soil.

Inspiring about 4 billion people (60% of the world’s electorate of 5.26 billion) to support policy redirections to safeguard, nurture and sustain soils.

Driving national policy changes in 193 nations toward raising and maintaining the organic content of soils to a minimum of 3-6%.

In getting his message out, this year (2022) Sadhguru undertook a 100-day Motorcycle Journey travelling from the United Kingdom to India. He stopped in 27 Countries and rode over 30,000 km meeting thousands of people from all walks of life and all ages. Some highlights from this journey in April included being at the UN (FAO) in Rome, Italy which endorsed the Save Soil campaign and then in the UN in Geneva, Switzerland. He met with many other political leaders discussing and gaining support for the campaign including: in Brussels, he met with the Head of the Cabinet of the EU Agriculture Commissioner; in Bonn, he met with a Member of the German Parliament and the Executive Director of the UN CCD; in Davos, he met with representatives from roughly 150 countries.

You may find more information about the Save Soil Movement at:

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Oh Soil

The fragrance of the soil Somehow is more tenderness to me than the fancy fragrance of the flower

The strength and sensitivity of life held in the soil lets off waves of passion of a different sort.

Passion not of a person but of my species that has gone insensitive to all that nurtures it and absorbs it at its end.

As I walk barefoot, I break down with Passions so profound that it defies all descriptions.

Oh’ Soil, My life


How I’m Making My Life Green, at UNICEF and at Home

For me a sustainable life starts with the environment I am living in. This is my home, my workplace, my city, and my country, then we can extend it to our planet Earth which is home for all humanity, nature, and other creatures. How can we sustain our environment? It starts with being mindful of using our resources such as water, electricity, transportation, and doing recycling so that some material can be reutilized and reduces the need to consume natural resources.

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In my daily life, I have always been mindful in using resources such as electricity, and water. I turn of lights when it is not required, both in the office and at home. I filter drinking water instead of buying water in plastic bottles. I pay attention to recycle every bit of recyclable material. Thankfully, I have been living in environments where recycling is widely used, at home, in my office and in the city. I separate recyclable material and put them into their respective bins at home, in the office and in the city where bins are available to recycle materials.

I also volunteer for the activities to help promote the greening our environment, in my personal and work life. I have been a volunteer in UNICEF Green Team since more than 10 years. I took part in promoting recycling in the office, promoting replacement of plastic utensils and cups with the paper cups and wooden utensils in the cafeteria and in the meeting rooms. Besides, UNICEF Green Team, I have been a volunteer at the UN Food Gardens since past 6 years. This is to promote locally grown produce in a smaller scale. By composting stuff pruned from the garden and food scraps, a soil is produced rich in nutrients and reused in the garden thus avoiding use of non-organic nutrients. This is towards sustaining our biodiversity which includes plants, trees, insects, bees, birds, and other animals in larger scales.

In my personal life, over the years, I started using my own re-usable coffee cup, and water bottle when I am in the office and outside. At home I never use single use plastics (utensils or plates). I used to use plastic utensils before, when I was taking my lunch to the office but stopped using plastic utensils when I received my own reusable utensil set at a Green Fair ☺... Unless I am obliged to, I don’t use plastic kitchen utensils. I also started carrying my own reusable shopping bag since past few years, thus avoiding use of plastic bags.

I also try to use environmentally friendly detergents and soap for cleaning and laundry if I can find them.

In addition to the environmental sustainability, being part of a greening team gives the happiness of being part of a solution. Planting and growing our own produce have been a great learning experience for me. It is such a happiness to eat the fruit of a plant grown from a seed that you planted. I now feel more respectful and thankful to the farmers who take care of all those details from planting, to the care of the produce, harvesting and bringing them to the markets so that we can buy and use for our nutrition.

Considering the carbon footprint, I am using public transportation instead of driving. This is reduced to almost 0-level during COVID-19 lockdown. I shop local or online, so I don’t have to drive or use any means of transportation.

As a global well-known organization, UNICEF’s leadership in going green can be a good example for other organizations globally which at the end serves to all communities to be able to live in a sustainable environment.

Aysel Toprakli is a Turkish national who started her career at IBM Istanbul HQ. She was transferred to AT&T when AT&T acquired IBM Global Network Services Department until 2002. She then moved to the US and joined UNICEF NYHQ where she worked in the Information Communication Technology Division until October 2022. Currently, she is in the transition to retirement.

Aysel has been an active member of UNICEF NY Staff Association’s Greening Team and served as volunteer in various greening activities. Among them are activities on recycling, the implementation of “No Plastic Cups” project, volunteer at the UN Food Gardens (AKA UNSRC Gardening Club ). She holds a BS degree in Computer Engineering from Middle East Technical University (METU) and an MS degree in Business Management & Leadership from City University of New York, School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS).



From a new book by Dr Thomas

As the crisis of our global civilization worsens and all our institutions are quickly becoming obsolete, it is time to completely rethink the development of our societies and turn to wisdom to guide us.

So, what would a wisdom-based or “spiritual” approach to politics look like?

The Earth Charter, “a declaration of fundamental ethical principles for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society in the 21st century” offered in 2000 a first response, stating that “when basic needs have been met, human development is primarily about being more, not having more”.

Instead of a politics of having, focused on economic growth, it is time for a politics of being which recognizes that life is a spiritual journey and aims at aligning our institutions with our true reason for being here on Earth: becoming who we are, the best and most complete version of ourselves.

In fact, the primary objective of governments should be to provide the means for each being to express its full potential, achieving its deepest healthy aspirations, while helping us develop inner values, virtues and human qualities. Most importantly, this holds for all living beings, including non-humans (plants, animals, ecosystems, mother earth, etc.), to which we also need to recognize the rights to be.

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An unprecedented technological development has given humanity enormous power that has led to the “Anthropocene”. This focus on the material and external aspects of our lives, and the neglect of the inner dimension (wisdom, ethics, consciousness…) have created an imbalance, which is at the root of most of our problems. A politics of being can correct this imbalance and facilitate the profound cultural evolution we need to go safely throughout the 21st century, supporting the collective “change of mind and heart” that the Earth Charter called for.

Where to find these seeds of the more advanced civilizations we can grow into?

I have mapped the different avenues through which such a wisdom-based approach to politics is currently emerging. These correspond to some of the highest values that have long been at the core of wisdom traditions. In the last decades, they have become subjects of science and are entering the political field:

· Understanding (Systemic, integral and complex thinking): moving beyond a reductionist approach is key to understanding our fundamental interdependence, our systemic crisis and potential responses to it. This way of thinking resonates with wisdom teachings and highlights the importance of changing mindsets/paradigms for systemic transformation.

· Life: recognizing that we are a part of this living planet and need to learn from and harmonize ourselves with nature’s ways is at the core not only of many wisdom traditions but also of new approaches such as biomimetics, buen vivir/vivir bien movements in South America or the China’s commitment to become an ecological civilization.

· Happiness: widely recognized as the legitimate goal for development, it is becoming more and more influential as a new development paradigm as with Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness or New Zealand’s well-being budget.

· Love or empathy: the emerging science is starting to replace the old story of egoism and competition with a new story of goodness, altruism and competition. Our potential for altruism is being leveraged for social change by many initiatives such as the charter for compassion, which supports the development of “compassionate communities”.

· Peace: a culture of peace or partnership has been put forward as an alternative to the culture of domination and its tragic social and environmental outcomes, for example through UN General assembly resolutions and programmes of action for a culture of peace.

· Mindfulness: like a medicine spreading through every organ of our sick social body, mindfulness is being leveraged in many sectors to foster resilience and well-being, creativity, performance and much more.

“Mystery”: there is a growing recognition of how little we know of our world and how surprising it is, as is the case with quantum physics. This should translate into a different scientific agenda that is more open to dialogue with spirituality, as well as more attention to traditional forms of knowledge and solutions to deal with issues like the environmental crisis.

This body of research is telling a new story on our human and social potential, which can be called the “story of interbeing” as Charles Eisenstein put it. These values are also translated into public policies - with many examples of successful implementations - and at the core of many social change initiatives. The politics of being proposes an integrative framework that can accommodate all of them and unify these different movements into a coherent vision for our societies. It proposes an agenda for action with clear priorities and concrete public policies in all sectors (family, education, health, food and agriculture, work and organizations, nature, justice, economy, governance, etc.) that can embody such politics and bring about the cultural evolution – as well as the human, social and environmental regeneration – we need.



1. We need a collective shift of consciousness, a cultural evolution of a spiritual nature, to address our current challenges. It is already ongoing, and we are currently facing an evolutive crisis, which requires individuals and societies to look inward and transform.

2. As a wisdom-based, science-informed approach, a politics of being can support this evolution. Its main goal is to support the fulfilment of all beings, that is to say the realization of our truest and highest being. “Being” is a wiser and more adequate development objective than “having;” it applies to the whole Earth community.

3. Cultivating our fundamental “interbeing” or relational nature is instrumental to allow us to live in harmony with one another and the Earth community. Our spiritual nature makes us interconnected at the level of being with everything that is. Only by recognizing their interconnectedness and sustaining the whole can each part thrive.

4. Societies progress as they increasingly honor the highest values, qualities, and ideals, such as freedom, goodness, beauty, truth, understanding, life, happiness, love, peace, etc. These are spiritual qualities in the sense that they reflect an awakened human being or divine perfection. Science and practical initiatives shaped around these universal values can help us design a politics of being. Cultural development relates fundamentally to an evolution of our values, which shape our worldviews and institutions.

5. The focus on being and the highest values provide a simple conceptual framework for a politics of being, which can integrate all relevant claims and initiatives. As such, it can help unify this vision and strengthen this movement.

6. Our institutions should help cultivate human virtues. They should acknowledge and facilitate the expression of our potential for goodness, cooperation, and intrinsic motivation.

7. Concrete and actionable policy recommendations supporting this agenda already exist in many sectors. A politics of being can bring them together and scale them up, articulating them in a coherent and meaningful narrative.

8. Spiritual teachings and wisdom traditions, through dialogue among them and with science, have much to bring to inspire, help design, and implement a politics of being. They are our most valuable common heritage, able to offer a profound understanding of human nature, as well as practical knowledge and tools for inner, and ultimately social, development.

9. Each nation needs to reconnect to its own soul and wisdom to develop its version of a politics of being that can support its development and help it bring its unique contribution to the world. Unity in diversity is the key to harmonious coexistence of nations in a globalized world.

10. Healing trauma is, for individuals and societies, the gateway to being. It is fundamental for new ways of being and living together to be possible, and for the whole Earth community to flourish.

Holding a Ph.D. in Economics, Thomas Legrand works in the field of sustainability for UN agencies, companies, and NGOs. He lives with his wife and their two young daughters near Plum Village, the monastery of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh in France.

“Politics of Being” by Thomas Legrand is available for sale on the main online platforms. More on:

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“BE THE LOVE” A 21st Century Yoga of the Earth

The celebration of International Yoga Day, each June 21st on a planetary scale, gives a human face to globalization by highlighting the timeless mind and body practices of yoga. Born from multi-millennial India, yoga nowadays inspires and relieves our souls worldwide. From the banks of the Ganges, clad in splendor and light in Rishikesh, to the skyscrapers reflected in the mirror-like waters of the Hudson River in New York City, the Yoga Sutras have traveled a long distance in time and space. Their everlasting wisdom appears untouched, beyond ordinary contingencies.

These unparalleled teachings are gently blending with today’s culture, fulfilling our yearning for sacredness and transcendence. In our finite human form dwells an insatiable desire for infinity and yoga reveals the unlimited at the very core of our limitations. Yoga practitioners embark on a journey towards a state of union beyond the dualistic delusions and divisions. Union, in the ancient language of India, is one of the meanings of maitri, a word which also signifies “love”. And since yoga is a practice of union, it is a practice of love as well.

Here, love should not be restricted to its romantic or sentimental or affective sense, but rather understood as the pure, luminous energy of our true nature, the life of our life. When we were babies, our physical growth required our mother’s tender love as much as her milk. The early development of our cortex has been wholly dependent upon the affection received during our first 24 months. Infants deprived of love often do not grow to their full genetic potential and the number of cells in their heart muscle may be critically reduced. In truth, a heart can grow only in the presence of another heart. We were born to receive love and give love in return.

