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ASHLY FOX, Yoga therapist, San Clemente

Yoga in its purest definition is about union. We are not liberated as a human race until the collective is liberated—not just the strongest, healthiest, and most privileged among us.

The Yamas are the moral guides for practitioners. The practice of yoga first and foremost asks us to do no harm. Ahimsa is non-harming. Staying home or wearing a mask to flatten the curve is the ultimate demonstration of this. Community spread is a real threat. 

That leads me to our next principle: Satya, or truthfulness. Not only truthfulness with others, but also with ourselves. Denial is one way we are dishonest to ourselves and others. Denial of science is depriving yourself of the truth we all need to make resourced decisions.

The third principle of a yogic practice is Asteya, non-stealing. Stealing the heath of the 65,000 San Clemente residents each time you leave your home for non-essential activities is not yoga.

If you really want to get technical, you’re stealing a lot more—the time of health care workers if you get sick, the resources of our local authorities and government officials to focus on their jobs, the peace of mind of the majority of our local community—but I digress. 

The fourth outward moral observance, Brahmacharya, asks us to act with disciplined and aligned behavior. The practice of yoga asks us to use discernment and practice restraint.

Can you practice by sitting with yourself for a few weeks for the betterment of humankind? It’s a practice for us all at times like these, for sure, but we are all in this together, right? Yoga is union.

Finally, Aparigraha is non-attachment. I understand change is hard. It’s hard for all of us, and that is often what sparks fear. Change and uncertainty are some of the biggest drivers of fear.

I, too, miss the life we once knew. But if we practice non-attachment., who knows, after all this is over, we might just be able to build a world that is just and free for all the members of our community.

After all, isn’t that what we all want? 

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