Yoga Goes Green


Finding a quiet place free of distractions is the best way to get started with yoga. While many yogis prefer to practice with a special mat, towel, or blanket, no tools are required (please note that yoga props may help people with medical conditions as well as the elderly). While many yogis enjoy a group yoga experience at a local yoga center or club, other yogis are moving outdoors where they are able to reconnect with their inner selves and also be with nature.

We live in the midst of an unprecedented ecological crisis in which the fate of our entire planet hangs in the balance. The philosophy of Yoga, with its reverence for all life and its recognition of universal consciousness as the root of all existence, provides us with the spiritual wisdom that can help us solve this problem in a conclusive and enduring manner. Unfortunately, most modern Yoga practitioners approach Yoga mainly as a physical or personal discipline and do not look into its ecological relevance and help unfold its transformative power for the benefit of the planet as a whole.

A yogi pays attention to his food, his breath, his body/mind and goes within. But no matter how profound the meditative state he attains, he returns again and again to this world. This world, too, is an arena of Yoga. If a yogi is not aware of environmental issues, who will be? If a yogi does not make a disciplined and thoughtful use of resources, who will?

At this time, on one hand, perennial sciences like yoga are being reduced to the level of mere fitness industry, and on the other the world is seeking solutions to the current millennium of ‘inconvenient truths’ facing the entire life kingdom of the planet. It is the perennial that will solve the problems created by the short-term minds. Yoga has perennially taught the virtues like a-parigraha, non-grabbing, santosha, contentment, ahimsa, causing neither hurt nor harm to any living beings (sarvatha sarvada sarva-bhutanam: in all manners, at all times and in all conditions) and not even plucking a blade of grass without a prayer.
One who follows the path of meditation naturally and intuitively develops these qualities; the recent discoveries in neuroplasticity show that the meditation practices change the very structure of the human brain whereby one takes joy in altruistic qualities and acts and needs no dependence on external objects to possess in order to find satisfaction.

Only such innate satisfaction will lead us towards not grabbing, not harming nature—our very nature. This is the green message of Yoga.

Some folks expressed their indignance at having their nose rubbed in the unpleasant facts of global warming, planet-wide pollution, and the Sixth Mass Extinction. Scientists have for decades now warned us of the dire inue to turn a blind eye to the mounting evidence so as to conveniently pursue their current self-indulgent way of life. Unfortunately, they appear to include Yoga practitioners. I would like to urge those with a conscience to be open to the available evidence and change their life accordingly.

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2 Comments

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  1. Yes it is wonderful to see modern science in particular with neuroplasticity is catching up with the ancient yogi’s whom have said for thousands of years that mediation and yoga creates “new grooves” in the mind.

  2. A victory claimed by the Green Yoga is changing the ecological footprint of yoga mats upon which yogi’s step, stretch, and sweat. Many companies now offer a nontoxic option, and green alternatives are becoming more available.

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