According to scientists, empathy and compassion emerge early and universally in our early development. Yet empathy may be plagued by cognitive biases and negative emotions, such as competition, hatred, or jealousy, born from the we vs they mentality. We consists of the group with whom we identify. They refers to the others viewed as despicable, because of their different religion, country, ethnicity, ideology or social status.

To correct this self-centered, limited mindset, yoga practice infused with the energy of maitri is recommended by Patanjali (Yoga Sutra 1.33) By connecting practitioners to the ultimate, yoga deconstructs the relative, made of historical and collective identities which we usually endorse unknowingly. What makes it possible to eliminate borrowed identities? It is the force of love that prevails over all pretense and brings to light the core truth of our deepest being.

The words “being” and “truth”, in India, have the same root, sat. And the ultimate truth of being, or sat, is love. Martin Luther King was not mistaken, when he translated satyagraha by “the strength to love”. In the service of the highest consciousness, satyagraha is an experience of oneness with all living beings thus described by Rumi: “I, you, he, she, we – in the garden of mystic lovers, these are not true distinctions.”

In the modern garden of mystic lovers, among the enchanting flowers of love, I would like to add the flower of satyagraha, and its spellbinding fragrance of a kritayuga, a golden age to come. I invite you to see satyagraha as the luminous flower of the golden age that will dawn upon Earth, through the elevation of human consciousness. The seed of satyagraha was sown by


the Mahatma Gandhi. His gift to the world flourished in the soul of heroic women and men, calling for social justice and the awakening of the heart with loving speech and nonviolent action. Many grassroots movements across the globe are led today by changemakers who claim themselves of Gandhiji’s call Be the change you want to see in the world. As I was wondering what Mahatma Gandhi meant by these words, it dawned upon me that the radical change he was advocating is love. I then adapted Gandhi ji’s sentence by saying Be the love you want to see in the world…

In his introduction to “Hind Swaraj”, in 1921, the Mahatma highlighted love as an active driver of politics. One century later, adopting love in the political arena has failed and the normative of love is banned from public discourse. And yet aren’t all the emergencies of our time pointing to the lack of love?

Love is needed to eradicate the structural causes of hunger, extreme poverty, and loss of biodiversity. The 17 SDGs can’t be achieved without the force of love that doesn’t tolerate the injustice of depriving so many people from a decent livelihood, when resources do exist to feed and care for everyone worldwide. If we revived the breath of love, its energy multiplied 7.8 billion times, would generate a force of action, paving the way for fairer, happier days.

In these pivotal times, if we want to survive as a species, our last chance is to shift our thinking patterns, from pathological individualism to altruistic love in the service of the common good. Nothing should be undertaken these days, including writing this article or reading it, without the intention to benefit others through a deeper understanding leading to disruptive actions. In the face of the present challenges, love is a revolutionary driver that can trigger a momentum of our collective consciousness towards a civilization of love. All our power as humans lies in our regenerative interactions for the welfare of the living.

Our power of creating bonds has a name. It’s love. More than learning how to manufacture tools, anthropologists have found evidence that it was taking care of one another and providing mutual support that drove human cognitive developments. And the next (r)evolutionary leap in our 3,5 billion years history, should come from realizing that we are one, that existing is co-existing.

To contribute to a new era of reconciliation by infusing universal love in our DNA, I have created the Be the Love medit-actions, providing keys of conscience and experience to shift from individualism to altruism and accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda towards a civilization of love. This protocol is a 21st century samagra yoga or “integral yoga”, a yoga of the Earth inspired by Sri Aurobindo. It’s my heartfelt wish that yoginis and yogis nurture the seeds of love

unity, for the new dawn of a loving humanity to shine on our beloved Mother Earth.

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and Sofia Stril-Rever, a spiritual activist and teacher, is an award-winning author, a public speaker, and the French biographer of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. She is the founding president of Be the Love

Yoga in a Time of War

This is the story of Kateryna, a single mother of three children who left Ukraine shortly after the invasion of Russian forces.*

Sometimes it is through crises and challenges that the direction of our lives shift, a new path opens, and our perspectives change. For Kateryna, war began in 2014 in the Donetsk region of Ukraine where she was living with her parents. University-educated, ambitious, and ready to prove herself in the world, she moved to Kiev to realize her professional dreams in the fields of economics and business. Yet, the stresses of her work created health problems and due to discomfort in her spine and back muscles, she came to the path of yoga. She learned about Yoga in Daily Life (YIDL), a comprehensive Master-developed system of holistic, authentic yoga.

Practicing YIDL awakened many of Kateryna’s soul aspirations and longings from childhood. Wonderful opportunities opened up as she shifted from the field of business to psychology, got married, had three children and taught yoga. All of this ended in February 24, 2022, when Russian forces declared war on Ukraine and began bombing the capital city of Kiev.

“I was very scared. The bombing was so loud, and every day it became more and more intense. I couldn’t sleep. Yet with seemingly everyone around me panicking, I was able to stay calm until the sixth night of the bombing. My younger sister called, warning me that Russian soldiers were near Kiev; she feared I could be raped and my children harmed. That night, I took my children to a bomb shelter that was filled with young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and cats and dogs. Together, in an underground fitness studio that had

turned into a bomb shelter, we stayed for weeks. My sister was urging me to leave Kiev, to travel to Lviv and then to go to Poland,” Kateryna recalls.

The shock, intensity, and fear of the war was felt everywhere. Kateryna remembers a vivid moment when the practice of yoga pierced through the fog of panic and worry. “I had dropped my children off at the shelter and had started heading back to our apartment to gather some clothes and food. I began panicking and suddenly, I remembered to breathe. I took a deep breath, poured myself a glass of water, and breathed deeply for a few minutes. A sense of calm washed over me as I drank the water and began to make a list. I wrote a list of all the things I needed to do. There was calmness and clarity in knowing what needed to be done.”

Kateryna and her three children survived the bombing and made it out of Ukraine and into Poland--the first of many miracles that she experienced. “While in Ukraine, I consulted with my guru to get guidance on what I should do. He gave clear instructions to go to Canada. I had never thought about Canada, and, I didn’t even know where Vancouver was. It felt like a world away and the possibility of making it out of Europe and to Canada seemed so difficult,” she said.

While in Poland, Kateryna was swamped with calls from her guru sisters and brothers (practitioners of Yoga in Daily Life and disciples of the same guru). People whom she had never met and never knew before, now reached out to her asking how they could help. She recalled, “I didn’t know what to do or how to answer their offers of help as I was just trying to survive– to feed my children, to get them into school, to reestablish a sense of normalcy, and to figure out how to live in a country where I didn’t speak the language very well.”


Kateryna felt deeply moved by the generosity of her spiritual community. Her guru brothers and sisters in England collected money for her and her children. She was also surprised by the support from the Polish government and ordinary Polish citizens who offered her gift cards. Given the historic animosity between the two countries, the openness of the Polish government and the kindness of Polish people left a deep impression on her. While in Poland, she received many offers to go to Luxemberg, to Italy, and to stay in Poland; however, remembering the words of her guru, she also considered the possibility of immigrating to Canada even though the prospect continued to feel like an impossibility.

As she looked into the steps to immigrate to Canada, a series of miracles began to unfold. People showed up to help her with the application process, and when she and her son were approved for visas but not her twin daughters, more help arrived to support her through the cumbersome refugee application process.

One day while at the train station, Kateryna encountered volunteers handing out train tickets to Germany. She asked them: “Do you have any plane tickets to Canada?” At the time it seemed like an absurd question, and the volunteers were surprised by her question. With most Ukrainians staying within continental Europe, wanting to fly overseas to a foreign country seemed rather strange. However, one of the volunteers asked her “which city in Canada?” What began as Kateryna’s innocent question, it ended up opening the possibility for her and her children to receive tickets to fly to Toronto, Canada.

The next question was, how would she survive in Canada? Without family or relatives, and not knowing anyone, how could she find a place to live, find a job, and integrate into Canadian society?

“The biggest miracle for me was that throughout this process, I felt the protection and support of my Gurudev,” Kateryna shared. She had kept her mind open to the possibility of moving to Canada and establishing a new life there. In May, she received calls from a Serbian family; part of the same YIDL spiritual community. Many decades earlier, they too had experienced war, immigrated to Canada with a family, and established themselves in a new country. The parents, Miroslav and Slavica, knew the dangers of war and the challenges of immigrating to Canada. They felt inspired to reach out and help Kateryna find a home, enroll her kids in school and get settled. They helped bring her from Toronto to Vancouver and, significantly, welcomed her and her children as family.

Kateryna was one of the fortunate ones. She and her three children safely made it to Canada. Miroslav and Slavica continue to help her ever since she made the decision to immigrate. Her story illustrates the power of yoga in remaining calm during times of crisis, and, more importantly, the power of a spiritual community with members who were willing to help one another and to take action to assist each other under the guidance and the protection of a guru.

While war still rages in Ukraine (as of this writing), there are also many stories like Kateryna’s that offer glimpses of hope into the power of community and the miracles of a benevolent higher power. Her story reminds me of a quote from A Course in Miracles, “Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense, everything that comes from love is a miracle.”

*Please note the names of the people in this article have been changed to protect their identities.

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Farah [Sarita] Nazarali is a student of His Holiness Mahamandeleshwar Vishwaguru Paramhans Swami Maheshwarnanda, founder of Yoga in Daily Life. She is the Canadian Ambassador of the Sri Swami Madhavananda World Peace Council.

Yoga & Nuclear Weapons

Connecting yoga and nuclear weapons abolition may seem like an oxymoron yet both are deeply rooted in the goal of creating peace.

I grew up with the story that nuclear bombs ended WWII. Yet after reading Hiroshima by John Hersey in high school, I realized that victory had another, untold story. That book planted a seed in my heart that has directed me to work for nuclear abolition and to focus on creating a Culture of Peace.

As a community activist in the mid 1980’s, I was introduced to The Ribbon. Justine Merritt invited people to design cloth panels showing, “What you cannot bear to think of as lost forever in a nuclear war.” These Ribbon panels circled the Pentagon to observe the 40th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1986. This art project brought the issue of nuclear weapons into homes, places of worship, schools and into the hearts of many people.

The Ribbon International became an NGO at the UN in 1991 and I was one of the UN Representatives. Ribbons continue to be made and displayed globally as a way of addressing the issues of environmental and nuclear treats. Each Ribbon holds the hopes, dreams, and prayers of people from around the world to tie into awareness and solutions that protect families, communities, the planet, and the future.

In 1985 President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev agreed that “a nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought.” This was reiterated by President Biden and Putin in 2021. Knowing this is true, why are we not serious about nuclear abolition? In my opinion, people still cling to the justification that nuclear bombs ended WW II. They protect us. Yet we need to remember that those nuclear bombs were not answered with additional nuclear exchanges. The catastrophic consequences of these weapons of mass destruction are not being addressed and incorporated into our daily lives in a way that demands the shifting of resources away from war and destruction and into known ways to build peace. Yoga and spiritual practices keep us connected to our divine source, and hopefully toward better, sustainable lifestyles.

We are seeing the dedication of the Ukrainian people as they face the advancing Russian army. The power and the threat of using of nuclear weapons does not protect Ukrainians, Russians, or the world. The reality is that any nuclear exchange would so expand the devastation and promote an even more costly and destructive responses. No government should have the right to destroy the world or the ability to threaten such catastrophe!


This is our time to demand the end of nuclear weapons. World Yoga Day, June 21 coincides with the opening of the UN Meeting of the States Parties who signed the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). This treaty needs to be understood and supported. We must make sure that nuclear weapons are never used again. Nuclear policy must be obeyed and strengthened. Educating people on nuclear issues and policy is essential for the very survival of the planet. We need to talk about nuclear weapons, including the immediate impact it would have on Climate Change.

Individuals play an important role in the elimination of nuclear weapons. We can use our personal buying power to divest from companies and banks supporting nuclear weapons. We can get and stay informed on the nuclear issues and support the organizations working hard to influence change in policies and military spending.

Most importantly, we can pray and practice yoga as a personal commitment to peace. Living in peace changes the whole, even if we can’t see it directly.

