Yoga-Love Revolution

Last year in India, I taught yoga in schools and saw beauty and positive energy flow and emanate outward.  I wonder if we, Palestinians and Israelis, can relax and create goodness together to share with our neighbors?  If we can plant seeds for a new, brighter reality in this region through yoga?

Indianschool1Love Works. Violence does not. 

Love, compassion and kindness are contagious.  Violence creates more violence, hatred and stereotypes.  Many desire to live with one another and for one another, rather than against one another.   Rather than following in the desires of leaders’ injustices and prejudices, let us strive for our own unique lives and renew the love in our hearts and shine it out by practicing yoga together.

Now, more than ever, we need to reclaim our lives, stay strong and pure from the inside-out.  Let us live the most honest and happiest lives together, from:

darkness -> light

confusion -> clarity

fear -> friendship

Yoga can help us find this path.


Yoga literally means “Unite.” 

We say shanti, which means “peace,” three times for inner peace, community peace and world peace.  We also strive for inner unity and  peace, a balance and harmony within ourselves; Peace around us: community interdependency; and World unity: realizing our connectiveness and oneness.Indianschool3

As a facilitator for groups in conflict and a yoga teacher, I am working on community projects to heal and unite, and to cultivate compassion, loving-kindness and awareness.  These projects and workshops will teach deep breathing to calm the mind and create a tranquil reality.  There will also be time for listening circles (facilitated dialogue sessions) to enrich our knowledge about one another, build trust and create friendships, in addition to discussions about non-violent actions, shared meals, quiet informal time and music.

Yoga is a neutral third party ancient Indian tradition that can deeply aid in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We can learn love, acceptance, harmony and forgiveness from this ancient ritual.  Asanas (positions) allow one to relax through poses as a means of feeling more connected to one’s body and inner self and more at ease. Having more of this in our own lives is deeply healing. Especially in this region, the need to find tranquility through yoga is most prevalent.

The ancient teachings of yoga and meditation are a philosophy, not a religion, which also teaches about social and personal healthy and peaceful living. These teachings can be practiced by Muslims, Christians, Druz, Hindus and Jews, a like.

Like the basic pillar of the Abrahamic religion: “thou shall not kill,” yoga and the Ghandian theory of change is based on the first and foremost yogi element: ahmisa, which is non-violence.  We can see ourselves in others and treat others how we want to be treated.  Yoga reminds us to act with dignity and respect, as reflections of G_d, healing our community and making it a beloved one.

We can curb the cycle of violence and share the same ultimate goal of shifting our own energies to be more peaceful with one another.  When we are in each other’s company and doing yoga we can create a revolution of love and kindness.  We can make a transformation into unity and happiness for one another, rather than against one another. We are ONE.

About the Author
Laura Shaz, peacemaker, yogi and artist, was born and raised in Rockville, Maryland, USA to Jewish refugee parents of Moroccan and Eastern European descent. She studied Sociology and Near Eastern & Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. Laura made aliyah (Jewish immigration to Israel) in 2005 and completed her graduate studies in conflict resolution and mediation from Tel Aviv University. While working in this conflict region, Laura has found an outlet for relief and compassion through yoga, and she has been practicing yoga for the past 8 years in Tel Aviv. Recently she completed a teacher training course in India at Yoga Vidya (highly recommended!) She facilitates groups in conflicts, teaches yoga and organizes workshops. Come join! Breath in Peace. Breath out Love.