The 2016 summer Olympics opening ceremony officially begins tonight, followed by the first games scheduled for tomorrow. Four years ago in 2012, when we were graced with its cool-weather counterpart in London, the world was a much different place. Technology-wise: Facebook, the goliath of social media networks just bought Instagram, who at that point had just under 90 million users (see today: 500 million).
In unfortunate music breakthroughs: “Gangnam Style” by Psy became a worldwide sensation and the most watched YouTube video. Pop culture phenomena: the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, would soon become pregnant with baby number one, prompting the hashtag #RoyalBaby. And if you looked hard enough, buried beneath skin-deep headlines, you just might notice that our country (among others) was at war.
In Other, More Horrific News
2012 was also the year of the Benghazzi attack, where US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith were killed in an attack by Islamic militants. Terror group Boko Haram attacked a church in Nigeria, killing 37 Christians. There were more Taliban suicide bombers and IED explosions in the Middle East than one could count. And more recently: the attacks in Paris, the bombings in Brussels and the shootings in Orlando, to name a few.
People with a lot of hate in their hearts are trying to rip the world apart. While we scramble to pick up the pieces from each devastation close to home, something interesting and beautiful happens: instead of sweating the same bullets that they fire, we come together and support one another. And it’s not limited to communities — thanks to social media, that love spills over country borders and reaches across oceans as if to say, “We’ve got your back.”
The 2016 Olympics are an additional nod of grace in times like these – it’s an important event for the world in terms of peace and diplomacy. It always has been since the Olympic Truce, a tradition dating back 778 BC in ancient Greece where wars were temporarily suspended so athletes and spectators could travel, participate and enjoy the games without threat to their safety. We’ve done a damn good job of keeping that tradition alive, and ultimately backing each other up on a global level today, despite the tragedies. But let the Olympics this year serve as a shining reminder that no matter what your coordinates may be, we are all still looking at the same moon. And when social media uses its power for good, it can spread a very powerful message
In light of the games and the world actually coming together, we wanted to add to that positivity with a message of our own. On Instagram, we’re launching a 14-day challenge called #YogaForWorldPeace2016, and we invite you to join us, either by participating or spreading the love. Each day starting Monday, Aug. 8 we’ll post a photo of a yoga pose which will have a theme related to either an Olympic game going on that day, a peaceful message or both. Be sure to check out our Facebook or Instagram pages for more details on entering, tagging our hosts/sponsors and prizes. In the meantime, below is a breakdown of all the poses for the challenge, along with the caption callout.
#YogaForWorldPeace2016 – Olympics Instagram Challenge Aug. 8
Yoga pose: Warrior 2
Olympics sport: general; warrior for peace
Caption instructions: I am a warrior for peace. _______ does not scare me into silence.
Yoga pose: Bow
Caption instructions: Include a quote from famous advocate of peace, or song lyrics that “hit bullseye” on the subject of peace
Yoga pose: Standing Backbend
Caption instructions: Explain a memory where someone tried to “break you down or bully you” and how you got past it or triumphed
Yoga pose: Boat
Caption instructions: If I could sail anywhere in the world, it would be to _____ because ______.
Yoga pose: Lotus
Olympics: General; thoughtful spectator
Caption instructions: Thinking of _______ brings me peace.
Yoga pose: Dolphin
Caption instructions: Name a body of water in the world (ocean, spring, lake, river, etc) in the world you would like to visit
Yoga pose: Lunge
Olympics: Track and field
Caption instructions: Describe a time you helped a friend out of a bind, or “cross the finish line”
Yoga pose: Table
Olympics: Table tennis
Caption instructions: Tell about a time you stood up for the right thing
Yoga pose: Pigeon
Caption instructions: If you could fly to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Yoga pose: Garland
Caption instructions: Tell about a time that you had to be strong for someone else.
Yoga pose: Warrior 3 (with a friend, making a heart with your outstretched hands)
Olympics: General; teamwork
Caption instructions: Tag a friend pictured in your caption and say something kind about them or your friendship.
Yoga pose: Reclined Hero
Olympics: gGneral; everyone’s a hero
Caption instructions: someone who to you is a hero of peace, activism to you (e.g. Rosa Parks, Joan of Arc, Malala Yousafzai).
Yoga pose: Standing Forward Bend
Caption instructions: I’d walk the plank to give peace to ______.
Yoga pose: Yogi’s choice – find your favorite spot that makes you feel at peace (e.g. outside under a tree, in a quiet room, on a beach etc.)
Caption instructions: Explain where you are and why this place brings you peace
You’ll have until the end of the month to participate, so if stumble upon it while it’s going on, you can still enter. We hope to see you there, enjoy the Olympics alongside you and spread the message of world peace together! Just follow our Facebook or Instagram pages for more details.