Grandfather Harry Bird inspired me with his words. “A Heartfelt prayer is more powerful than an atom bomb.” As a member of the United Religions Initiative (URI) Cooperation Circle, Voices for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons, we use The Nuclear Prayer written by our Founding Trustee and President Emeritus, The Rt. Rev. William E. Swing. It can be found at This prayer recognizes that the “The Beginning and the End are in your hands, O Creator of the Universe. And in our hands you have placed the fate of this planet.”

Individuals, families, spiritual communities, and people everywhere are invited to add prayers daily and especially on August 6, 2022- Nuclear Prayer Day. Remember those who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki as you add heartfelt prayers to eliminate nuclear weapons and the threat of using them against others and the planet. Together, we can make a difference. May Peace Prevail on Earth!

Monica Willard

United Religions Initiative (URI)

NGO Representative to the UN

Monica Willard was the main URI Representative to the United Nations. She worked with the Department of Public Information (DPI) on the annual Student Observance for the International Day of Peace since 1997 and in 2002 was a founding member of the International Day of Peace NGO Committee at the UN. As President of the Committee of Religious NGOs (2010-2013), she organized programs for World Interfaith Harmony Week, including two held in the UN General Assembly. She was a founding member of the Tripartite Forum, a group of UN member states, UN agencies, and religious NGOs who worked together from 2005 to 2010 to promote cooperation within the UN system on religion, peace and development. She also served as Chair of the 49th Annual DPI/NGO Conference.

Yoga & the Work of the United Nations

A Global Governance Paradigm Shift: First Principles First

Given that our old normal didn’t turn out to be a viable survival plan, the global call to “build back better” is misguided. We need to build forward by seizing this transformative historical moment to go for our highest vision of a just, compassionate, happy and well humanity living on a thriving planet. Now is the time to go all in on what is at the core of every religion’s teachings, and in “first principles” documents including the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations Declaration and Programme of Action on the Culture of Peace, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and the Earth Charter.

We cannot accomplish first principles, like equity, justice, freedom and dignity, by just fixing what’s wrong. By definition, fixes perpetuate norms. Focusing on fixes leads to maintaining a status quo that is not fundamentally engineered to fulfill on first principles, in part because it relegates them as unrealistic and secondary to maintaining economic and social norms.

Despite all the good work done in the name of sustainability, it is not even time to sustain because sustaining the way things are would be suicidal and there is no equitable basis for who gets to decide what gets sustained. Merely sustaining is a low bar is also not very inspiring and is not even a biologically sound idea because the nature of life is that it is always changing and the nature of the human spirit is that it’s always reaching for higher expression. Too often, when we think primarily in terms of fixing or sustaining, we are diverting resources from new and different social and economic conceptual frameworks and delegating them to perpetuating dysfunction by patching it up.

We cannot fix or sustain our way to a more equitable and just future because our fundamental conceptual framework, our paradigm, doesn’t hold the requisite valuations for first principles like equity and justice. We now have the unprecedented capacity, resources, connectivity and urgency to stake claim to a reality that reflects our highest vision of who we can be as a species. This historic moment is an epoch opportunity for the world to move beyond fixing and sustaining by actually putting first principles first such that our systems hold them as core accountabilities in decision-making and action-taking.


The principles spelled out in humanity’s most profound declarations and scriptures are generally considered not to be realistic because, like fish in water, our beliefs about what is real and possible are part of our acculturation to the ubiquitous culture we exist in. Current systems rate the high bar of mutually thriving in a verdant and peaceful world as unrealistic. Our acculturation blinds us to how we might be unconsciously perpetuating paradigmatic norms for a world that can be incinerated many times over with a button push while millions of children go to sleep cold, hungry and scared. So-called “realistic” social and economic priorities hold higher valuations for power mongering than for our most common, and most noble, values and aspirations.

The argument of realism can no longer be trusted as a basis for governance, in part because our “realism” leads us to believe that it is more practical to make small changes than to “rock the boat”. But according to systems science, we cannot expect incremental improvements to create systemic change because small changes get absorbed by the continued functioning of a system. Creating the world we want, and the United Nations we need, calls for throwing off the shackles of old paradigm “realism” with bold and bodacious re-visioning of what we hold to be realistic and reasonable.

What if we decided to reset our economic valuations so that the value of militarism no longer exceeds the valuations we assign to our common wellbeing? What if we decided to take this historic opportunity to set the UN Declaration of Human Rights as our initial condition, as the very basis point for building new economic and social norms? What if we make first principles our ground zero conditions? In other words, what if we actually, unabashedly put first principles first?


First principles occur in the intangible realm of metaphysics, the domain of existence, being, knowing and causality. They are articulated in terms like values, morals and ethics, all of which are metaphysical distinctions. We generally overlook metaphysical factors because the paradigm in which most of us are acculturated includes the “fluffy myth,” the fictitious belief that metaphysical factors are unreal, inconsequential fluffy stuff. But there is no evidence to substantiate fluff mythology. To the contrary, the primacy of intangibles, like values and consciousness, has been demonstrated by meta-physicians, unpacked by sociologists, psychologists, philosophers and spiritual leaders throughout time, and confirmed by a plethora of international values and leadership studies across all sectors over decades. (citations in my book: The Alchemy of Power)

The data is clear: when metaphysical factors, like consciousness and culture, are accounted for and intentionally developed, almost all social and economic indicators go up. Yet, a cultural narrative filled with fluff mythology dismisses the far more formidable, albeit intangible, power of our consciousness. Although rarely accounted for, consciousness determines what gets materialized and what doesn’t. Every social failure is first and foremost a crisis of consciousness. It is causal and determinative, yet we don’t account for consciousness as the major player it is in all outcomes.

Yoga & the Work of the United Nations

Spiritual paths help us access and articulate the consciousness required to interpret first principles into action and more and more spiritual leaders are transcending traditional boundaries as they align around raising collective consciousness toward a common good centered world. However, I’ve sat at many tables in and around the United Nations with a wide range of religious, indigenous and spiritual colleagues who are there because of their stellar social service work or because their people needed help. But charity and aid work are secondary to their spiritual missions. They hold critical, time tested metaphysical intelligence on first principles, yet there is little space in the UN system for the deeper wisdom that is the primary work of religious and spiritual entities. I have witnessed both overt and covert censorship of metaphysical wisdom but it is mostly just overlooked or dismissed as fluff.

We know for sure that morally compromised consciousness diminishes the possible good for people, prosperity, partnerships, planet and peace. Like the expression of all other positive values, morality stokes the human spirit and amorality diminishes it. When people align around values, they get along, are productive and innovative, and they tend to work toward win/win results. (see The Alchemy of Power) Yet, values are rarely accounted for or managed on their own terms.

Values priorities play a primary role in how things go for societies and the people who populate them because values are the fundamental building blocks of cultures. Values are unique in how they bridge the intangibles, like morality, with the tangibles, like systems. They are the link between our consciousness and our physical world. Accounting for values is a means of accounting for individual and collective consciousness. We know for sure that when values drive processes, things more often go better for more people. Although they are metaphysical, values can be quantified and developed.

Accounting for values alignment and divergences helps clarify common ground that lies deeper than political lenses can see. Values-based metrics provide a cogent basis for mutual resolution.

Because the influence of values fulfillment on outcomes is so profound and so broad, and because values cut across geographic and political boundaries as well as demographics like race, age and gender, values-driven data would provide a baseline for tracking first principles indicators across the UN system, member states, public and private sectors, and civil society. Values accountancy would provide a coherent, robust, data-based means to ground social development in first principles. Metadata on values priorities would provide scaffolding for new economic, social and global governance structures that are fit for the purpose of building a world that works for all.

The ever-growing international call for, and unprecedented need for, paradigmatic change reflects a global consciousness shift that can only be accommodated by transforming global governance such that first principles become our new, non-negotiable initial conditions.

Rev. Dr. Joni Carley, author of The Alchemy of Power: Mastering the Invisible Factors of Leadership, works on consciousness and culture through advisory/consulting services including as a United Nations ECOSOC consultant, NGO leadership advisor, talks, media guest expertise and articles geared toward a principles-based, values-driven unified world. Background includes: Dr of Ministry in “The Reinvention of Work,” Ordination - One Spirit Interfaith Seminary, 30 years of co-creating inter-spiritual events with indigenous, religious and spiritual leaders and spirited artists, incl UN World Interfaith Harmony, UN Forum on Indigenous Ceremony, and global Unity Earth Celebrations.


The Encounters of Wisdom:

We are living in times of profound transformation. Transformation that is required to be able to respond to the many challenges we are dealing with: the climate changes, the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic rollercoaster of inflation, recession and shortages, the migration fluxes, the Ukraine-Russia war, the poor and confused political leadership in many countries.

In times of confusion and distress there is need for clarity in the heads, love in the hearts, and empathy and compassion in the souls of those who can and will stand up as inspirational reference points or as ‘guides of light’ for the people.

That clarity, love and empathy is something that makes human wisdom. And it’s a true contrast to the self-focused egocentricity we see too much of today.

Meditation, yoga, and meaningful conversations are a solid foundation to connect with that wisdom, and to ‘control’ the ego.

the need to drastically change ‘the world’ Our current systems (organizations, governments, political parties, religious institutions, NGOs, enterprises, associations, ...) are losing the plot and their leaders are increasingly confronted with a feeling of chaos and their own inability to take the ship to calmer waters. This leads to ever-growing discontentment with the people, and to visible frustration and pain in society. These developments are reported in detail and even further encouraged by the media, which prefer to set a focus on everything that is going wrong.

I regard this as evidence that ‘the old’ is slowly but surely being replaced by ‘the new’. And as with every transformation, in which the deep identity of the transforming system is substituted by a new identity, with no possibility of returning to the old ways, this societal transformation is experienced as painful. What’s more, this pain of the caterpillar turning into a butterfly, gradually but irreversibly, is accompanied by unrest, tumult, opposition, exasperation, and violence.

I compare the tension, discomfort and uncertainty resulting from this intense societal transformation with the demise of a kind of prehistoric monster. This monster was able to grow unchallenged for many decades, allowing it to become powerful but also resulting in huge societal distortion. It is the symbol for an era when roaring to demonstrate your power was normal, when

everyone with a different opinion was shouted down (or worse) and when the only focus – either from a selfish survival instinct or from a more predatory hunter instinct – was on your own path through the jungle.

But the people, confronted with fear, with basic needs not being fulfilled, and with too much chaos, are becoming more and more vocal, are less afraid to stand up for the things and the principles that mean something to them and are better informed than ever before by the virtual connections people have with each other. As a result, they have had enough of the kind of leaders who keep the ‘monster’ alive by feeding it with human sacrifices, and collateral damage. Men and women are now starting to question this old-world order. The blindfolds have been taken off, and they can now see the old system – the monstrous beast! – for what it is, with all its many uncertainties, imbalances, and injustices. They realize that there is an urgent need for a new system, in which transparency, sustainability, respect, citizenship, equality, better balances, and general well-being must be the central pillars. It is this need and hope that has prompted them first to resist and then to actively fight in whatever way they can against the old system, in the hope that a new and better system will emerge.

The monster is now being fought more fiercely and more openly by those many people who wish to join to rid the world of the evils of the past. All this human effort is causing the monster to totter, as it struggles – with increasing hopelessness – against the ever-growing power of new social order. Its frantically beating heart, a symptom of its last desperate attempt to gather its remaining energy for the final battle of survival, will soon give out, conquered by the incessant and unquenchable spirit of humankind, which wants to see something new in its place.

It is high time for a new group of leaders to come to the fore, acting in the genuine interests of society as a whole and using this noble purpose to develop, at the very least, a medium-term vision for the future as builders of a new world order.


Leading in general, and such a transformation more specifically, is not a job or a temporary occupation for whatever fool or ego-driven dictator. And fools and dictators there are in leadership positions! Leadership is one of the most demanding forms of ‘human art’ that exist.

85 Yoga & the Work of the United Nations
Why our society needs more human wisdom and less self-interested ego

LovInShip is developed from a positive and harmonious view of the world. It is based on love for your workforce, your colleagues, your stakeholders, and your fellow wo/men in general, rooted in deep self-awareness, self- respect and coherence with your own values and Life principles.

