Carl Sagan once quipped: "We are here so the universe may know itself". Today, science shows us we are all connected, kinda like yoga, which connects our body, breath and mind.
With the help of the Hubble space telescope scientists have told us our known universe is almost 14 billion years old! (a 100 billion dog years!). They have told us there are about a 100 billion galaxies each with a 100 billion stars. And ironically there have been about 100 billion humans who lived in all time!
All known time is circa 14 billion years yet our very own Sun did not materialize until about 5 billion years ago! Our Earth, 4.5 billion years ago and humans about 140,000 years ago. We did not develop farming until about 10,000 years ago, invent the telescope 400 years ago, find and use oil about 140 years ago and start to enter and develop space about 30 years ago.
That's a lot of numbers and a lot of time so to put it in perspective let's apply it "time wise" to a regular 90 minute yoga class.
The beginning of known time, or the event we have come to call the "big bang" would be equivalent to the time in class when we say “Om” at the beginning of class. Time 0.
Our Sun would not materialize until after about 56 minutes into the class!
Earth would manifest about 58 minutes into the class!
And most interestingly, human beings would not arrive until we say "Om" at the end of class! 89 plus minutes into the class!
Or to put it another way, humans have not existed for 99.9% of all known time! To me that's incredible! I thought we were here always! So who am I? Who are you? To quote a living astrophysicist:
"Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically. That’s kind of cool! That makes me smile and I actually feel quite large at the end of that. It’s not that we are better than the universe; we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us."
— Neil deGrasse Tyson. Astrophysicist, Director Hayden Planetarium, NYC.
Yoga also connects us: our body with our breath and mind. That is why we feel so good after class. It is that connection that brings us to our source. Yoga allows us to soften our individual self and recognize the universal and in doing so we become more whole, more connected, to each other and the universe.
Perspective: even though we humans have not been alive for 99.9% of known time if we fast forward from today, our universe 14 billion years young, to a universe 140 billion years old then us humans will have been here for 90% of known time! Confused?
I was too. By then we will probably have evolved into something that looks like a yoga practice!
Next time your teaching a yoga class or taking one, permit yourself to wander a little with these thoughts.