Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Yoga and the Soul Sucking of Environmental Activism

 Our evening spontaneous bike ride to Yoga in the Park tonight... even though it was humidex of 35 degrees... Andrew is a good sport :)
Yoga... connection and spirit. I've mentioned in passing how Yoga is a way for me to connect with my belief in the Divine Goddess. A commenter once asked me how I do that... or why or something. It's just like moving prayer. Seane Corn speaks about how her yoga practice is like praying with movement. During my practice I connect with myself, my surroundings, my Earth and my Goddess. I dedicate each movement with awareness to Her. 

My new 'zoya' eco-friendly yogi toes... and the sail boats :)
Maybe that's a bit weird... but I have a funny feeling lots of yogi(ni)s begin purely physical and with time connect with their inner selves which in turns transforms their practice into something a bit more spiritual.

what downward dog looked like tonight... although it was upside down for me
Being an environmentalist, or Planet Addict, kinda goes against all the yogic connection in a sense. There is a lot to be worried-angry-upset-sad about lately when it comes to the health of our Mother Earth. What Ted Grand mentioned last week, about feeling like being an activist was eating away at his soul (or something like that) and how Yoga helped focus his energies in a positive manner... that resonated with me. And it didn't.

I think it's a fine balance to let go of what moves us to make change. 

And fellow Yogi(ni)s, we are in need of a change. It is Time. Ya know? The pictures of the oil gushing for miles and miles in our precious ocean, the ridiculous amounts of plastic being dumped into landfills to languish *forever*, the chemicals we expose ourselves and our children that cause cancer, developmental disorders and health risks, genetically manipulating our food, peak oil.... ok I could go on.

on the ride home... self bicycling shadow
So ya, I'm not really a fan of directing my 'love' vibes as a way to direct my eco-energy. I believe that change happens through action, through some sort of activism, through strong energy and motivated passionate people. 


So much negative energy truly *is* soul-sucking (kinda like Eric on True Blood... sigh... oh Eric...). It's extremely important not to let yourself become a cynical, burned out ecoyogi(ni)... you've heard them around 'I've been fighting climate change forever...' or 'those capitalist b*%st#rds will never change!'.... etc.

The train getting in our way...
We need hope, we need passion and we need love... all while keeping up the good fight.  Which is why I shy away from posting really down posts, like how the oil spill is spewing out of control, or how our use of gas-burning transportation is eating up our air, or how our addiction to consumption is trashing our planet. You'd have to live in a hole to not be cognizant that our actions are basically 'shitting where we live'. You know that. 

We just need to take a step back and realize that maybe it's time to do the difficult changes. Not just replace our cleaning supplies with vinegar and water, or buy eco-friendly beauty products, or switch to CFL lightbulbs. The Big Stuff. Like decrease our driving and walk-bike more. Decrease our plastic consumption and shop at the farmer's market (or CSA). Buy Less Stuff. Seriously. Invest in renewable energy to power your home. Ya know. Hard stuff.

Letting go of material wants and my external self does not mean disconnecting from what makes our world beautiful. My inner Light connects with the Light of the Sacred Earth... which forces me to recognize how each of our actions will influence the whole.

There are ways to be Eco-Warriors (Eco-Vira's) without exploding into fiery phoenix's of negative energy. We simply need to find that path.

You with me? :)

article and photographs copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. have you read Ecopsychology? i think you'd love it...

  2. Wow. EXCELLENT post (and great photos!).

    We are with you. Though I won't promise the big changes will be immediate, they will - nope, they ARE happening. And if we as a li'l family of 4 can do it? Anyone can.

    No hate, just change.

  3. Yeah I'm with you. All that anger and passion can turn toxic (and therefore unhealthy for body and mind).

    It's natural to feel upset and angry when things like the oil spill happen. But it's possible to start feeling helpless in the face of the evils of capitalism, too. And that doesn't help anyone, let alone the planet.

    I don't know if there's a real answer to this conundrum other than to do what you can to be mindful - whatever that means to you as an individual. And be sad and upset, but don't let that become a lens through which you see the world.

  4. I was with you the second I read your post title. I can so relate to this, except that I haven't made as many great eco-changes as you have. You are truly an inspiration.

    P.S. I *love love love* your new banner!

  5. Loved this: "There are ways to be Eco-Warriors (Eco-Vira's) without exploding into fiery phoenix's of negative energy. We simply need to find that path."

    yes...we are with you! It is indeed a balance. I heard once that the paradox is that true change can only happen when we first accept [tricky word...I think what it really means in this context is SEE/REALIZE] what IS. Then we can move forward in "wise action" :)

  6. Yes I agree with you to protect our environment we have to do all the mentioned things like reduce use of plastics and vehicles.