It is focused on encouraging people to free themselves from the obstructive conventions of the past and to liberate their full potential; on setting up an ecosystem in which collaboration, shared responsibilities and self-guidance replace remote systems, limiting processes and demotivating procedures that always demand maximum performance. It is a form of leadership where the leader seeks a balance between mind, body and soul, the wise and sacred ‘trinity’ that is found in yoga, which I value so highly and practice daily.

ego & impact

The key question for a leader is: are you communicating as your pure, real, and authentic self, a self that is not defined or kidnapped by your leadership role?

Or do you communicate differently in the context of each of your specific roles, depending on the circumstances? If the latter is the case, do you behave and communicate differently in each of the specific roles you have? We all have many different roles in Life: as employer, boss, owner, entrepreneur, risk-taker, CEO, chairman, vice-president, minister, son or daughter of, brother or sister of, father or mother of, friend of, member of this or that club, stakeholder in this or that organization, spiritual source, etc.

Who is the real you in your communication in each of these specific roles? Is there a difference in each case? It is perhaps interesting at this point to ask yourself this question and note down all the different roles you have and how you fulfil them. You will be amazed by just how many of them there are! We switch almost without knowing it from one to the other and, correspondingly, we jump from one communication style to another. In this way, on each occasion we only allow a limited number of our many facets to be seen, and never our totality.

Do you have an idea about your impact? And maybe also about how your ego is taking its ‘small or important’ place in your respective roles, in your life?

wisdom encounters

In that context of wanting to contribute to the positive transformation of society, and of inspiring leaders to become aware of their impact at the service of a Humankind in need for hope and love, I have created Wisdom Encounters.

These encounters come from my intention to concretely contribute to the further elevation of wo/men towards higher order thinking

and acting, for them to stand out as key players in the creation of a more harmonious economic system, a more balanced society, and a better global world with more spirituality.

Wisdom Encounters is not about ego, not about power, not about net worth, not about titles, not about creating a power network, not about performance, nor about selling services or products to each other.

Wisdom Encounters are meant to be unique human encounters of authentic, inspiring, egoconscious, high impact leaders who want to lead a purposeful Life and actively contribute to Society and the World.

Participants experience the retreat as a fabulous moment of inspirational thinking and ideas sharing, as an uplifting break from very busy intense lives, re-aligning mind, spirit, and body. They allow each one to return to the respective responsibilities with a boost of inspiration and increased clarity about noble purpose and how to serve ‘the world’ with even more courage and commitment.

Throughout the journey we use the beauty and wisdom of Nature and the positive energy of the setting to get inspired, to connect with ourselves and to exchange in open council format with each other. Profound group dialogues and sublime walks, yoga practices, breathing techniques and mindfulness, listening to, and interacting respectfully with each other, spending time alone and in group, help the leaders to become more conscious, internally aligned and inspired to reconnect our soul, heart, mind, and body.

Where Wisdom Encounters is only one of the many initiatives in the world, I believe that becoming aware of what we stand for, how we can help humankind and what this life truly means for us, is what this world, our humankind, needs.

Olivier Onghena-’t Hooft, a long time COTT friends, is a Belgian noble purpose entrepreneur, solutionist & investor / Author of ‘The Book of Noble Purpose’, which has created a new awareness around the meaning of Life / Founder of GINPI, Wisdom Encounters, Young Leaders-Inspiring Mentors / A much sought after keynote speaker / Philanthropist / Lover of Life
Yoga & A Culture of Peace and Non-Violence
If everything around you seems dark, look again and you may be the light

Profile in Peace: Dr. Robert Muller,

Former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General (ASG)

How to encapsulate the life of Dr Robert Muller, a champion for creating a better United Nations, Organization (as an institution) and one that, in practice, nurtures a world that benefits all and our beautiful planet all the while advancing universal peace? How to convey the influence upon countless persons the world over including me, one individual?

To start, I suggest that we read Dr Muller’s very own words. He was a prolific author and broached a multitude of topics from many dimensions. As in the case with illuminated yoga masters or other teachers for that matter, if the reader is open, the words effortlessly work their own magic and touch the spirit. After all, it is the essence of the energy behind the words that may influence the reader resulting in a new understanding or unexpected consequences that are beyond the borders of the mind and heart. Here we go:

Decide to be human

To be a world citizen A global being A member of the human family

To place humanity before anything else

To love your human bretheren and sisters As your own family

Never to kill, not even in the name of a nation

Never to exercise physical or verbal violence

To know, love and respect your beautiful planetary home

To live in it as a grateful, joyful guest

To contribute to humanity your peace, kindness and happiness

To help the further ascent of the human race

To cherish its endless, beautiful diversity

To educate your children as world citizens and children of God

And to leave behind you the remembrance Of a good, kind, loving human being

I’m writing this tribute to Dr Muller, so that a new generation is familiar with his immeasurable contributions to shaping the UN as a caring organization, to defining policy that has impacted peoples across the world in many areas of their lives as well as our precious planet, and to modeling how one’s thoughts/vision/action promotes the values we find in the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights along with the deeper meaning of yoga-respect, dignity, equality, interdependence, harmony, a culture of peace, non-violence and peaceful co-existence. If you search the internet, you will find words which describe the story of his life.

Although he was born in Belgium, Robert Muller grew up in France in the area which borders Germany. He experienced the horrors of World War II firsthand as a refugee of the Nazi occupation in France, through imprisonment and finally by his escape from prison. Significantly, he was a member of the French Resistance. As the war was nearing its end, he unsuccessfully tried to block the killing of a group of captured German soldiers. This was a turning point that led him to his future endeavors in working for peace. When the war ended, he returned home and earned a Doctorate of Law from the University of Strasbourg. In 1948, he won an essay contest concerning world governance which awarded an internship at the newly created United Nations.


Dr Muller became a staff person in the UN and devoted the next 40 years of his life working behind the scenes rising through the ranks to become Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) serving under three Secretaries-General. Markedly, he contributed to the creation of important UN specialized entities, including the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and the World Youth Assembly.

Dr Muller is credited for laying the foundation for a “World Core Curriculum” which led to his receiving the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education in 1989. Essentially, through his “World Core Curriculum” he helped inspire the growing Global Education movement becoming known as ‘the father of global education’ thereby influencing innumerable people globally even to today. More than 30 Robert Muller schools were founded throughout the world.

In active “retirement,” Dr. Muller was the co-founder and first Chancellor of the University for Peace created by the UN which is based in Costa Rica. Appreciably, he has been called the “Philosopher” and “Prophet of Hope” of the UN. It is agreed that he is a deeply spiritual person. From his vantage point as a eminent global states-person, he has seen a strong connection between spirituality and the intersection with political and culture. In these later years, he concentrated his efforts on promoting greater human understanding, global awareness, world peace and drafted a “Framework for World Media Coverage” a “Framework for Planetary and Cosmic Consciousness” and a “Framework for the Arts and Culture.”

Aside from the notable works as stated above, Dr Muller jotted down different kinds of thoughts that included: 7,000 Ideas & Dreams for a Better World; The Miracle, Joy and Art of Living; Earth Peace Plan 2010; Paradise on Earth Plan for 2050 as well as poems. Is it any wonder that in his lifetime, he received awards and special recognition? I came across a short congratulatory message by Former US President Jimmy Carter that reads:


October 24, 2002

To Dr. Robert Muller Rosalynn and I are pleased to congratulate you on receiving the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s 2002 World Citizenship Award. Since your prizewinning essay on world governance, written 54 years ago, you have devoted much of your life to the peacekeeping efforts of the United Nations, directly assisting three secretaries general. Your schools and books emphasize the increasing importance of global education. Your courageous leadership for peace is certainly worthy of this fine recognition.

With warm best wishes, Sincerely, (US President) Jimmy Carter

My fond recollection is from the mid or late 1990s. Being one of the lucky ones, I was comfortably seated in a packed Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium where people were sitting on the steps along the wall/railing and standing stacked like sardines in the back entranceways to get a glimpse of or to hear Dr Muller’s reflections and his famous

and Non-Violence

harmonica playing. He may have played Ode to Joy, among other tunes but that is not the point. What I clearly remember is the standing ovation and how people did not want our time together to end, or, better yet, we did not want to let him leave us.

However, that is not the main idea I’d like to convey. What was striking was that there was a special presence we sensed that goes beyond the language of words. For us, staff working in the Organization, it was a unique, other-worldly reverence. For me, it was as if his spirit was streaming over us to elevate our essence and the UN itself as a global institution. This has left a life-long impression. I have had tremendous respect and admiration for many noteworthy UN staff and political leaders and have personally met many during my days as a UN employee at NY Headquarters. Yet, I have not felt what I experienced during those moments with Dr Muller from anyone else from the UN system.

Dr Muller’s legacy lives on particularly in the subtle support that many of us engaged in the greater UN community regularly conduct and encourage. His impression continues to touch us all whether we are sitting in the Meditation Room in the Secretariat or advocating for a particular issue at one of the specialized ECOSOC Commission sessions or holding interfaith gatherings observing a specific UN Day. Our prayer for a better, a more just, equitable, harmonious, sustainable and prosperous world where we respect one another and all life and nature builds upon the strong foundation he laid.

Yoga & A Culture of Peace

Poems on Peace

Peace is within your reach. Do not be afraid Of touching it, Feeling it And claiming it.

Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 1 (1998), No. 572

The heart Is a world-peace-dreamer And A world-peace-lover.

Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 1 (1998), No. 404

Peace is first An individual achievement. Then it grows into A collective achievement. Finally it becomes A universal achievement.

Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 4 cNew York: Agni Press, 1998), No. 3,491

O dreamers of peace, come. Let us walk together.

O lovers of peace, come. Let us run together.

O servers of peace, come. Let us grow together.

No Unreachable Goal (New York: Agni Press, 1994), No. 50.


Yoga & A Culture of Peace and Non-Violence U N I T E D N A T I O N S N A T I O N S U N I E S



Every year on 21 September, the United Nations calls on all people to lay down weapons and reaffirm their commitment to living in harmony with one another.

Every year on 21 September, the United Nations calls on all people to lay down weapons and reaffirm their commitment to living in harmony with one another.

Today day countdown to the International Day of Peace, this shared aspiration

Today, as we mark the 100-day countdown to the International Day of Peace, this shared aspiration is more pressing than ever.

T Racism poisons societies, normalizes e must fight it by countering hate speech, addressing the root causes of inequality .

Over the next 100 days and beyond, to safeguard the human rights of all people and build peaceful and inclusive societies . Together, we can realize the vision of a world free of racism and racial discrimination.

This year’s theme is “End racism. Build peace.” Racism poisons societies, normalizes discrimination and spurs violence. We must fight it by countering hate speech, promoting dialogue and addressing the root cuases of inequality.

Over the next 100 days and beyond, let us work to safeguard the human rights of all people and build peaceful and inclusive societies. Together, we can realize the vision of a world free of racism and racial discrimination.


100-Day Countdown Message for the International Day of Peace

There are only 100 days left until the International Day of Peace on September 21.

The International Day of Peace was established by the United Nations for the purpose of commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and people, and it is an important day to reflect on the importance and preciousness of peace. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt respect to United Nations Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres for the leadership he has shown in strongly promoting this day.

As a way toward lasting world peace, Mayors for Peace has established and is working for three main objectives: "Realization of a world without nuclear weapons", "Realization of safe and resilient cities" and “Promotion of a culture of peace”. We fully support the ideas behind the International Day of Peace, and have held commemorative events and called on our member cities to participate by holding their own events.

In 2022, we once again call upon our 8,174 member cities in 166 countries and regions around the world to hold events on the International Day of Peace, September 21, along with August 6 and August 9, which respectively mark the dates of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in order to share the desire for peace with as many people as possible and pray for its realization.

Currently, the international state of affairs is extremely alarming. Russia's aggression against Ukraine not only brings the escalated risk of the use of nuclear weapons, but also puts nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime at risk systems which international society has made a tremendous effort to build. Now is the time for Mayors for Peace to cultivate peace consciousness in civil society all over the world. I believe that by working in solidarity, across countries and political parties, with all member cities responsible for ensuring their citizens’ peaceful daily lives, we will be able to achieve it.

Taking the International Day of Peace as an opportunity, let us reunite as members of Mayors for Peace, bring together citizens’ wishes for peace, and create real momentum for the realization of a peaceful world without nuclear weapons.

