The Connection Between Yoga & Environmental Health
Both Yoga and Ecology have one central message: All things are connected. Yoga teaches that the illusion of separation is at the root of our suffering. Conversely, in Blissology, we believe that the more we blur the line between where we end and nature begins, the happier we will be.
Beyond meditating, protesting, and using an eco-friendly yoga mat, in my eyes, there are two main things that yogis can do (either personally or in their practice) that can help the environment or bring their attention to climate justice:
1. Practice Nature Appreciation Moments.
These are small moments everyday where we reset in nature and fall in love again with the planet. To feel the beauty of nature is the healthiest thing we can do for our own selves and the planet benefits too.
You don’t have to look far to see that we are living in radical disconnection from nature in modern urban living. Too many people on the planet get busy and forget our connection to nature so it becomes a commodity that is separate from us.
The idea of a Nature Appreciation moment is to slow your mind down and focus on something beautiful in nature. Even if you live in a city, take time to find a tree, a pant or to look up at the clouds. Let go of the crush of time and see the miracle in front of you. This entire process can take less than ten minutes but yields huge benefits.
Our species needs to have more reverence for nature. Ultimately, we protect what we revere. All changes need to start there. From this deep love of Nature.
Personally, I have chosen a path based on the Karma Yoga school and started a movement called EcoKarma.
We bring yogis to places around the world where we transplant coral, clean up beaches, restore nature plants and plant trees. It is incredible to work with a group of like-minded yogis that care about giving back. This is the best anti-depressant I know.
3. Reducing our plastic impact
Aside from that, anything that lowers our footprint is incredible.
I am a proponent of moving past recycling and just reducing our use of single use plastic. This includes simple, easy things like carrying your own water bottle and refelling it vs. choosing a plastic single use water bottle.
Forbes calculated that we are consuming a million plastic bottles per minute and 91% of those are not recycled. Simply carrying a water bottle avoids this!
I think most yogis are probably in the habit of carrying our own shopping bags but I carry a plate, a cup, a glass straw and a coffee cup in my back pack everyday. It’s so easy to pull this out at restaurants and cafes instead of disposable plates.
I used to buy granola in bulk at Whole Foods and bring it home and put it in a glass mason jar. Now I’ve learned that many stores will weigh the mason jar first, then let you fill it and they will charge you only the difference in weight. No plastic is required but I have to be prepared.
In summary, it’s that simple. Plastic is convenient but we are choking on in as a society. The remedy is preparation. I need to clean my plate and fork at night and put it in my back pack. It takes a little time and pre-planning, but we have to value this as a culture. Preparation over convenience is key!
One thing you can do? Participate in 3HO’s 40 Day Climate Strike Meditation. The meditation encourages yogis to recite the Prayer for Mother Earth by Guru Amar Das either 11 times each day or for 11 minutes each day over the course of the 40 days. Or join Eoin next Friday September 27 in Vancouver supporting our concerned youth for the climate change strike!