March 22 – by Caroline Schlater
The Sanskrit term yoga translates to mean union or to join. Yoga is about finding the connections between our mind and the body, the body and the breath, and the breath and the mind. It also helps us to understand the higher self and spirit within us, and of the universe. This opens our eyes to the deeper connections we have with each other and with our planet. The transformative path of yoga allows you to tap into the parts of your consciousness that truly grasps the connectedness within every facet of creation.
With practice, dedication, and time you begin to realize in the words of the Beatles that, “I am he, as you are he, as you are me, and we are all together.” When you come to know and understand that your pain is my pain and your love is my love, your heart begins to crack open to the power and possibilities of building and strengthening these connections within yourself, your family, in your community, and all around the world.
Today my father and I visited a nonprofit here in Mysore, India named Operation Shanti. Operation Shanti provides food, shelter, medical services, and educational assistance to the exploited, at risk, and destitute children of this city. They are currently serving and caring for 22 girls and 22 boys at their home base Karunya Mane, but are looking for opportunities to grow and expand their projects.
Meeting and playing with the children was an incredible experience I will never forget. From the moment we walked in they were smiling from ear-to-ear, eager to introduce themselves and show us around their home. All of the children were so gentle and kind. They took the time to ask us our names and birthdays, our favorite colors, where we were from, and much more. They excitedly showed us and explained some of the things they had been working on: school, artwork, karate, dancing, and yoga! As I connected with these children my heart was suddenly overwhelmed with gratitude.
To see these hopeful, enthusiastic, and loving children, even given some of their unfortunate circumstances, shows the strength and importance of the connection between this community and operation. I feel so grateful to have the life that I have been given, and also feel blessed for the ability to be able to travel the world to broaden my perspectives on life and bring that into my teachings. Even though this country is filled with poverty, corruption, and sadness there is also beauty and faith unlike anything I have ever witnessed.
Experiencing the beauty and warmth working through Operation Shanti, I can’t help but feel the deeper connections between us as humans. Our species has this inherent need and desire to search for some form of connection, through relationships, a spiritual path, devotion, love, or whatever may speak to you. This is universal, and a reminder that I am no different than you. Yoga has been my path of finding connection.
Yoga allows you to nurture and liberate the mind to find a greater sense of self-awareness. This awareness is the key in discovering the power of connection. Life becomes more meaningful and you begin to realize how your actions and thoughts affect the rest of the world. You begin to see that no matter where you may live in this world, we are all one. My pain is your pain, and my love is your love. We are all part of the same prana or cosmic energy manifesting itself in this universe. Use your connections to make a difference in your life and in others. I hope you find the connections you are looking for, a connection that truly lets your spirit sore.
Find out more about Operation Shanti and how you can be apart of this inspiring movement at http://www.operation-shanti.org.