June 13, 2022

Mayor of Hiroshima President of Mayors for Peace



Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE was first appointed as a UN Messenger of Peace in a ceremony at the United Nations in September 2002 by then Secretary General Kofi Annan. Reappointed by Secretary General Ban ki Moon, she remains in this important role today.

Dr. Goodall established Roots & Shoots International Day of Peace in 2004, in honor of the UN Day of Peace and to encourage Roots & Shoots members and other interested individuals to promote peace in their communities and around the globe.

In addition to participating in community activities to share culture and break down the barriers between us, Roots & Shoots members, families and friends craft Giant Peace Dove Puppets from reused materials in their neighborhoods to symbolize their commitment to peace. Roots & Shoots Day may be held on any day around 2lst September each year, to allow maximum local participation.

First created by the Roots & Shoots University Students in Wisconsin in honor of Dr.

Dove Puppets have flown in almost 100 countries in past years, in city parks,

Held high by young hands, the Doves have spread their wings everywhere, including the Colosseum in Rome, a

in Mongolia and the base of Mount Fuji. They’ve been floated down the river in Jackson Hole Wyoming, and even fluttered from the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

“With the Peace Doves, we remind everyone of the truth they sometimes forget - that peace is possible. We celebrate all that is free and noble in the human spirit. And we celebrate all that so many people have done throughout the year - and will do next year - to create a better world for all,” said Dr. Goodall.

For the thousands of Roots & Shoots members around the world peace is a way of life. With Roots & Shoots, peace is possible.

Goodall’s appointment, Giant Peace gardens, convention centers and refugee camps. monastery
Yoga & A Culture of Peace and Non-Violence
“We can have a world of peace. We can move toward a world where we live in harmony with nature. Where we live in harmony with each other. No matter what nation we come from. No matter what our religion. No matter what our culture. This is where we’re moving towards.”
– Dr. Goodall’s Message for Peace Day 2018

Quality of Life & Its Relation to Peace

Thirteen years ago, in defining the word “peace” for International Cities of Peace, three overarching values became cogent to defining conditions for a better world. These three essential values are common to all of humanity, no matter whether the discussion entails people in the home, the neighborhood or the nation.

The overarching essential values upon which most, if not everyone, agree are: safety, prosperity and quality of life. Safety entails being free from injury or harm. Prosperity at its most basic means freedom to feed ourselves and our family. To many the most important value, quality of life is the freedom to have wellbeing and to benefit from a subset of values that enable us to pursue our purposes in life.

These three values can also be defined in relation to freedom -- the freedom to be safe, prosperous and have quality of life. The active peacemaking strategies and practices that can provide what humanity values will succeed in releasing the world from the struggle for resources that contributes to suffering and humiliation, which cause violence and war.

Quality of life is the degree to which “a person is healthy and able to participate in or enjoy life events”. Yoga and other wellness and consciousness practices are important. Quality of life also entails a subset of values and conditions, such as a quality education, an environment with clean water and air, respect and kindness freely given and received, internal freedom to think and act independently, as well as liberty, as in external freedom in the context of community.

Quality of life claims the values of justness and equity, which are based in rule of law and a civic authority based on the social contract. French biologist Alexis Carrel put it existentially: “The quality of life is more important than life itself.”

In the end, quality of life is personal. Low quality of life limits the human condition. A high quality of life provides the conditions where each individual can find their purpose. Important in the sustainability of the values of quality of life is how the actions of each person and community is connected to all others. Peacemaking is a relationship between individuals and society. It is how people feel about how they are treated and whether the values they hold are being addressed by the community.

The following is a sampling from a survey distributed in March, 2020, that inquired of leaders of Cities of Peace initiatives around the world: What is most important to your community. Many of those who responded chose to speak of Quality of Life, as shown below:

“Quality of life is what keeps us drenched in vitality. If we are happy and grateful with what we are achieving and we are prosperous, whether at work, family, general well-being, it makes us move forward with optimism to move forward with our lives and everything that is related to it. In turn, the security of keeping us free to do all this and be able to continue will make us abundant in terms of quality of life. Everything is a sum of actions that make life itself grow in all its fields.”

-- Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina

“Quality of life, because without it, safety and prosperity alone are insufficient ingredients for building a selfsustaining culture of peace. There must be overflowing joy.”

-- Eugene, Oregon, United States


“It is quality of life that brings happiness and in peace, we say peace starts with a smile. If people in the community are happy and with good health, safety and prosperity comes later.”

-- Ntungamo, Western Region, Uganda

“The quality of life actually involves safety and prosperity and is one of the permanent objectives that we have as negotiators and administrators of conflicts, peace between people and nations. We must attend to our own quality of life and that of others, favor empathy, care for human rights and social inclusion.”

-- Sangolqui, Pichincha, Ecuador

“Quality of life: From the moment that everyone has access to clean water, sewage, education, food and health, the world begins to improve. All of this is everyone’s right and an excellent path to the long-awaited World Peace.” Curtiba, Parané, Brazil

For humanity to achieve peaceful coexistence, the values of a better world must be realized for a majority of the people. The work of peace is made more difficult because it entails an evolution of human consciousness. Implementing and institutionalizing the essential values of a better world must be embraced by humanity. All people must be included in its benefits. With the goal to deliver the overarching values of safety, prosperity and quality of life, a new social contract is required to solidify the cooperation and consensus of citizens.

Peacemaking within nations would be to ensure the values of safety, prosperity, and quality of life as the Consensus Value of Peace™. Racism, bigotry, discrimination, segregation and unfairness would be antonyms for the values activated by peacemaking. Understanding, embracing, accepting, tolerating, respect and encouragement are virtues for which nations would be responsible.

As Mother Teresa said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

J. Frederick Arment is the founder of the association of International Cities of Peace, Chair of the Board for Cities of Peace, Inc. and Lead Facilitator, International Cities of Peace. He is an educator, lecturer, author on peace studies and a strategy consultant for nonprofit organizations. In addition to several novels, his nonfiction books include “The Elements of Peace: How Nonviolence Works” (McFarland, 2012) and “The Economics of Peace: Freedom, the Golden Rule, and Broadening Prosperity” (McFarland, 2015). International Cities of Peace is in Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC, the United Nations body for Non-governmental Organizations, which has nearly 400 member Cities of Peace in over 70 countries on all six continents.

Photo by Andy Snow Yoga & A Culture of Peace and Non-Violence

Peace Day Chicago

The City of Chicago will celebrate the 44th anniversary of Peace Day this September with a beautiful public observance highlighting unity and diversity in our city and world. Chicago pioneered the observance of Peace Day in 1978 with a free downtown celebration organized by The Peace School, a not-for-profit organization celebrating its 50th anniversary in Chicago this year.

The Peace School’s founder, Grand Master MyungSuYuSung Kim (1927-1999) came up with the idea of creating Peace Day Chicago. He requested the support of the mayor who issued the city’s first Proclamation for Peace Day on September 7, 1978. In it, the mayor asked all Chicagoans to observe One Minute of Silence for World Peace at noon. This observance has continued to be a highlight of every Peace Day Chicago celebration.

Grand Master Kim felt it was essential for people set asidea special day each year to intentionally focus on the positive side of peace (as opposed to “anti- violence”, “anti-war,” etc.), beginning with steps individuals can take to build peace in daily life. He saw this as the way to create the foundation for a broader peace in families, communities, cities, nations and ultimately the world as a whole. He taught that inner peace and world peace are interconnected and that every person has the ability and responsibility to help bring peace to our world.

The Peace School has continued to organize annual Peace Day events with the support of every Chicago mayor since that first celebration in 1978. The Peace School also spent many years asking other cities and states to participate, and by the mid-1980’s had received Peace Day Proclamations from governors in all 50 states and mayors in over 540 US cities. Chicago began observing Peace Day in cooperation with the International Day of Peace after it was established by the United Nations in 1981. For its many years of Peace Day involvement, The Peace School was honored to be named a Peace Messenger organization by the United Nations in 1987.


and Non-Violence

Peace Day Chicago celebrations are lively, heartfelt gatherings that truly build the energy of peace. Daley Plaza, located in the heart of downtown Chicago, has been the venue for most of the annual events. The crowd enjoys live music, cultural performances and speakers from both government and community. Resource tables provide ways to get involved with peacemaking, community initiatives and cultural activities. Best of all, everyone on the Plaza focuses their wishes, thoughts and prayers on peace during the Minute for Peace, and through the interactive Call to Peace and World Peace Flag Ceremony.

As the flags of the world move through the Plaza in a dignified procession, a call and response with the audience is held. One by one, each country is honored by having its name is announced as the flag is presented on stage. The audience responds by saying together, “Peace in…” [each country, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe]. The procession ends with the Earth flag to represent all the unnamed places along with great nature and our living Earth.

Peace Day Chicago celebrations include people of all ages, races, beliefs, cultures and backgrounds joining together in the spirit of peace. International diplomats and other dignitaries stand shoulder to shoulder with students, members of cultural organizations, tourists, community activists, business people, environmental leaders, and people from Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods. Simply being present within this representation of all humanity is an impactful and moving experience. It makes it easy to understand the common bonds we share as members of Earth’s family.

For the 30th anniversary of Peace Day Chicago in 2008, The Peace School formed the Chicago Build the Peace Committee. Chicago’s mayor has served as the Committee’s Honorary Chair each year since. The Committee has a dedicated group of Honorary CoChairs to support its mission including leaders of the Chicago Consular Corps, Illinois Department of Human Rights, Cook County Board, Chicago Commission on Human Relations, City Colleges of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools.

The working group of the Committee is headed by The Peace School and taps into the talent of great local organizations like Greenheart International, The Peace Exchange, Rotarians in Action in Chicago, ABJ Civic Arts Center, Chicago Peace Fellows, United Nations Association USA-Chicago, Forest Preserve District of Cook County and Chicago Cultural Alliance.

The Committee provides free Peace Day materials annually to every Chicago Public School. The goal is for students across the city to engage in positive actions for peace on September 21st, the UN International Day of Peace. This is a wonderful way to focus on peacemaking

& A Culture of Peace

early in the school year. The package of materials includes suggested activities for Peace Day, in addition to encouraging schools to come up with their own ideas. A recent activity created by The Peace School is called Pause for Peace, Pledge for Peace. Other activity examples include peacerelated art, music, poetry, drama, environmental projects, posters and more.

The Peace School also provides free workshops for schools that are planning to attend the celebration in Daley Plaza. Students learn about the meaning of Peace Day, both in Chicago and around the world, and are given the United Nations theme for that year. They are taught flag etiquette and practice carrying flags respectfully in preparation for the Flag Ceremony. Students also practice the Call to Peace so they will be prepared to enthusiastically add their voices to the Call during the celebration. Students are encouraged to take at least one positive action for peace each day as a step toward making Every Day Peace Day.

The celebration of Peace Day Chicago changed over the past two years with the inability to gather in large groups due to pandemic restrictions. The Committee worked hard to create an engaging online Peace Day celebration that included a virtual Flag Ceremony with stunning images from Daley Plaza. Some of the fun short videos created for Chicago’s online Peace Day events were What’s Your Language of Peace?

and Build the Peace Pledge

With the 100 Day Countdown to Peace Day coming up June 13th, this is a good time to look into what may be planned in your area, or to begin making plans for yourself. Know that you will be part of a global community when you observe the UN International Day of Peace. If you are not ready to organize an event, consider starting with a small gathering of family, friends or neighbors. You can begin setting the tone right away by following the daily Call to Peace on social media, honoring one country each day. Get inspired at Peace Day Chicago’s Build the Peace website, the International Day of Peace website and the United Nations’ IDP page.

Peace Day is for all of us. There is plenty of time to get involved in Peace Day 2022!

Jennifer Kim is director of The Peace School, an educational not-for-profit celebrating its 50th Anniversary in Chicago this year. She also chairs the Chicago Build the Peace Committee and has been involved with Peace Day Chicago since it was founded in 1978. Jennifer teaches Peace Breathing Meditation and was an editor of Master Charles Kim’s book, Peace Breathing: Lessons on Achieving Peace in Everyday Life.


