A Center for Contemplative Ecology

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The Link Between Yoga & Sustainability

The Link Between Yoga & Sustainability – An Excerpt

As the Vermont Autumn Yoga Retreat and Ecology of Yoga session approaches we find our minds musing over the practice of yoga and how it relates to our life on this earth and our interaction with nature. With this contemplative spirit, we would love to offer an excerpt from Metta Earth Yoga written by Russell Comstock. The Metta Earth Yoga book is a wonderful offering and speaks to the practices and mindset that we align ourselves with on a daily basis. May you find in it what is nurturing and supportive in your journey.

With September vivaciously arriving on our land in a flush of reds and golds in harvests, landscapes, and flowers, we find ourselves shifting into heartier processing in the kitchen and bustling arrivals of our September and October yoga retreats.

From “The Link Between Yoga and Sustainability” in Metta Earth Yoga by Russell Comstock:

How are yoga and sustainability related? What could standing on your head and the fate of the planet possibly have in common? Can practicing yoga help to make the world a better place? It is well known that yoga is founded upon principles that promote awareness of one’s sense of connection, inborn unity, and interdependence with all things. Clearly these central tenets convey innately ecological consciousness through the practice of yoga? And perhaps more importantly, can yoga inspire conscious, peaceful, environmental stewardship for the betterment of society and the Earth?

By focusing on our inquiry with these types of questions it is not hard to see how yoga can be connected to the quality of our daily lies, and thus the future of the Earth. Through the practice of yoga we become more sensitized to the interconnections of thought, energy, and action. We learn to cultivate deep respect and reverence for the give and take that is inherent to our existence. By addressing this exchange from a yogic perspective, the practices detailed in this chapter offer specific insight into the ways that yoga can help to heal our bodies and the Earth.

Yoga teaches us to care for our bodies and to make choices that are life enhancing over those that diminish quality of life. We learn to breathe more fully and to appreciate the exchange of oxygen molecules that support the entire biosphere. With this knowledge we can begin to make choices that support clean air for all. We might walk more, use less aerosol propelled products, or take greater care to be more efficient with our driving habits.

Likewise, we can become more aware of the foods we eat and how our diet affects our overall energy and health. We may choose to buy and eat less processed foods that digest more easily. We may become aware of the correlation between taste and freshness and begin to purchase locally grown foods as much as possible, or even better, to grow our own organically. Our choices in the marketplace impact the producers and in turn the environment those companies operate within. Thus the yoga we practice in the studio or home sanctuary (Hatha and Kriya), and in our lives in general (Karma, Bhakti, Jnana, and Tantra), not only changes us as individuals, it impacts the wider world in which we live.

Bringing yoga and environmental awareness together is beneficial for all. The practice of yoga generates new habits of thinking, and the fate of our world is dependent upon creative, new initiatives for long-term survival.

Metta Earth Yoga is a spiritual ecological practice in which one nourishes the body and soul, while simultaneously supporting a vital and sustainable future….Ecological yoga approaches, such as Metta Earth Yoga, join consciousness with the concepts of sustainability for the benefit of all beings. In doing so we create a path for communion between humanity and the living Earth.

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