Eco Yoga - a rant about Earth Day
Last week was Earth Day. I had flu and my tolerance for bullshit was low. As my inbox filled with companies virtue signalling their eco credentials and marketing me yet more stuff that I don’t need, my blood boiled with righteous fury. There were exclamation marks and swear words in abundance!!!
But ranting with eco rage helps no-one, least of all the Mother Earth. This week I put my mind to thinking how yoga might help with our awareness the planet’s needs and how the ancient teachings and daily practices invoke our inner eco activist in this contemporary world.
🌍 Aparigraha is the practice of non-attachment, not hoarding or coveting. It helps us to notice how attachment is a very basic human tendency born from a fear of lack, the fear of not enough. We saw it with the hoarding experienced at the beginning of lockdown.
🌍 Yoga begins with noticing and becomes the capacity to cultivate exquisite awareness. In the same way we are called to notice our alignment, the sensations and breath during our practice, we can notice our habits, our attachments and our unconscious leanings. This gives us the space for choice.
🌍 Yoga cultivates discernment, viveka or the ability to judge well. Our human world is governed by commercial consciousness, consumer pressures that are always trying to persuade us to buy more and more stuff, experiences or services. What we truly need versus what we want requires our personal vigilance and discernment at all times. How we spend our money or align our business in the best way for the planet requires ongoing viveka.
🌍 Yoga cultivates meaningful connection. As we identify less with our egoic self we are free to feel genuine connection with others and the planet. When that connection becomes heart felt, it is impossible to do her further harm, to make decisions that don’t serve mother nature. Ahimsa, that ongoing practice of doing no harm becomes our path.
🌍 The practice of love and compassion are woven into the practices of yoga. It awakens and reveals in us a profound love and gratitude for others and for our world. No-one wishes to harm those that they love, instead our maternal and paternal tendencies allow the practice of selfless service to be honoured.
🌍 This path is hard - the obstacles to living consciously are real and insidious. It requires practice. It requires beginning again many times. It requires consistency, patience and perseverance. A consistent practice teaches us these things.
If you are curious as to how the ancient teachings of yoga can help you in a contemporary context, please consider our courses for deeper dives into the teachings or for yoga teacher professional development.