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Choose Yoga to Save the Environment

Posted on April 3, 2017 by Matt Tomasino There have been 0 comments

Mahatma Gandhi said,  “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world, as in being able to remake ourselves.”

Thinking of the environment as something outside that we must protect, immediately removes oneself from the action itself. Being connected to the environment is the first step in learning how to heal it and if you cannot do that, it is equivalent to trying to put out a fire on the street from the roof of a building with a water pistol.

There are many ways to connect to nature, and yoga, with its 5000 year old history, is at the top of the list. This practice, which means ‘yoke’ or ‘union’, offers the opportunity to tune-in to your surroundings in a way that stays with you even after you finish a session. Yoga brings you closer to embracing what the earth has to offer and how you can support its continued health through your connection to it.

Anyone Can Do It

If you think yoga and fitness is reserved for those that live a stress-free life filled with green smoothies and hemp clothing, you’re mistaken. This activity can be done by anyone, at any age, at any health level, reaping benefits that include lengthening muscles, promoting bone growth, reducing depression and enhancing the immune system.

Whether attending a gentle yoga class that focuses on slowly improving limited movement to an advanced stage where you’re literally standing on your head, the connection to the earth is the same. Through deep breathing, balance, stretching and combined meditation, yoga can help you look through a different lens.

Rather than be separated from nature, you have an opportunity to embrace it.

Practice Yoga, Practice the 5 Yama Principles

It is believed that Buddha Siddhartha Guatama Shakyamuni said, “When the student is ready, the master will arrive.” This can very well happen through a dedicated yoga schedule because it is not only about the activity of yoga itself but the many principles it asks you to follow. These are called Yamas and with quotes taken from the Elephant  (a mindful life periodical), the 5 Yamas are:

  • Ahimsa - No harm, no violence. “No clear-cutting of forests, unnecessary slaughter of animals or disruption of the natural life cycle of our surroundings. No destruction of the fragile ecosystems of the rainforests or oceans. No use of harmful chemicals.” Practice ahimsa compassion, love and respect for all life.
  • Satya - Truthfulness and honesty. “Satya builds on ahimsa. When we buy coffee that is not fair trade certified, we have to be honest with ourselves and admit that it may be causing harm to poor farmers halfway around the world.” Through Satya one lives a socially conscious life dedicated to the planet and all living things on it.
  • Asteya - Do not take what is not yours. Applying this yama to the environment is easy. “Every time we build a factory in an important nesting ground for birds, we are stealing their space. Every time we feed five pounds of soybeans to a cow (in order to produce one pound of beef) instead of feeding the soybeans to ten starving people, we are stealing food from their mouths and ultimately taking their lives. In doing so we ignore truthfulness and non-harming.”
  • Brahmacharya - “Moderation, restraint, and continence.” To live an organic life in collaboration with your surroundings you must temper over-indulgences, cravings and carelessness which has spawned the disposable society we are trying to reverse.
  • Aparigraha - Do not be greedy or possessive. Remaining humble regardless of the bottom line can perpetuate a society that puts life and planet before profit.

Mindful Eating

Practicing yoga and following the 5 yamas can certainly remind you to walk alongside the earth, not just on top of it. In conjunction with these mindful poses and principals, mindful eating comes into the picture as well. Practicing yoga helps you tune in to what you put in your body. Consuming fresh, organic, local, in-season plant-based foods adds to a sustainable environment and supports water conservation; and ecological balance.

 

If you practice yoga, let others know of its many benefits to the body and the environment. If you want to try yoga, look for a local class that offers gentle sessions to start you off right. It is a practice that provides an opportunity to slow down and open your vessel to a whole new, positive way of living in a time when we can all use it.


This post was posted in Blog and Green Library, Eating Well, Green Living, Health and Safety and was tagged with NON-TOXIC, ORGANIC, SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS, SUSTAINABLE, yoga

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