Voting, The U.S. Constitution and...Yoga? Danville Yogis Vote!

How yoga can guide us to make the best choices as citizen voters in the November 6 election in a non-partisan...or beyond-partisan way..."to form a more perfect union". Namaste: Leena

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.  --The preamble of the United States Constitution 

The U. S. Constitution is...yoga.  Yoga literally means to “yoke”, to unite, to join, to be in harmony mentally, spiritually, physically and within relationships, community and nature.  We are a country with an intention of yoga.  The ancient wisdom and science of the five yamas of yoga can guide us to make the best choices as citizen voters in the November 6 election in a non-partisan...or beyond-partisan way.


First, some background...its a bit yo-geeky, but stay with me. More at my website:  http://ompeace.com/yogaashtanga.html.

Classical yoga teachings describe the eight-limbed system “Ashtanga Yoga”*; an inclusive guide to living ones best human life individually and in community. The eight limbs* are found within the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, one of the six classical scriptures originating in what is now India. 

When we speak of styles of yoga, we generally mean styles of yoga asana (posture), the physical exercise practice. Asanas are one of these eight limbs*.  The Yoga Sutras (sutra = thread) are based in principle, they are validated through every major religion and philosophy.

Yamas (pronounced: "yum-us" not yams!)are another of these eight limbs* of yoga. Yama means restraint, control or perhaps parameters or criteria. 

Here are the five Yamas:

Non-harming (Ahimsa) is the most important quality in all of yoga. It includes being non-harming in thought, word and deed to the greatest extent possible.  From Sun Tzu (The Art of War): 'The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.'  Ahimsa does not mean pacifist.  Ahimsa includes actions which may appear to be harming, but which must be taken to restrain additional violence. (Example:  A mother defending her child from an attacker.)  Ahimsa requires great discernment.  

Truthfulness (Satya) Regarding voting, this yama requires us to tell the truth to ourselves regardless of political party talking points. We do research. We evaluate who has been most truthful in word and deed. Ahimsa trumps Satya. Regarding foreign policy, this is tricky. From Sun Tzu (The Art of War): “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”

Non-stealing (Asteya) Wars are being fought for control of a country’s resources.  That is stealing.

Non-hoarding/non-possessiveness/non-attachment (Aparigraha). Here we may start looking at ourselves and our country's relationship to each other and to the earth’s resources. Global climate change can be brought under control through actions based in aparigraha. Laws are being enacted so that our vehicles do not waste fuel or pollute the air we breathe. The U. S Constitution preamble instructs: provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.  In business, there is a profit motive.  Yet, one of the four aspects of life from the Indian scriptures is ardha—wealth.  Business, to be truly beneficial and wealthy, can be both profitable while harmonious with the other yamas.

Purity/cleanliness/chastity (Brahmacharya) This yama includes physical and mental cleanliness, control over the pull of the five senses (pleasure, comfort), celibacy or chastity.  We extend this to working for clean air, water, food, eating a healthy diet, honoring marriage vows and not being consumed with sexual gratification or obsession.

In the USA, each citizen has the weighty responsibility to participate in the political process.  This responsibility requires energy, study, judgment and discernment. The word root of the word politic comes from the Greek polītikós, meaning civic; "of, for, or relating to citizens". 

No politician, leader or person is perfect.The yamas offer criteria to help us make some of the most important decisions of our lives in a non-partisan way.

As a yogi, how will you cast your vote?

Please add your comments on each of the yamas and additional yogic wisdom to help us make the decisions towards a more perfect union.

Vote early! Vote now. Your vote counts.

*The eight limbs are:  Yamas, Niyamas, Pranayama, Asana, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi. 

For more information, visit my website:  http://ompeace.com/yogaashtanga.html

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