Peaceful mind, Tranquil World
WOMEN leadership ADVANCING THE CULTURE OF PEACE
Yogmata Keiko Aikawa’s initial attraction to yoga was the promise of a healthier life but her desire to master the teaching of truth has fueled her affinity for yoga.
“Deep down, it was my desire to awaken the hidden harmony and everlasting fulfillment inside.I hoped to be able to love myself and others around me,” Ms. Yogmata said in an email interview.
Ms. Yogmata shared her struggles as an advocate for peace through the practice of yoga and meditation at the celebration of International Women’s Day: Women Leadership Advancing the Culture of Peace, a special evening hosted by Yoga and the UN Culture of Peace on Fri., March 9, 6:30 – 9 p.m. The event was held at the Millennium Hilton New York One UN Plaza, 44th Street between 1st & 2nd Avenue, across from the United Nations headquarters. Ms. Yogmata also led the audience through a meditation session she hopes will help attendees develop mindfulness and individual awareness.
As a world-renowned yoga master, the world’s first female and non-Indian (Japanese) Siddha Master, and only one of two Siddha Masters ever to appear in public, Ms. Yogmata is deemed as “The Mother of Yoga” for her tenacious breakthrough of cultural and gender barriers throughout her journey to learn and practice meditation and yoga. Her efforts have spanned more than 60 years and have empowered women in Japan, India, and Nepal.
What is the correlation between yoga and world peace? Ms. Yogmata says yoga is about harmonizing the mind and body, and our body and mind is a micro-universe made of the same material comprising the whole universe.
“So when we are harmonized ourselves, within each of us, that will have the same effect on the universe as a whole,” she explained.
Her work began as a teenager and since then, she has blazed a path to peace as a mentor to countless women and children, a compassionate spiritual leader, and humanitarian. Among her contributions to society is an organization she founded – NPO: Yogmata Foundation, a social welfare service foundation in India, donation of mobile hospitals to remote villages in India, and holding lectures and seminars as part of the World Peace Campaign. Ms. Yogmata has performed 18 public Samadhis, (the deepest level of awareness for the meditation practitioner) and most notably at the Maha Kumbh Mela, a festival held once every 144 years that draws more than 70 million people.
How does yoga facilitate a better balance?
“It encourages everyone to choose goodness over negativity, love instead of hatred, trust rather than doubts. All these choices are leading to the experience of oneness,” according to Ms. Yogmata.
Yoga: A Messenger of Peace
Can yoga and meditation foster peace throughout the world?
Consider Ms. Yogmata’s native Japan, for example…a country Ms. Yogmata says has a history of different cultures existing side-by-side with one another peacefully and an inclination towards eating and living together in openness with less privacy.
“Someone once said to me that, since we are an island nation, there is no escaping from one another. That forced them to accept one another and co-exist,” she says. “And when each one of us is in harmony/balanced, it will naturally create peace and love, and that will lead to a peaceful world. That is the correlation between practicing yoga and world peace. If you look at the Americans and Europeans, they have much greater emphasis on individuality. It is visible in the structure of the language where sentences start with “I.” Japanese does not use the subject word when spoken. This is similar to the concept of yoga – losing the sense of ego, becoming empty. Yoga creates a peaceful mind and will lead to a peaceful world.”
Click here to learn more about Ms. Yogmata.
Denise Scotto, Esq., chair of the International Day of Yoga Committee, was the master of ceremony. Ms. Yogmata; Indian spiritual guru and writer Pilot Baba; Denis Licul, president, Yoga in Daily Life NY, SSMWPC and YIDL-USUN representative; Deepali Sharma, head of HSS, White Plains and HSS Core Committee member; and Dr. Valdemar Prado, Senior Fellow, World Association of Former United Nations Interns and Fellows (WAFUNIF) and Executive Director, Gliese Group were panel members.
UN International Day of Yoga
BACKGROUND: This special event is a continuation of the “UN International Day of Yoga,” proclaimed by the UN on December 11, 2014 (Resolution 69/131), to be celebrated on June 21 every year. Since December 2016, yoga has been declared an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO. This event is organized by Coplanet International, with the sponsorship of the Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations.