Yoga meets Earth Day - Deepening your understanding of yoga
Updated: Nov 3, 2018
Originally published for Macacha.co blog.
Earth Day has me thinking about Yoga. Why?
Yoga has made me more conscious; more conscious of the planet and the environment too. Yoga is more than a good stretch, a workout, or relaxation.
Our actions have impact, not only on ourselves and each other, but on the Earth as a whole and all the living beings that inhabit it.
Yoga can help us understand this deep interconnection, not only between our body and our mind, but also between ourselves, others and the environment.
I love this explanation by Simon Borg-Olivier: “When you really feel totally connected within yourself during and after the practice, you will realise that you connect better with your family members, the people you call your friends, the people you work with and even the people you don’t know or don’t like. And you realise that this connection grows with each practice. It also grows not just within people and within yourself, but also in the way you treat the Earth. Then, every time you come back to the practice you slowly realise that yoga really brings you to the realisation that we are totally connected to everything else and to me that is the most important spiritual realisation. And it builds from one practice to the next.”
Yoga philosophy has eight-limbs, the first of which are the Yamas. The Yamas serve as guidelines for living a conscious, honest and ethical life. One Yama in particular, Ahimsa, is particularly relevant to Earth Day. Ahimsa, meaning non-violence, covers our relationship with all living things. Here, we ask ourselves ‘how can I be kind, towards myself, others and the Earth?’
This year’s Earth Day is focused on plastic: reducing how much we use, taking care of how we dispose of it, creating safer habitats for wildlife, healthier oceans, helping us discover a less wasteful way of living.
When we think about our individual impact and decisions on something like plastic, we contribute to wider change.
For me, yoga helps ground me into those connections and how my actions can effect change; the philosophies complement the physical practice and studying them is as much a part of yoga as the postures. I encourage you to explore them too this Earth Day and beyond!
There are some great Earth Day resources like their plastic calculator, inspiring blog and their Take Action page. And you can always donate!
Suggested readings: - "Meditations from the Mat’ book, by Rolf Gates
- 8 Limbs of YogaExplained by Ekhart Yoga