Several yogis around Lansing will work together on April 24 to teach yoga at the Capitol steps for Lansing’s Family Eco Fest, an Earth Day Lansing event. We’re calling it Yoga Lansing for the Earth. Check out the schedule.
Celebrating the earth and its cycles with the sun and moon and the union we have with the natural world is yoga. Honoring and protecting the earth is essential in a yoga practice.
Do yoga practitioners have a duty to the earth?
Here’s a breakdown of the sun salute, the core of any yoga practice from some sages.
“…let me repeat that no asana practice is complete without sun worship. Without its focusing of mental energies, yoga practice amounts to little more than gymnastics and, as such, loses meaning and proves fruitless. Indeed the Surya Namaskaras should never be mistaken for mere physical exercise – for something incidental, that is, that simply precedes the asanas of yoga. Therefore, it is necessary, before beginning the sun salutations, to pray to Surya […] to bestow upon us the good fortune of having only good thoughts, of hearing and speaking only good words and of attaining a sound and strong body, so that we may have a long life and one day achieve oneness with God.”–Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
“The sun salutation is a prayer in motion. It allows us to use the body as an instrument of higher awareness, so that we can receive wisdom and knowledge. The ancient yogis taught that each of us replicates the world at large, embodying “rivers, seas, mountains, fields…stars and planets…the sun and moon” (Shiva Samhita, II. 1-3). The outer sun, they asserted, is in reality a token of our own “inner sun” which corresponds to our subtle, or spiritual, heart. Here is the seat of consciousness and higher wisdom (jnana) and, in some traditions, the domicile of the embodied self (jivatman).”—author unknown
By honoring our planet we honor ourselves.
Take a moment to reflect on your yoga practice and your daily activities and their impacts on the earth.
What’s your yoga mat made of? Where did your clothes come from? Are they designer yoga clothes? Did it employ safe labor practices? Was the fabric made with sustainable and organic practices?
How do you get to your yoga practice (daily? Once a week? However frequently?) Did you spend a few gallons of gas to do it?
Does your studio recycle? Do you use a water bottle from home or do you buy water every day in clear plastic bottles?
Does your studio conserve energy (how much is spent to heat studios in summer?) Is the pursuit of hot power contradictory to being compassionate toward the earth?
What are your props made of? Does your studio or its students donate time and materials to the community?
How do we take our yoga off the mat and into our day to day?
Yoga is more than a span of minutes in postures on your mat. Your yoga practice lies in your actions, your speech, your intentions in all of your being.
Be the change. — Ghandi