I was inspired to write this post on Saturday while volunteering Bell Garden, a community garden here in St. Louis. I was wearing a T-shirt with a peace sign on it, a Globalize This T-shirt (check them out here) to be exact.
A man who was working on his garden plot stopped me and exclaimed at how wonderful it was to see a young person representing the sign of peace. He then recalled the first peace sign he wore, a leather necklace that he had unfortunately since misplaced.
This conversation made me want to research the sign of peace, Shanti in Sanskrit.
The symbol was designed by Gerald Holtom and Eric Austen made it into this ceramic badge in 1958 for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Eventually, the symbol was embraced by the American anti-war movement and made its was from college campuses into the mainstream.
To me, the sign of peace is symbolic of creating a global community based on respect. It’s an attitude of compassion and understanding. Practice peace by approaching situations with an open mind, try to avoid giving off an energy of confrontation.
On a more personal level, achieve peace within yourself through your yoga practice. Shanti, inner peace, is found by eliminating anxieties and stress from your mind, connecting with your True Self and experiencing complete independence from the ego and external forces.
The path to enlightenment, through your asana (physical yoga practice) and meditation will help you reach a feeling of peace within. With inner peace, you will be able to let that peace shine through to the world and truly embrace the symbol of peace.
To achieve peace of mind, I suggest integrating pranayama (breath control) into your daily routine. Simple pranayama can be sitting still and focusing on the rise and fall of your chest as you take air in and out of the lungs.
I will be posting more pranayama techniques in upcoming posts, so stay tuned!