Peace Day Philly

The United Nations International Day of Peace, more than any other designated UN day, actively engages civil society across the earth. People, organizations and communities find meaningful and creative activities and action steps each year on and around Peace Day, September 21. Each year, the United Nations choses a global theme for Peace Day. The UN global theme for 2022 is “End Rac-ism - Build Peace.”

Peace Day Philly was founded in 2011 as a grassroots initiative for the Philadelphia region. Since then, Peace Day Philly has involved over 150 organizations offering 170 programs spanning the week in which Peace Day falls, with a special gathering on September 21. At this gathering, we share global and local messages of peace, enjoy drumming and guitar and observe the minute of silence at 12 noon (which takes place in all time zones). We end our gathering with the global intention, “May Peace Prevail On Earth.”

Each year, Peace Day Philly engages in outreach to organizations that can offer their own activities to the public or collaborate with Peace Day Philly or another entity to present a program related to peace or justice. Peace Day Philly encourages activities related to personal, local and global peace. How does an organization’s mission relate to peace? Peace Day Philly promotes all programs on our website including those offered independently by groups and organizations. Programs can be virtual or in-person.

Peace Day Philly programs have been wide ranging, and have included: yoga, police and communi-ty, racial justice, anti-violence, combating racism, environmental issues, global issues related to peace including economics and peace, immigrant and African refugee issues, panel discussions around peace topics, refugee children’s art, meditations, films, interfaith understanding, community activities, concerts, creative activities such as peace poetry, and personal health and wellness. We favor col-laboration, so many Peace Day Philly programs involve one or more organizations.

Some of the organizations that have engaged in Peace Day have included: the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Penn Museum, Penn School of Social Work, Drexel University’s Office of Inter-national Programs, Interfaith Philadelphia, the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual dis-Ability Services, Coalition for Peace Action, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia School District, Philadelphia’s Office of Violence Prevention and the Philadelphia Police Department. The Philadelphia Ethical Society and the United Nations Association of Greater Philadelphia have been our strong partners over the years.

Peace Day Philly has developed a website to make it easy for people, organizations and schools to plug into the day. Our website shares ideas for activities related to children/youth, non-violence, the arts, community, humanitarian aid, social justice, the environment, interfaith, health and sports. Four North American cities have adopted Peace Day Philly’s focus on “What Can You Do?” and have de-veloped their websites accordingly.

Yoga & A Culture of Peace and Non-Violence

Unique nationally, Peace Day Philly encourages the Police Department to offer peace and justice actives in police districts across the city on and around Peace Day. Programs take place in communi-ties and schools, and range from child safety to antibullying talks, cultural performances to art activi-ties and peace projects. Annually, at least half of over 20 districts in the city organize something for Peace Day, many engaging youth. This year, we are working with the Police Department to create a march that will span across 3 police districts in high violence areas.

For the past few years, Peace Day Philly has collaborated with the Philadelphia School District to en-courage Peace Day activities in schools across the city, encouraging them to use the global day as a local day of opportunity. How can Peace Day provide a chance to begin the school year in a positive and unified way? Schools and libraries that have engaged in Peace Day have done peace poetry, peace art, pledges for peace, anti-bullying activities, marches, meditating, peace music, panel dis-cussions and more. In 2021, Peace Day Philly created a toolkit that includes suggestions for getting involved in Peace Day designed for elementary, middle and high school students. This toolkit was distributed across the school district last year.

As of 2018, Peace Day Philly became a non-governmental organization (NGO) affiliated with the United Nations. We have taken a leadership role with the International Day of Peace NGO Committee to connect and encourage ongoing involvement in Peace Day nationally and internationally and to share ideas for observing the day.

Peace Day Philly remains a volunteer, non-profit effort. We invite anyone with an interest in peace to volunteer for or contribute to Peace Day Philly. Contact us at

- To learn more about Peace Day Philly, go to

- To view our past events, go to:

- To watch our video, go to:

- To access our toolkit, go to:

worked in various social services, anti-bullying,


health programs in a number

She also has experience in program development, implementation and evaluation, and has also been involved in the creative arts, theatre for social change and non-profit development and programming. She developed Peace Day Philly from a grassroots initiative in early 2011 through becoming a non-profit organization in late 2013. Since 2018, she has represented Peace Day Philly at the United Nations.

May Peace Prevail in Philadelphia - May Peace Prevail On Earth!
Lisa Parker is a graduate of Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work & Social Research. She is a Philadelphia native and social worker by training who has educational, mental health and public of Philly neighborhoods.

Yoga & A Culture of Peace and Non-Violence

Peace in the Park NY (PIP) was welcomed back to Central Park on July 29th with the splendor and excitement of finally being together in person after a two year absence. We couldn’t wait to be back in Central Park!

Peace in the Park NY is dedicated to the United Nations International Day of Peace. This year, our theme was, “One People. One Planet. One Purpose.”

Because of Covid-19, the Peace in the Park committee morphed the annual festival into a successful monthly online series entitled, “Breathe Peace,” which lasted for more than 18 months. Our virtual PIP series ensured that we sustained our community throughout the pandemic.

The PIP committee is comprised of people with varied skillsets and ideas working together with the one goal of building brotherhood and sisterhood in our world. It starts with the teamwork within the group. The team met weekly for months to plan all the details, putting together a spectacular festival with a large showcase that would free of charge as a public service.

The hope was for anyone who entered the PIP sanctuary, even for a few minutes, that they would take back to their community, to their personal space, a piece of the love and peace that we aspired to offer.


This year was no different than the past twelve years. The Brahma Kumaris and friendly supporting organizations

a wide variety of activities for people of all ages which included humanitarian organizations and NGOs.

Activities included creative meditation, yoga sessions, conversations on health and well-being, and post-COVID trauma. Children were feted with face painting, clowns, magic, storytelling, children’s yoga, and exercises. Interfaith reflections on peace were interspersed throughout the event.

presenting The Naumburg Bandshell stage was a delight of local and international musicians and dance performances from global cultures, including Bharatanatyam, a classical dance from South India, a dance duo from Ghana as well as rock and roll to jazz to jammin’. All in all, Central Park was hopping!

The “Mirror Mirror on the Wall” booth offered visitors an inward journey exploring the concept of “not all that meets the eye is what is”; that most things in life have a deeper meaning; and that we only need to pause and look deeper for understanding. The festival was accented with the presence of dignitaries who offered messages of Peace messages. Dr. Varun Jeph, the Hon. Deputy Consul General of India, greeted everyone with “Namaskar” which is a profound message. It means that regardless of the color of one’s skin or whether one has a faith tradition or not, we may choose to see the divinity in each and every one. This may bring the feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood or family. The Deputy Consul General reiterated that inner virtues such as forgiveness, harmony, respect, acceptance, and nonviolence which foster solidarity and fraternity are those which are handed down from generation to generation.

Our very own, BK Gayatri Naraine, the BKs representative at the UN in NY, reminded us of the beauty of nature which allows us to breathe deeply; bringing harmony with nature and our own inner nature; and in fulfilling our purpose of engaging with one another, whether through music, prayer, or poetry.

Lasting from 12 noon to 7PM, the Festival did not have one moment’s pause of activity. The PIP Committee and the many who volunteered to staff and participate at the event--from serving refreshments, to set-up, to technology and audio, to hospitality crews, and to our multi-talented performers--were tired by sundown. Yet, it was a Peace in the Park, NY, we will not easily forget.

PIP is inspired and sponsored by the Brahma Kumaris, an international non-governmental organization affiliated with the United Nations. The work of the Brahma Kumaris focuses on sharing ancient wisdom that helps to transcend labels such as race, nationality, religion, and gender, and aspires to a global culture of peace and inclusivity. The BKs have over 8500 Centers in 110 countries.

Yoga & A Culture of
Peace and Non-Violence

Some Experiences from participants and visitors:

Congratulations on another successful Peace in the Park! Thank you very much for having my sister and me perform. We loved the whole experience and felt very welcomed by all of your support team. We are truly grateful for the opportunity to spread our culture and joy, and we look forward to working together with you soon.”

“Everyone had a truly great experience at PIP again, it is our pleasure to continue to be a part of it and to be of service in support of you and this awesome event in any way we can…❤”

“It was a good experience. Good variety of information with different booths.”

Sister Sabita Geer represents the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University at the United Nations in New York Headquarters.

MayPeace Prevail On

E arth


Yoga, Healing & Peace

The true human heart vibrates in the frequency of Love. The heart forever gravitates and finds peace and healing through right human relations, unity and compassionate actions. The search for inner peace and harmonious balance with the outer world has been a continuous human journey over the centuries and seems to have gained ever more focus in our current world environment. Our mission as seekers of truth, as peace builders and peace makers unite our hearts as we continue to co create healing and peace through Unity.

The spiritual teacher and visionary, Masahisa Goi of Japan, anchored some 70 years ago a frequency of universal oneness which changed the fabric of human consciousness forever. After the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Masahisa Goi received the prayer, May Peace Prevail On Earth, in deep communion with the Divine. This universal prayer was born out of the ashes of millions

Yoga & A Culture of Peace and Non-Violence

of planetary beings not only of Japan but around the world who suffered the aftermath of a global war and crimes against humanity. Since then, the message and prayer, May Peace Prevail On Earth has become an international message of peace embraced by our global family.

The International Year of Peace was celebrated by the United Nations in 1986. This was the year May Peace Prevail On Earth traveled out of Japan to start her journey of touching hearts and souls. In 1989, May Peace Prevail On Earth International, formerly known as The World Peace Prayer Society, incorporated as a nonprofit organization in the state of New York and became an United Nations NGO soon after.

Over several decades, May Peace Prevail On Earth has served on the United Nations International Day of Peace committees collaborating with other NGOs in support of the Student Observance which takes place at the UN on this day. The peace message exemplifies the spirit of the International Day of Peace embracing people of every faith, culture and tradition. The simple yet powerful message is intergenerational and inter-spiritual bridging hearts to assist in the creation of a Culture of Peace through unity and diversity.

One highlight moment on the International Day of Peace is the ringing of the Peace Bell in the UN Rose Garden. May Peace Prevail On Earth has organized youth over the years to carry our international flags representing the UN member states on this day. The students lead the flag procession into the Rose Garden and surrounds the Secretary General as he rings the Peace Bell and send his message of peace out to the world along with UN Peace Ambassadors and guests.

The spirit of May Peace Prevail On Earth is synonymous to the International Day of Peace. Peace Poles which carry the message of peace in the languages of the world have been planted and rededicated especially in honor of the International Day of Peace. The World Peace Flag Ceremony which invokes peace to prevail in every nation and region of the world has also been a highlight presentation at the UN Student Observance on IDP. The voices of youth calling for peace to prevail on earth with the waving of international flags sends frequencies of healing and peace to every corner on earth and to every human heart.

The 2022 theme of the International Day of Peace is End Racism, Build Peace. Racism is multifaceted touching upon issues involving racial and gender inequality, climate change, indigenous rights, women’s freedom, gun control, violence and the list goes on. It is a chilling reminder that our work is not over and that every joint effort we make to quell the fire of racism accumulates to build the future destiny of our global family.

As we celebrate the 8th anniversary of The International Day of Yoga and the 77th anniversary of the International Day of Peace, let us walk hand in hand, heart to heart in shining our Divine Spark for the evolution of human consciousness and a thriving Culture of Peace for all.

May Peace Prevail On Earth

Fumi Johns Stewart is Executive Director of May Peace Prevail On Earth International promoting MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH activities worldwide. She was instrumental in introducing the May Peace Prevail On Earth movement to the international community including The Peace Pole Project and The World Peace Flag Ceremony. Fumi also serves as US liaison to sister organization, the Goi Peace Foundation of Japan and the Fuji Sanctuary.


Following the Unifying Threads of the Culture of Peace

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”


I am trusting the inherent unifying thread of the Culture of Peace.

United Nations Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury spoke to the Rotary E-Club of World Peace on 1 September 2020 on “Peace, Peacebuilding and the Culture of Peace” at my invitation. Given that his roles at the UN have included Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations, President of the UN Security Council, President of the UNICEF Board, and co-founder of the Global Movement for the Culture of Peace, I virtually introduced Ambassador Chowdhury to Rotary International President-Elect Shekhar Mehta on February 14, 2021. This was an intentional step to enhance the relationship between the United Nations and Rotary International, raise Rotary’s profile within the UN, and to introduce the UN’s Declaration and Programme of Action on the Culture of Peace (A/RES/53/243) to the leadership of Rotary International.