    As in this atmosphere we live in poisonous gases which is produced from airplane, chemical plants.

    We have to practice yoga on daily basis to prevent lose in our immune system.

  7. Right there with you. And also loving your shadow bicycling self. :)

  8. I spent too much of my younger life up trees, chained to railings, on protests, watching my friends getting arrested by corrupt police etc etc etc and I totally understand the soul sucking burned out-ness of that. Because nothing has changed. The bypass got built, we still don't have adequate wind power in the UK (despite it being the windiest damn country ever), and animals are still being tested on.

    Yoga saved me from lifetime of cynicism. Learning to be in the moment is probably the single most important thing in my life now.

    And from that I've learned that mass consciousness is changing and there are enough people out there willing to make a difference one way or another. It's baby steps and yes, baby steps can be frustrating. But change is coming.

    It's OK to feel sad, and it's OK to suffer, it's the first noble truth of the Buddha, but as Svasti says, that upset cannot be how we see the world.

    Much love

  9. i have difficulty not exploding into a fire of frustrated energy. i feel like i could be more effective at influencing others if i could figure out how to nicely and not hostiley get my message across. also it's a lot easier to tackle making big eco life changes when your partner is onboard.

  10. LOVE this post. I am with you. :)

  11. oh i KNEW we were all on the same page! :)

    Ecopsychology... hmm that sounds REALLY interesting! I will check it out- thanks EcoGrrl~

    Thanks Tiffany re: the new banner! it makes me smile... so i kept it from last year as my "summer" banner.

    YisforYogini: you know- i am impressed i didn't crash as i wobbled through that picture haha.

  12. oh i KNEW we were all on the same page! :)

    Ecopsychology... hmm that sounds REALLY interesting! I will check it out- thanks EcoGrrl~

    Thanks Tiffany re: the new banner! it makes me smile... so i kept it from last year as my "summer" banner.

    YisforYogini: you know- i am impressed i didn't crash as i wobbled through that picture haha.

  13. Love Jason Mraz's recent post on taking ACTION!

  14. Love the pics, and how you tied it all to True Blood, lol! (Is Ep. 4 out yet...?)

    Okay, but seriously, I totally know what you mean about all of this. It is so hard to find that balance between panic/anxiety/anger, and positively changing.

    And some of that stuff you mentioned truly is hard, but on the other side of you, you realize that it is actually easier in the long run, and more satisfying.

  15. And one more really lovely reflection on the oil spilling and "oneness" ...

  16. Absolutely with you! For me, yoga is a way to re-connect with passion/ source/ divine energy when the enviro-warrior life gets too draining. I've seen so many enviro (and other activists) get burned out... it seems necessary to have some sort of spiritual practice that replenishes the well and allows the good fight to go on.

  17. The boys have settled me down. At the end of the day, even if I'm pissed or riled up, I still have to get them fed, bathed and ready for bed. So, I guess, for me, the lesson is: getting mad--while satisfying--usually makes you too tired to get the real work done.

    Once you get past the rage you find the true energy to be productive. I can't say I follow that lesson to the letter, but it helps me focus.

    Thanks for giving us something to think about...especially when a lot of the problems seem too overwhelming. Baby steps.

  18. I am in! I will sign up right now for Bullfrog and pay the extra to have more renewable power put into the grid. Although, I have been a slacker about getting my bike to the shop... :( Time to get on it!

    These days of extreme heat and brown outs should be an awakening for all those living in those areas. I hope people start to take climate change seriously!

  19. I'm with you girl! It is hard to find a balance. You read of all of the un-green things being done (i.e. oil spill, consumption, and everything else) and it gets me down sometimes making me feel helpless. It makes me feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders because I'm doing the best I can which isn't going to fix the atrocities going on. I don't preach to people to make them change. I want to shake some people by the shoulders, but I can't "make" anyone change. Our little (and big) changes do matter though, and if more and more people start to see the light we can start getting companies to produce what we want them to produce if we stop buying the garbage they are trying to sell us.
    Thanks for the post, it was a great read!

  20. This really is a wonderful post!
    It captures exactly how I feel about the enviro-thing.

    If we just find the way...


I love hearing from you! So I don't miss a comment, I like "pre-approving" them :)
I ask only that we stay respectful.
Also, please note that this is a personal blog and not a space for advertising your company. I reserve the right to delete "advertising" comments.

**NB: The ANONYMOUS option is the BEST way to comment if you don't have a blogger or established google/gmail account.