Yoga for Social Change
The origination of Yogabeats as a tool for change – A view from David Sye
Not content with teaching his Yogabeats classes all over the world and training up the next generation of instructors, Yoga Elder, David Sye is on a mission to have Yoga recognized and used as a tool for social change.
The Yogabeats 3 Step Foundation course focuses upon a deepening and expansion within all realms of the Yogabeats methodologies, incorporating every aspect of what it means to become a Yogi rather than just yet another Yoga teacher, and how to utilize Yogabeats as a tool for radical change within society.
Sye, is one of the UK’s most esteemed teachers and has successfully piloted Yogabeats programs resolving conflict within communities from the UK and across the planet, particularly in the Middle East. His not-for-profit work is supported by his Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Sye explains: ‘Yoga comes from the Sanskrit language, meaning to join or unite. Today Yoga is often, mistakenly, perceived as a celebrity fad or a chic workout for white middle classes. Yoga for over 5,000 years has been a means for achieving a state of personal evolution or ‘self-realisation’ and as a consequence creates a direct internal link to ‘Source Energy’.
‘Whether it is drugs, crime or war, history has shown that Yoga is highly effective in empowering and transforming the fearful existence of countless peoples into joy and happiness. Collectively this is one of the most underestimated tools for achieving the changes that will endure within our communities.’
History of Yogabeats Community Initiatives
How it all started in The Middle East – David’s words
I had originally been invited to these lands to teach Israelis in 2004, but had at the outset insisted that unless it could be arranged that I also teach Palestinians I would not go, (as my survival of the Serbian conflict from 1990 till 95 had explicitly shown me that no side in conflict can be any better or worthier than the other). Finally innate stubbornness won the day and my first class began with 18 traditionally dressed Palestinian women in Jericho.
Looking back now, Yogabeats fired up a natural love affair between both Palestinians and Israelis who spontaneously began sending messages and gifts to each other whenever I crossed over the border into the West Bank and vice a versa and I was their messenger.
The secret love affair became a real item back in 2006, when the idea of a joint class was actualised on the 18th October in Jerusalem at the American Colony Hotel – an extraordinary testimony of humanity that largely went unnoticed by the main stream media smack bang in the middle of some of the worst aggression at that time, where 20 Israelis and 20 Palestinians quietly and joyously met each other for the first time. There was much smiling, hugging and tears ! I stood before both groups and said if nobody recognises this moment and the extraordinary healing implications yoga can create it matters not because none present can say that peace could not exist right in the middle of war, nor requires the interceding of politicians or the UN!
Since 2006, each year permission by Israel to repeat the joint class was refused until May 2012, when the Yogabeats event was given the permits to allow the Palestinians to cross the border and was held at The Peres Peace Centre in Jaffa/Israel (donations to support this ground breaking event was donated from all over the UK and Europe).
“The Yoga Beats Project is dedicated to my master teacher the late Clara Buck” – David Sye
David’s passion in his own words:
As time goes by I am even more convinced that in order for Yoga to be the radically transformational tool that it is, it has to be relevant to everything we experience in our world at this time ,whilst simultaneously displaying the paradigm that peace can exist in the middle of a war, and that transformation through individual personal change is the way!
What is going on now in Gaza and throughout the West Bank is what yoga must not run away from.
If the idea of Yoga is to hold any credibility at all in our world, it must be able to cope with the worst of humanities fear propelled Human dramas, and exist and operate as a counter force of higher consciousness.
When I was isolated and blockaded in Serbia, when the entire world community put a unilateral embargo on Serbia, I and others smuggled vital supplies in and out of that country,
Since 2004 I have been going into the West Bank working through situations that others advised me to avoid and turn away from but I could never stop simply because of the extraordinary people and love I encountered along the way and that never failed to inspire me to take yet another step forwards, and so it was obvious that I began to view Yoga in the same light, that if it was not dynamically and truly reflective of our world I personally could not go on with it … and so this gave rise to “Yoga Beats Conflict” ( Yogabeats Charity)
I am very clear that our world does not need any more niche yoga, it is crying out for yoga to grow up and become the radically reflective and transformational tool it always had the potential to become!
And if this all seems a tad too emotional consider this, if Yoga has the potential to change and transform people’s lives, (and there are endless examples and testimonies to this) what do we as Yogis do – just simply stand by with this momentous gift or (like Ostriches with their heads in the sand) and leave our world to the politicians?!?!?!? Maybe it’s time that the Yoga community sees themselves in a new light!? … David Sye
If you would like further information on how you can become involved and help with the work please get in touch.
The Yogabeats Charity’s is a non-profit outreach, for all those communities in need and is fully supported by His Holiness the Dhalai Lama...