The working class of America and the world produce all wealth and all value. They make products, move them, pack them, clean , cook, care, educate, nurse, feed, farm and perform every other type of labor that supports society. However the workers are not the beneficiaries of the current social and economic system.
Workers produce all value but it is the owners, in particular the billionaire owners that reap the benefits of this system. The workers, the small shop keepers and farmers struggle to make ends meet and suffer in innumerable ways.
One particularly insidious way in which workers suffer is the loss of health and of wellbeing. Having little in the way of leisure time, no maternity leave or paternity leave, no pensions, low incomes, and in debt, workers suffer mentally, emotionally and physically from stress. Our bodies and minds break with the pressures that we face.
The solution lies in collective action. The solution lies in organizing ourselves to fight for our rights against the billionaire class to create a democratic and social economy. We must create a truly democratic politics where the working class rules – the vast majority rules. We must create a society where the workers decide democratically the big decisions on the direction of society and economy.
But how do we do this while we are facing tremendous pressures just making a living? How do we do this while we are semi employed or unemployed? How do we manage the immediate pressures on our families and still organize for total solutions?
I believe that Yoga is a tool for liberation of the working class. It has become an expensive past time for the well heeled. Yes, everyone needs its, no one, no matter what your socioeconomic situation is immune from the tremendous pressures of life under capitalism.
The reason that we point out capitalism as the principal cause of the pressures that people face is that it is a system that puts the accumulation of profit as the highest ideal for society. That is why private insurance companies and drug companies can profit off of peoples suffering and make billions of dollars . It is why we have the most amount of spending on healthcare in the world but have the most number of people with no health insurance or inadequate insurance in the industrialized world. Solutions to health and wellness issues would mean a reduction in profit. The more people are sick, the more they suffer, the more the profit. Such is the logic of capitalism.
So , how can yoga help?
Yoga is bringing mind, body and spirit into harmony. We can define spirit in terms of what is larger than just ourselves – that includes all humanity, animals, the planet and the cosmos itself.
The practice of yoga can reduce the amount of emotional stress we feel which is directly linked to physical disease. By practicing asanas we can eliminate the toxic residues of the pressures we face as workers on the job, struggling with healthcare bills, education costs, transportation costs, housing costs and how these pressures impact on our interpersonal relations.
Through a daily practice we can release these pressures without allowing them to accumulate. It is like bailing out water from a boat taking on water. It is not going to plug the hole but we need to make sure we don’t sink while we are in the process of rebuilding our boat.
Three practices need to be done. The practice of asana, to release pressures from the body, the practice of meditation to release pressures from the mind, and the practice of social change to release the social pressures.
Wijerama Yoga is an experiment in making this possible.