Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Was a Yogi
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a yogi
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wasn't a practitioner of asana, yet he is the truest yogi that ever walked the planet. He lived his life demonstrating strong yogic principles.
During the late 1950's, Dr. King traveled to India and studied about ahimsa, or non-violence. He also studied social change. These are the same yogic principles and philosophies that Mahatma Gandhi laid out in the 1940s when he led India's peaceful revolution for independence.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lived his life by the four paths of yoga that are discussed in the Bhagavad Gita. These four paths include:
- Raja Yoga - the path of meditation
- Jnana Yoga - the path of intense self-inquiry, often considered the most challenging of the four paths
- Bhakti Yoga - the path of devotion, often thought to be the simplest and safest of the four paths
- Karma Yoga - the path of selfless service
Dr. King was one of those incredible individuals who lives a yogic life and sets an example for us all. It's important to take the time to reflect on some of his yogic qualities, to be inspired and to challenge ourselves to do better than we ever imagined possible in his example.
Dr. King demonstrated fearlessness, or in yoga we would say Abhayam. Abhayam is purity of mind, steadfastness in the yoga of knowledge, fearlessness or self-control.
Most people would have been intimidated and even afraid to stand up to millions of people and assert his dream of equality. Many people would have allowed fear of consequences to stop them from sharing the vision. Dr. King had courage and stood in the face of many who opposed him to speak his truth.
From this we can learn the importance of standing in courage and believing in yourself to speak clearly about the changes you want to bring about in the world around you. We can be inspired to not let others stand in the way of saying and doing what is right.
Dr. King had patience and fortitude, or in yoga what we call Dhriti. Dhriti is all about having the strength to regulate your senses and bring awareness, which calls for patience.
Just imagine where we would be if Dr. King hadn't been so patient or if he'd given up after just one march, or one demonstration. Dr. King was patient and had the fortitude to sit through march after march and many demonstrations to end segregation in the United States. He put forth consistent and continuous energy into bringing his dream to life.
We can take away from this that we must have patience with ourselves and with others. We must be willing to put in the time and energy necessary to bring our dreams into reality.
Dr. King demonstrated charisma and radiance, or what we call Tejas. In Sanskrit, Tejas means fire or illumination. He had a sincere balance between his words and his actions. He practiced what he preached at all times.