The positive effects of yoga extends far beyond the physical practice creating a ripple effect on one’s perspective and lifestyle choices. By tuning into ourselves, we ultimately tune into the world around us. It is only natural that Yogis feel called to take action in support of humanitarian, animal and, or environmental issues.
We are so grateful to see how the Yoga community is uniting and standing up for our planet. We wanted to take this opportunity to honor Yogis that are inspiring green living and provide information on how you can join in.
If you study yoga, sooner or later, you will come across Shiva Rea. One of the most famous western Yogis, Shiva Rea is the creator of Prana Vinyasa Yoga, an international yoga teacher, and a powerhouse of a woman. For years Shiva has promoted environmentally conscious living alongside her yogic teachings. Her passion for the planet’s well-being focuses on energy usage. “Yoga Energy Activism” is a movement started by Shiva to empower individuals to create daily energy savings habits.
Shiva Rea’s enthusiasm for energy conservation extends beyond her teachings and into action with a grass-roots initiative. She states that “Be-the-Light’ Solar Lamp Project (is) to activate the yoga community and beyond to support the power of solar lanterns right in your own home and globally at the same time.” Be-the-Light brings awareness to the 25% of the world’s population that lives without electricity, the majority (1.3 billion) in which are using toxic kerosene lamps.
“Kerosene tin lamps- a toxic fuel source is equivalent to smoking 4 packs of cigarettes a day.” says Shiva.
Shiva Rea’s goal is to empower individuals to make a difference, she has created a team of “solar ambassadors” to work person-to-person, putting solar lanterns in the hands of people across the globe. Recipients of the lanterns span from homeless youth in her hometown of L.A., all the way to East Africa, through a partnership with Solar Aid (https://solar-aid.org)
You can make a difference right here and now by donating just $15 to Be-the-Light, 100% of donations go directly to providing those without electricity, a safe and eco-friendly solar lantern. To learn more about ways you can reduce your energy use and support Be-the-Light visit http://www.shivarea.com/page/activism-seva
Food for Thought:
Jivamukti Yoga, created by Sharon Gannon and David Life, is a yoga practice based on our relationship to the earth. Gannon advocates “Whatever spiritual practice we are engaged in, it must address the environmental issues that our planet faces, or else our practice is irrelevant.”
One of Jivamukti’s core principles is practicing veganism. They believe that the path to enlightenment stems from one’s ability to embody compassion and that by killing and eating animals we are neglecting the fundamental values of Yoga. Their focus on veganism is not only driven from the teachings of Ahimsa, “non-violence”, but advocates the benefits that plant-based eating has for Mother Earth.
According to the UN (https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-49238749), switching to a plant-based diet can help fight climate change. “More than 70 percent of the earth’s fresh water is used in agriculture of plants and animals: it takes 100 to 200 times more water to produce a pound of beef than it does to grow a pound of plant foods.” explains VegNews.com (https://vegnews.com/2016/2/5-ways-being-vegan-saves-the-planet). Water usage is just the beginning, the meat and dairy industry greatly contributes to deforestation, erosion, nutritional depletion of soil and green-house emissions.
“Through the practice of veganism, we can begin to experience how to live in harmony with our fellow Earthlings, who together collectively create this living planet Earth.” -Sharon Gannon.
Check-out more about Jivamukti Yoga, and living in compassion with the Earth and her animals at https://jivamuktiyoga.com/activism/
Here at Yoloha, we strive to be a force of good for both the yoga community and the planet. By providing products that are sustainably and ethically created, we are a resource for yogis who are looking to deepen their practice on and off the mat. Our cork mats are created to be high-performance products that yogis can feel good about knowing that their purchase is benefiting Mother Earth.
Cork comes from the outer bark of the Cork Oak Tree. Cork trees are the only tree in the world that regenerates stripped bark. Not a single tree is cut down to harvest cork, rather, the bark is stripped by hand every 9 years. Harvested cork oak trees can live up to 300 years. No bark is wasted during the cork production process, and the residue is granulated to make other cork products and can even be used as fuel. Harvesting cork is performed completely by hand and provides over 100,000 fair wage jobs.
Conscious consumption means that you have the power to vote with your dollar. The more money we spend promoting environmentally and ethically driven companies, the more these business practices will become the norm. Whether you are buying yoga accessories, home furnishings, or clothing, take a moment to look deeper into the production of the product, the ethics of the company and the impact on the earth. Consciously choose where you want your dollars to go.
As Yogis, we practice becoming more in tune, more connected and present. It is our duty to extend this consciousness beyond the self and apply the lessons with our relationship to Earth. The planet is begging us to change the course of our actions and make dramatic shifts, are you ready to answer her call? Are you ready to become an Earth Advocate Yogi?
AshleyAnne is a 500hr RYT, she received her 200 hr YTT from the Kripalu Yoga Center in 2012, and continued her studies finishing her 300 hr YTT from the Passion Yoga School in 2017. Her classes follow the Akhanda Yoga lineage, a traditional Indian style asana practice focusing on the energetic body. She holds space for her students to explore their primal human nature. Her classes advocate yogis to dive beyond the physical experience and connect internally with pranayama and meditation. She creates a sacred space for the community of students too feel silly, vulnerable, playful and whole. AshleyAnne specializes in stand up paddle board yoga, and prenatal yoga (85 hr YTT) Both classes offer the opportunity for her to fulfill her dharma (purpose) to empower and connect women to the nature and beauty surrounding them and within them.