Congressman Tim Ryan: You Can’t Be a Yogi and Not Vote

“You can’t want to have a great yoga session, lie in savasana, and want to become one with everyone in the classroom except for the political system.”

What's the relationship between yoga and voting? Understanding how our practice can affect social and global change is an important part of the wellness conversation. The first step toward effecting this kind of change is to make your voice heard by exercising your civic right. Election Day is Tuesday, November 6. Have you made plans to cast your ballot? 
Congressman Tim Ryan has been very vocal about his belief in the importance of mindfulness. At a Wanderlust Festival Speakeasy, he delivered some potent information about how we, as mindfulness practitioners can create change in our families, our schools and our health care system by supporting the advocates for mindfulness meditation. "If we found a technique or mental discipline that increases focus and concentration—that allows your brain to work better—why would we not be for it? What are we going to wait for? We found it, it's here! It's now our job to say: 'Here's the science, we're going to get organized, we're going to vote at the local level, put people on our school board who support this.'"

Watch the whole Speakeasy here.

Congressman Ryan, the author of A Mindful Nation, is a strong advocate for the benefits of meditation in Congress. In his talk he explains how this simple practice can have far reaching effects, including:
  • Bringing down the costs of health care
  • Making our schools a more potent place of learning
  • Reducing the inflammation caused by stress-related illness
Many yogis are aware that commingling politics and yoga can become a sticky issue. "I'm here to talk to you about how we need to build a political movement in this country and about how we need to support candidates and policies that are going to help shift this. I'm here to talk to you—as people who practice yoga and practice meditation—because you can't be a yogi and not vote. You can't be a yogi and not get involved. You can't want to have a great yoga session, lie in savasana, and want to become one with everyone in the classroom except for the political system. You're not allowed to do that. You're either going to be all in or you're not." Go deeper with the Congressman's passionate talk about the effects that mindfulness has in the classroom by watching the video above and then learn more about his mindfulness initiative here.