Happy Earth Day
Living Yoga – Living Green
Once again it is Earth Day. Do any of you remember when we first started celebrating Earth Day? It was such a big deal – tree plantings, school activities, huge community wide events. Now, it seems as though we have gotten habituated to the idea. I mean I have to actually look for events and celebrations. Where are the big banners and posters for local get-involved events?
And then I remembered one of the primary principles of our yoga practice. The first of Patanjali’s yamas is Ahimsa – roughly translated to “do no harm.” On the mat, we take this to mean that we respect our bodies and we don’t push beyond our limits. But what does it mean beyond the mat? Well the first step is to treat all beings, including ourselves with compassion and respect. Avoid those harmful words, thoughts and actions. Practice Kindness and compassion in all you do.
And from here, “being/living green” is a logical extension of Ahimsa. If we are to avoid harmful actions to all beings everywhere, wouldn’t that also include our own lovely planet? Practicing beyond the mat when it comes to the earth means living Ahimsa and treating the earth in ways that nourish her and don’t hurt or deplete her fine resources. There are so many simple steps we can take to support our earth, and as a result support and nourish ourselves. I offer just a few here, and welcome your suggestions to expand this list for all of us.
Walk gently and leave no tread
- Take a hike or walk. Enjoy the great outdoors and when you see any litter, pick it up and put it in the trash/recycling. I admit I carry an extra bag for the litter on my walks. I even get in the deep knee bends picking all that stuff up.
- Avoid using bottled water – those plastic water bottles are filling up our landfills and most often the water is no different from that which comes out of your tap. Check out this great video to learn more.
- Reduce your energetic footprint – turn out the lights, turn down the heat, turn off your computer when you are not using it.
- Reduce your gas consumption, drive less, walk/bike more, ride with a friend.
- Save a tree – bring your own bags to the grocery store.
- Recycle – see if you can make your recycle bin fuller than your garbage bin.
- Clean green – most household cleaning projects can be done with some combination of vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and water, and a bit of elbow grease. Think of it this way – less toxins down the drain and a cleaner healthier home for you.
- Use less water – I know here in Seattle it is hard to imagine a water shortage, but the less we use here, the more there is for others in greater need elsewhere.
- Eat local & organic –the food won’t have to travel so far, the energy footprint will be less, and the food will be fresher and better for you, and you will be supporting your local farmer.
- Use a yoga mat made of sustainable products – I love my Jade Harmony mat.
There are so many more things we can do to practice Ahimsa beyond the mat. Adding just one of the things to your daily practice will not only benefit the planet, but it will also deepen your yoga practice.
Shalom & Namaste,