Following and co-manifesting the high vibrational thread of the Culture of Peace has been a continuous journey for me which now led me to serving as the President of the Rotary E-Club of World Peace 2021-2022. This is a capstone to my 40 plus years of peacebuilding dedication.

I am currently seeing the emergence of more dots and threads to be connected. As I explored the Light on Light website, I came across and watched the video on Unitive Justice and Global Security where Bob Atkinson said, “We are living in an unprecedented dark night of the collective soul…. A holistic vision prioritizes the whole, brings about cooperation and harmony and places a unity of purpose above all else. This consciousness calls for a complete shift in how we related in all things. A new story of wholeness is emerging, a global community built upon a Culture of Peace is forming.” I have experienced first-hand the emergence and evolution of this global community.

While living in the San Francisco Bay Area I became a member of the UN NGO Pathways To Peace (PTP) since 1980 when it was coming into being and I collaborated with co-founder and president Avon Mattison until her recent passing. I continue today as the current president of PTP. Avon and PTP helped to establish the International Day of Peace (IDP) at the UN in 1981, and we organized the first major civil society IDP celebration in San Francisco in 1984. PTP helped evolve the concept of the Culture of Peace in the 1980’s and subsequently collaborated with Ambassador Chowdhury and others to provide wide-spread education and inspiration.

Yoga & A Culture of Peace and Non-Violence

I understood the fundamental importance of the concept of the Culture of Peace, and I knew that it must be grounded and made practical on a day to day, personal and community-wide basis to realize its promise. When I moved to Ashland, Oregon my partner Irene Kai and I inspired the Ashland city and community to learn about and support the idea of the Culture of Peace. We co-created the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission (ACPC) as a citizen’s commission in 2015 as a proof of concept. The intention was to manifest the Culture of Peace in a small city and community and demonstrate how essential this is to be created on both the local and global levels. Among others our initiatives included working with the Ashland City Council, public schools, police department, homeless shelter, Southern Oregon University, chamber of commerce, service clubs, and contributed bi-monthly newspaper articles about the many faces of the Culture of Peace for six years.

One of the highlights was installing the World Peace Flame Monument, only the 2nd in the United States, which became a beacon of light for the Culture of Peace. Ambassador Chowdhury was so impressed with ACPC’s groundbreaking work that he flew to Ashland from NYC to experience the accomplishments for himself.

After providing a virtual presentation about ACPC to the Rotary E-Club of World Peace in 2018, I was invited to join and subsequently invited to serve as its 2021-2022 president. I did so predominately because of the opportunity to work with Rotary’s amazing global organizational structure and reach, its true dedication to service, the EClubs leadership role, and the evolving openness and support of peacebuilding and the Culture of Peace. The EClub is influential within Rotary International which is itself evolving to be known as a global peacebuilding organization. Among the dots and threads which are now being connected because of my participation are the following.

• Co-Lead strategic planning for peacebuilding

• Connect our EClub and members to Rotary International (RI) peacebuilding activities

• Introduce the Culture of Peace to the EClub, District 5330, and RI

• Engage the EClub in World Unity Week 2021, 2022

• Introduce International Cities of Peace

• Engage in International Day of Peace and 11 Days of Global Unity

• Initiate presentations for UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66)

• Co-lead The Heart of Peace music concert fundraiser for Ukrainian refugees

Whether at the UN, City of Ashland, Rotary EClub of World Peace, or UN Yoga Day, the Culture of Peace creates and unifies more dots.

Given that, “The term yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj which means meeting, union, communion, consummation,…”* what threads and dots can come from initiating, Yoga of the Culture of Peace?

* Singh, Sant Kirpal, The Crown of Life, Franklin: Sat Sandesh Books, 1973, pg. 4

David Wick has held the vision and values of personal and societal evolution to our highest and best. He currently serves as Immediate Past President, Rotary EClub of World Peace; Executive Director, Ashland Culture of Peace Commission; and President, Pathways to Peace. David has over 30 years of executive and management training and organizational development consulting experience, and has held important positions within Sun Microsystems, Stanford University, and Levi Strauss.


Weaving Peace in Catatumbo, Colombia

From the UN Dept of Political Affairs, May 27, 2022--This article is based on a story, in Spanish, written by Diego Morales, Public Information Officer — Cúcuta Region, UN Verification Mission in Colombia

The peace agreement reached in Colombia in 2016 put an end to the long-armed conflict between the Government and the FARC-EP guerrillas. For 13,000 former combatants, the accord meant starting a new life.

In Colombia, the number of former combatants who are participating in collective and individual productive projects as part of their economic reincorporation has increased steadily over the past few years. The latest report of the Secretary-General on the situation in the country notes that as of March 2022, there were 116 collective projects benefiting 3,855 people — including 1,089 women — and 3,918 individual projects benefiting 4,736 people, among them 1,097 women. This means that 63 per cent of all confirmed former combatants now take part in such initiatives. Among women former combatants, the proportion is even higher: 70 per cent.

One of these collective productive projects is to be found in the former Territorial Training and Reincorporation Area (ETCR) of Caño Indio, in the Catatumbo region near Colombia’s border with Venezuela. There, and despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the leaders of the local women’s committee recently realized a lifelong dream and built their own clothing workshop in the ETCR.

Created with the help of different organizations, “Stitches of Peace” is a space not just for work but also for women’s empowerment.

“This is a space for us and here we not only come to work with the sewing machines, here we meet and let off steam among all of us. Many women are experiencing genderbased violence,” says Katherine Avella, the leader of the initiative. “Sometimes the conditions in their families are not optimal, and this space helps us talk and solve our problems as women. We seek economic autonomy to prevent gender-based violence.”

The United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia, as part of its mandate for the economic reincorporation of former combatants and social leaders, formed a strategic alliance with fashion designer and entrepreneur Lina Garcés, who brought her team of experts to the Caño Indio ETCR to train the women in haute couture and marketing techniques. The reincorporated women learned about the world of fashion and strategies to be competitive. They acquired new skills in different sewing techniques and began their own women’s clothing line.

Our brand is called Ixora, inclusive and autonomous,” Avella says. “Ixora is a flower from Catatumbo that blooms all year round because, despite the dryness of the climate, the sun, lightning and thunder, it is always resilient. We are in a difficult land, but there is always joy.”

“It is a wonderful experience to work with these women,” says entrepreneur Lina Garcés. “We are in a personal discovery of each of them, they all have a fascinating story.”

The women of Ixora showcased their work at their first runway show in January 2022, at an event in the city of Cúcuta.

Yoga & A Culture of Peace and Non-Violence

“These women in the process of reincorporation come from a complex territory and today they are fashion designers,” the mayor of Cúcuta, Jairo Yáñez, said. “We are committed to accompanying them. These women from Caño Indio are an example for a peacebuilding plan: These seeds of our rural population will become our essential fruit to move our economy by supporting entrepreneurs.”

Since that first show in Cúcuta, the women have also taken their designs to Bogotá, the Colombian capital, and are now working towards participating in the Colombiamoda fair in Medellín, the country’s most important fashion event, in July. In 2022, the group of women behind Ixora plans to continue to strengthen their brand and train in marketing tools that would allow them to consolidate their business model and, they hope, conquer catwalks nationwide.


74 Years of the Genocide Convention

Our most important task is to transform our consciousness so that violence is no longer an option for us in our personal lives, that understanding that a world of peace is possible only if we relate to each other as peaceful beings, one individual at a time.

Sustainable Development Goal 16 concerning Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions includes overlooked mechanism that many may not necessarily be aware. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention) together with the UN SG Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide are two significant ones.

The crime of genocide is defined by the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group. Accountability is key in recognizing the deep human suffering, obtaining justice for the victims, in rebuilding public trust in the institutions discharging justice and security, preventing future crimes and by promoting reconciliation which contributes to establishing harmonious co-existence and a sustainable peace.

As former UN Under Secretary General and SG SA, Adama Dieng, wrote four years ago in an Op-ed commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Genocide Convention, the Genocide Convention was “the first human rights treaty to be adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, on 9 December 1948, just three years after the birth of the United Nations. Its adoption was largely the result of the tireless efforts of one man, Raphael Lemkin who, after losing most of his family in the Holocaust, was determined to do what he could to make sure that this crime could never happen again. Some six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, one of the most devastating human tragedies of the twentieth century, as well as many others whom the Nazis considered “undesirable”. The Genocide Convention represents the United Nations commitment to the often quoted “never again”; a commitment to learn from and not repeat history.”

Building on the Genocide Convention, in 1998, the International Criminal Court (ICC) was established. The

ICC is a permanent court that is up and running and has adjudicated atrocity claims in the Hague. Thereafter in 2005, the UN SG established the post of SA on the Prevention of Genocide, to ensure that there is an intermediary within the UN organization that can foreworn the SG and the greater UN system including the Security Council, to early warning signs of genocide and to promote for preventative steps.

In 2005, at the World Summit, all UN Member States took trailblazing action by committing to protect their peoples from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity as well as to take collective action when States are unable or unwilling to do so. Today, this doctrine is known as, “the responsibility to protect” or R2P.

In spite of all this, roughly 152 states have ratified the Genocide Convention. Given the circumstances of increased violence with the war in Europe and at least 27 armed conflicts around the globe, universal ratification has not been reached and remains a critical undertaking. It would underscore the Genocide Convention’s enduring importance as the legal standard for ensuring the punishment of this crime, in addition to its potential as a tool for prevention. Political will is critical to this achievement. As we look toward the 75th Anniversary of the Genocide Convention, let us move from words to deeds to accomplish universal ratification. The rule of law is primary.

At the same time, we know from the experience in Rwanda, that reconciliation nation-wide is essential. This entails initiatives at the local level with the active participation by all members of the community. This provides the opportunity for healing the deep trauma of individuals as well as the collective society as a whole. It can also re-establish the dignity and worth of the human person and reinforces the universality of human rights.

Yoga & A Culture of Peace and
Deepak Chopra, MD

Yoga for Unity

In traditional Yoga, you have the Kriyas. There are proper cleaning practices, starting with Jal Neti, washing the nose, and the Kunjal Kriya, which are practices for the digestive system. Then you have the Asanas, which clean knots of energy in your shoulders, your hips, etc.

Movement also allows energy or prana to flow without any hindrance. This is what we mean by cleaning. We let energy flow from the gross, the physical, to the more subtle with Pranayama, which cleans the nadis. The nadis are channels of vital energy flow. Prana flows through the nadis, and when we do Nadi-Shudhi (alternate nostril breathing) the nadis are cleansed.

Beyond this, there are deeper, subtler layers that can be accessed with the inner practices of Heartfulness. We have an every-day cleaning practice that purifies the field of consciousness and the emotional load of the day.

So, Heartfulness Yoga covers all the layers of your being –from the physical to the mind, and then to the core, the heart. It’s the only practice that allows a beginner to start working on all the layers from day one, rather than after many years of practice.

That’s a revolution! Many other schools already teach Asanas and Pranayama. But Pranahuti (Transmission) and the Cleaning practice add depth to the practice of meditation, which in my experience is the need of the hour.

Meditation enables the values that are intrinsic to a human being. We need people to genuinely feel that they don’t want to fight each other, and that comes from the heart. If we can clean the heart, which Heartfulness Cleaning does, if we can nourish the good qualities of the heart, which Transmission does, we grow naturally into confident, balanced human beings, and that will change the world.

Meditation enables the values that are intrinsic to a human being. We need people to genuinely feel that they don’t want to fight each other, and that comes from the heart.

We’re also running a project of unity. Unity is the meaning of the word Yoga. First, unite within yourself. Then, you grow by your neighbors also growing. There’s a need to take care of the entire population. We grow together, and that is the idea behind this program, Yoga4Unity – 100 Days of Yoga. The beauty is to recognize that we grow together. People have started practicing Yoga for that reason. They want to grow, they want to change. When they feel the change, the magic of yoga, they want to become Yoga teachers.

