Looking for a yogic way to spread the word that love is the answer? Get inverted! To raise awareness for world peace, world-famous yogi Sri Dharma Mittra and yoga teacher Mark Kan will attempt to gather the most people ever in Headstand at Lord’s Cricket Ground in Marleybone, London, on Sunday March 5th, from 2–4 p.m. local time.
"If you practice any aspect of yoga for selfish reasons, it’s not really yoga at all, according to The Bhagavad-Gita," Mittra tells Yoga Journal. "Anytime we are able to make our practice an offering, our practice becomes really powerful. Experiencing this leads to lots of enthusiasm to pursue and keep at it. The secret of success in yoga practice is constant practice. Success in practice will lead to inner peace, which will have a great effect on everything, eventually leading to peace for all, everywhere."
In the following Q&A, the 77-year-old yoga master explains how Headstand can lead to inner (and thereby world) peace, and how practicing with others can teach us compassion.
Yoga Journal: What inspired you to gather the most people in a Headstand for world peace? Why now?
Sri Dharma Mittra: One of my longtime students has had this idea for a while to try and do a Headstand for world peace. We felt this would work well in London, since I’ve only had time to travel to Europe once in the past seven years, and many people came from all over to join in the practice then, so we are looking forward to meeting with them again in London this March. We are doing this to raise consciousness for world peace, not for a record attempt. But we want to get as many people to participate.
YJ: Why did you choose Headstand as the pose to promote world peace?
SDM: Headstand is the king of the poses and one of the most important yoga postures. It requires no flexibility. It is an inverted pose, so while you rest in the position, the veins in the legs can rest and the flow of liquid throughout the body is reversed. The upper chakras are stimulated and, if you concentrate [on] the space between the eyebrows (the Third Eye Point), the mind becomes one-pointed and there is a chance to taste meditation right there in the posture practice. If we can bring the mind eventually to silence, we have achieved yoga. This will bring us all to peace.
YJ: What is the message you hope this event delivers to the world?
SDM: Regarding cooperation: it’s good for you to try and lose yourself a little—to move beyond the personal self and try and cooperate with others. This really helps us understand that we are all one—all part of the same great whole. The action of compassion is to see yourself in others. If I see myself in you, how can I hurt you, steal from you, or lie to you? Impossible! Learn to see yourself in others and strive always to make every offering an act of adoration to the Supreme Self or the forces behind everything. Then we are all practicing yoga.
YJ: Is there any way for people who can't make it to London to participate from home?
SDM: In our spiritual hearts, we are all always connected, always together. For the sake of cooperation, though, it’s good sometimes to put power behind your thoughts and try and join together in a more active way with the spiritual family. If you can’t join us physically in London, then try to join us mentally right where you are.
See alsoTalking Shop with Dharma Mittra