Travelling through the world in the modern age, the mind is struck with a seeming paradox.
On the one hand, there is such an incredible multitude of cultures, stories, flavours sounds colours textures and forms across the globe! Enough to tickle the senses and stimulate the mind for a lifetime’s worth of adventuring.
But at the same time, the more one travels the more one sees the deep commonalities running through each of these cultures, each human experience of place+time.
There is always day, and always night. We each have a mother and a father. Around the world, human beings eat, sleep, work and play, breathe and speak; everywhere there is the yearning for love; everywhere, there is the pain of conflict, and the striving to be free from it.
And increasingly, everywhere, there is yoga. Maybe in an instantly recognisable, modern form, practicing asana and pranayama. It may be more physical, more meditative, static or flowing, silent or joyously sung. Or perhaps even yoga by another name, as cultures all around the world have sought to express human-ness and facilitate human evolution through a variety of means.
But it really marks a global shift when, in the space of a generation, people from America to China, Spain to Kenya, Sweden to New Zealand, are taking up these practices and exploring a lot more deeply what it means to be.
I’m currently in northern Thailand and this shift is really brought home here, and in other grand traveller crossroads like it. Here I have met Italians, Japanese, Croats and Austrians, all united in practice, sharing experiences, perspectives, and insights. Recently I joined an Acroyoga workshop (with Oli Chamorro & Ale Ruiz, who will be at BYC2014 teaching Acro throughout the conference!) in Suan Buak Hat park in Chiang Mai, and found every person there was from a different country save for a double dose of Spaniard!
And it’s this increasing globality that gives us a firmer grasp of that common ground between us, on and off the mat. That gives me hope for a future where more have found an inner stability, where more have stopped fighting themselves, let alone each other, where more people give thanks for the daily miracle of breath and let this gratitude suffuse their lives.
And it’s this global meeting of hearts and minds that illuminates the Barcelona Yoga Conference and others like it. That special feeling of coming together, and each year more than the last, feeling that it is growing, and that we are exploring a vital way to connect with, recognise and support each other in our yoga practice and lifestyle. And when people half a world away are already talking about it, well, you know something good must be happening come July in Barna!…