You can start wherever you want in yoga. Start with Asanas if you want, or start with meditation. First know that there’s a science behind it, which is ancient and universal. It has nothing to do with religion. It starts with the Yamas and Niyamas, and moves toward Samadhi. We all agree on the same ancient texts, which are the base of the science of Yoga. It is being adapted and re-introduced in the present times, and this is not something we can do working in our own corners in isolation. We need to unite.

Fortunately, when we invited some of the great mother Yoga schools of India to join us, such as Parmarth Niketan, Iyengar, Sivananda, Kaivalyadhama, Krishnamacharya, and the teachers abroad, they all said, “Yes, we will give our time.” In this second year, we’ve consciously built the program together and we have a 100-day curriculum for four different audiences. There are programs for the elderly, for children, for enthusiasts, and for Yoga teachers.


Unity is the meaning of the word Yoga. First, unite within yourself. Then, you grow by your neighbors also growing. There’s a need to take care of the entire population.

The directors of all the schools have 30 to 40 years teaching experience. They offer what they can in these sessions. It’s an opportunity, it’s free, and it’s online. You can register whenever you want to. The content is put up, and you follow it at your own pace. It is a 100–day course culminating in June 21, the International Day of Yoga.

The Heartfulness Yoga Academy is based in Kanha Shanti Vanam, Hyderabad, at the international headquarters of Heartfulness. It’s a super place. The Academy offers regular yoga classes and meditation training free of charge, both in situ and online. We have introductory Yoga programs, and short trainings for people who want to add to their meditation, for example, yoga on the chair and simple breathing practices.

The Academy also offers teacher-training programs, and other educational, paid programs, with the curricula and criteria needed for certification in India and abroad. You can become a certified international Yoga trainer or a yoga professional by taking one of these programs.

The best time to practice is early in the morning, but simply start whenever you can. Just do it and things will fall into place. It will change your life. Let the magic of yoga happen.

Nowadays, there’s a lot of lightness in the way I look at life and the way I handle difficulties. My yogic practice gives me a line of support, a lifeline to manage any situation I feel uncomfortable with. One of the enormous changes I feel is that I have learned to manage anger. I used to have a very angry side to myself, but I don’t have the energy to be angry anymore. It’s a waste of time. There are other ways to deal with disappointment. I’m sure other things have changed too. I feel that I have cultivated lightness and softness, but you would have to ask my husband and my children, and the team here at the Heartfulness Yoga Academy.

Please join us! Thank you.

& A Culture of Peace and Non-Violence
Veronique Nicolai is the Director of the Heartfulness Yoga Academy and the coordinator of the Yoga4Unity platform. As a pediatrician, she is also passionate about mental and physical well-being for all ages, especially children. She was a coordinator of the International Heartfulness Training Programs and a co-founder of the Heartfulness program for cancer patients.


“Our mission with Lei of Aloha for World Peace is to send a powerful message of love, peace, and solidarity, woven into each part of the lei is the reminder that we are all connected. We are one.” Ron Panzo, co-founder of Lei of Aloha for World Peace

Lei of Aloha for World Peace is a Hawaiian non-profit organization that weaves and offers a mile-long ti leaf lei in an effort to share solidarity during times of tragedy and celebration and to spread the spirit of aloha as part of sacred Hawaiian cultural ceremonies.

Founded in 2015, Lei of Aloha for World Peace began after Paris suffered a terrorist bombing. Ron Panzo, Timothy Lara, and founder of the Cynthia Rose Foundation, Sherrie Austin decided to weave a one-mile-long lei and deliver it to Paris to lay at the site of the attack. Youth delegates heading to the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference joined to offer solidarity and condolences to the Paris families.

Most recently, Lei of Aloha for World Peace offered a mile-long lei to the community of Uvalde, Texas to honor the 21 individuals who tragically lost their lives and their grieving families.

Leis have been delivered to Orlando, Florida in the aftermath of the shooting at The Pulse nightclub; Parkland, Florida; Christchurch, New Zealand; and to the people at Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

A lei was also created to promote caring for the earth and to honor the return of Hawaiian outrigger, Hōkūleʻa. This Polynesian doublehulled voyaging canoe went on a three-year, world-wide voyage to 150 ports, 18 nations, and eight of UNESCO’s Marine World Heritage sites.

In addition to creating ti leaf leis, Lei of Aloha for World Peace partners with various organizations such as Toy Parade, Inc., World Central Kitchen, Save the Children, and Catholic Relief Services to support charitable events. They have recently partnered with a local benefit on Maui to raise funds to help refugees from Ukraine and neighboring countries.


Weaving together ti leaves from Kauai to Hawaii Island Kaupo to Keanae to Haiku Weaving the love and aloha to wrap around the people of the World The Lei of Aloha brings us together to support, to heal, to connect and to lift our collective spirits when we lift one, we lift us all The Lei of Aloha is about connection We sit side by side

Weaving lei, weaving conversation, weaving friendship, weaving prayers Weaving leaves of every color: red, yellow, pink, light green, dark green Weaving people: gay, straight, Hawaiian, Asian, Hispanic, Caucasian People of all colors and faiths Young, and young at heart Once woven and joined together It is impossible to tell us apart WE ARE ONE



Om Shanti, sisters, and brothers. I bring to you today, on behalf of the San Francisco Interfaith Council, the love, the blessings and the prayers of the 800 communities of faith and religious institutions in our City. When I arrived today, I watched with great attention the beautiful slideshow that was presented. If a picture says a thousand words, that slideshow not only showed the love of Sister Chandru for your community, but also her love for the greater Interfaith community which she so lovingly fostered in San Francisco. I have heard it said that most people will never pick up a book on the faith of another, but rather will only glean appreciation of their faith in what they observe in the words and actions of that other. In the case of Sister Chandru, her example and being professed volumes of the essence and beauty of the Brahma Kumaris faith.

Sister Chandru was a Pioneer in the Interfaith world. We here in San Francisco are blessed with not one, but three Interfaith centers. We have the United Religions Initiative, which is a Global Network. We have the Interfaith Center at the Presidio, which is a regional base and we have here in our City, the San Francisco Interfaith Council. Sister Chandru along with Rita Semel, who sends her love and so wished she could be here today, was a Pioneer in founding each.

I first met Sister Chandru in 2006. We were gathered by Bishop William Swing at Grace Cathedral and together walked the Labyrinth there as a metaphor of the reaffirmation of the “Roadmap for Peace in the Middle East,” on the occasion of its 10th anniversary. There she was, in her beautiful brightness, and we were all clothed in our different religious garbs. As we were walking on this Labyrinth, it struck me, at that moment, that we were all journeying to the same destination. We looked a little different, we prayed a little different, but we all journeyed in that same destination. This is exactly what Sister Chandru professed. She always showed up. She didn’t just show up though, she showed up with her light, her peace, her life, her beautiful smile, and that signature twinkle in her eye.

Our organization was founded in response to a homeless crisis in our City, and yet, for the first eighteen years, we were a volunteer organization and we ourselves were homeless. Sister Chandru not only showed up, but opened and shared her home with us, thus allowing us to have a home at your beautiful Center. Actions speak louder than words. She not only did that, but she shared her community with us. We were very blessed that she shared Sister Elizabeth, and sisters Sukanya, and Kyoko, and so many of you, in our work and in our life, because each one of you has enriched the work and mission of the San Francisco Interfaith Council.

In her honor, I am wearing this stole, which was a gift from Sister Chandru on the occasion of the visit of Dadi Janki. I remember that day with great affection and fondness, because on that occasion Sister Chandru was just beaming. She was beaming because she was welcoming us into her spiritual family and sharing it with us. It was Sister Chandru at her happiest and best!

I once had a conversation with her about reincarnation. As he was so peaceful and always smiled, I told her that I wanted to come back as brother Mario. With that ever-so-famous smile, she suggested, “you may want to re-think that thought!” But seriously, I’ve been giving that a lot of thought to the belief in reincarnation since learning of her passing. I know that every time I see a smile, that every time I feel the peace that emanates from another, that, in fact, will be the reincarnation of our beloved Sister Chandru.

May God bless this beautiful community and continue to shower blessings upon the Brahma Kumaris. We thank you, with the deepest gratitude, for sharing Sister Chandru with us.

2022 Light on Light Magazine

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Articles inside

Yoga for Unity by Veronique Nicolai

pages 113-114

Tribute to Sister Chandru by Michael Pappas, M. Div, Executive Director of the San Francisco Interfaith Council

pages 116-118

Lei of Aloha for World Peace by Vanessa Valencia

page 115

by Denise Scotto, Esq

page 112

United Nations Department of Political Affairs: Weaving Peace in Columbia

pages 110-111

Following the Unifying Threads of the Culture of Peace by David Wick

pages 108-109

Yoga, Healing & Peace by Fumi Johns Stewart

pages 106-107

Peace in the Park by Sabita Geer

pages 102-105

Peace Day Philly by Lisa Parker

pages 100-101

Peace Day Chicago by Jennifer Kim

pages 97-99

Quality of Life & Its Relation to Peace by J. Frederick Arment

pages 95-96

Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Day of Peace

page 94

of Mayors for Peace

page 93

Profile in Peace: Dr. Robert Muller, Former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) by Denise Scotto, Esq

pages 88-90

United Nations Secretary-General 100 Day Countdown to the International Day of Peace

page 92

The Encounters of Wisdom by Olivier Onghena-’t Hooft

pages 86-87

A Global Governance Paradigm Shift: First Principles First by Joni Carly

pages 83-85

Yoga & Nuclear Weapons by Monica Willard

pages 81-82

Yoga in a Time of War by Farah [Sarita] Nazarali

pages 79-80

How I’m Making My Life Green, at UNICEF and at Home by Aysel Toprakli

pages 72-73

“Be the Love” A 21st Century Yoga of the Earth by Sofia Stril-Rever

pages 77-78

Soil, Food & Nutrition by Isha Foundation

pages 68-70

The Embrace of Good Health by Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi

pages 64-65

The Importance of Yoga on Women’s Mental Health & Wellbeing by Padmini Murthy MD, MPH, FRSPH, FAMWA

pages 66-67

World Yoga Day: A Silent Revolution by Rev. Guru Dileepkumar Thankappan

pages 60-62

UN General Assembly Declares that Access to a Clean & Healthy Environment is a Universal Human Right by Denise Scotto, Esq

page 59

International Day for Women in Diplomacy by Denise Scotto, Esq

page 58

Ending Plastics Pollution: Adoption of the UNEA Plastics Resolution by Denise Scotto, Esq

pages 56-57

The Story of Yoga Radicals Inspiring Stories from Pioneers in the Field by Allie Middleton

pages 53-54

The Goddess is Alive and Well: Summer Solstice 2022 in Avalon by Gil Agnew

pages 51-52

by Acharini Mirta Bardo, Swamini Shaktidevananda Saraswati

pages 47-50

YOGA - the Spine of Life by Sheila Chaman

pages 45-46

The Importance of Mental Well Being Compiled from the Teachings of Gurudev Swami Chidananda of Sivananda Ashram by Swami Yatidharmananda

pages 42-44

by Deepak Chopra, MD & Dr. David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri

pages 39-41

by Dzambling Cho Tab Khen (Alfredo Sfeir-Younis

pages 36-38

Peace Breathing by Jennifer Kim

pages 34-35

What Needs to be Remembered by Swamini Adityananda Saraswati

pages 31-33

Peace and Non-violence by Yogmata

pages 22-24

Cultivating a Peaceful World for our Children by Swami Prakashananda

pages 25-30

Returning to Harmony by Sister Jayanti

pages 19-21

The Path to God from The New Sun by Hilda Charleton

pages 15-16

Message from the United Nations Civil Society Unit, Outreach Division, Hawa Taylor-Kamara Diallo, Chief

page 12

2022 Welcome from the International Day of Yoga Committee at the UN by Denise Scotto, Esq., Chair

pages 5-7

From Inner to Outer Peace: Self-Transformation to Societal Change by HH Amma Sri Karunamayi

pages 17-18

Message from New York State Congressman the Honorable Dr. Nader J. Sayegh

page 14

Message from the Honorable Consul General of India in New York, Randhir Jaiswal

page 11

A Special Message from Light on Light by Karuna, Host Editor, Light on Light Magazine

pages 8-10

8th World Yoga Day Remarks, from the United Nations Global Department of Global Communications, by Jacky Tong

page 13
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