Om Yoga Show 2016: 3 Observations and Realisations
It was a year to this weekend just past that the direction of my life possibly changed forever. For it was at the Om Yoga Show in 2015 that new-found inspiration was discovered, new contacts were made and a new sense of direction emerged.
The Om Yoga Show in 2016 then was marked in the diary as a special date. What came out of it and the realisations I gained were not what I anticipated. Here’s why:
1. I realised that there is humbleness in asking others for their attention…
Susanne and I volunteered to help Yoga Alliance Professionals with their promotion of their new free guide on how to run a successful yoga business. Whilst I was merely promoting something that was free and beneficial for those who were interested, I strangely found the whole experience difficult. Was it the regular rejection by others, the constant ‘no, I’m not a yoga teacher, I’m not interested’ response, which bothered me? I thought: “if I’m finding this difficult, imagine what it must be like for those who are hungry, begging for food or money all day, and facing constant rejection or people not even acknowledging them, all the time”. I immediately realised what these people must feel like and go through each and every day.
Sometimes it takes these moments, when you step into the pseudo-shoes of others, to realise what true compassion is. I have always maintained that the failure of far-right politics is their lack of compassion; an essential quality to the spiritual development of any human being. Their lack of compassion to realise that some day too, they may need a helping hand, and how glad (and desperate) they will be when someone pulls them from the depths of despair. Nigel Farage, and the filthy, disgusting campaign he led in the recent UK EU referendum, being a prime example.
2. I realised that being Vegan is not just about animal cruelty…
Hot on the heels of last week’s post about conscious eating, if we also all realised the destructive impact which animal agriculture has upon the environment, we may just think again about how much meat we consume. After watching the gripping documentary at the show, Cowspiracy, I learnt that it takes over 660 gallons of water to produce one hamburger, and livestock and their byproducts account for over 51% of greenhouse gases, far swamping emissions from all forms of fossil-fuel based transport! If we also think about all the grain and food that is required to be grown to actually feed livestock and fisheries, then the story of an environmental catastrophe reaches a staggering scale. We all know the story of the rate at which the world’s rainforests are being decimated all in the name of cattle ranches and palm oil plantations…
Even worse, Greenpeace and other leading environmental organisations refuse to discuss or even acknowledge this disaster. Perhaps they are scared that all their supporters, who also love their burgers and hot dogs, will cease to contribute to their ‘other environmental causes’. What hope is there in this case? We also learn that there are food disparagement laws in the US discouraging people from speaking out against the unethical nature of the food that they eat. Talk about the influence of ‘Big Farma’!
3. I realised that some people still think bankers are…
not the most upstanding members of society. Well, I must admit, in the case of a particular lady I met who had worked as a commodity trader in the City for 25 years, her opinion was understandable: she had probably witnessed the worst excesses of it all. Another lady I met, who was formerly married to a banker for 5 years or so, remarked that, “he’s at his desk by 6:45AM-7:15AM, regularly takes cocaine, stays at the office until 8PM and is a high performer”. It’s true, there probably still are some of them out there, but in my experience, most City workers are not like that. Not only are attitudes changing, but to do your job at the highest possible level in today’s complex and challenging world of global banking, being sharp and on the ball isn’t synonymous with excessive drug use. Those that do, their careers are normally short-lived.
My response to the people who I met was to simply explain what I have learnt as a practicing student of yoga whilst working in Finance, as well as my attempt to challenge perceptions of the ‘silent majority’ who are hard-working, honest individuals doing their very best, who work in investment banking. Society needs healthy banks, and it needs good people to man them. That’s my mission, really in a nutshell.
So, to me the 2016 Om Yoga Show was full of surprises. I did not expect to grow as much as an individual, but do we, most of the time in life? The surprising situations that make us step back and think about something differently are what makes us grow. I wonder what the OM Yoga Show in 2017 will reveal to me…Till then folks.