Saturday, January 29, 2011

Earth Yoga Challenge for Change: True Yoga Connection

Yesterday as I cruised along the harbour on the HRM ferry, checking out the sunset and mentally preparing for my 20 minute walk home, I listened to an segment on how an 86 year old man in B.C. wants to save Mary Lake. This man, Bob, visits this rare piece of protected forest, tweets about the lake (BobMcMinn) regularly and has spearheaded a campaign to raise enough money to purchase Mary Lake and keep this precious part of our world protected (they are far from their goal and still need help!).

Spending so much time surrounded by nature, this man 'gets' it. He understands the necessary connection we all must feel, that our survival depends upon, with our planet. Our children (and I would argue adults) have been theorized to be suffering from 'nature deficiency disorder' (Richard Louv, 2005), and spend significantly less time exploring nature. A variety of reasons, ranging from 80% of our populations living in urban centres, fear of 'stranger danger' and allowing children unsupervised outdoor time to a drop of 25% in children's unstructured play opportunities (think organized sports instead of fort building).

As a yogini, this disconnect is doubly important as the entire *point* of yoga is connection. As I don't perceive my body as being separate from my surroundings, the air I physically embody, the food I eat and beauty I see, I can't begin to assume that connection should only occur between my mind and body. Connection is meant to continue with myself, my surroundings and ultimately the Divine.

What does this mean practically? It's all well and good to sit here theorizing about how yoga should focus more on ecological-type connections, but how as yogi(ni)s (and non-yogi(ni)s :) ) can we bring this into practice? Lets face it, visualizing the earth and air we breathe in a square box studio surrounded by concrete and honking horns isn't really connection.

It is time for a change, a bit more of a self-commitment. We commit to going to work, to practicing asana, to washing the dishes. We can commit to Connection.

Earth Yoga Challenge for Change
(*although I despise the word challenge, this really is a bit of a call out to you my readers... so the name is staying... and I like alliteration lol).

How does the EYCC work?

We read about ways we can change our habits, bring ourselves closer to valuing our planet and it's resources as something sacred and essential for human life. But do we ever implement these changes? Habits often require more commitment, conscious practice in order to break. Therefore, simply reading and thinking 'hm, that is a good idea' isn't enough for Change.

What we'll do, in a supportive and practical way, is commit to a change (or a few) bi-monthly that we feel appropriate. It will become part of our yoga practice in a concrete way and every instance of moving towards change will remind us of how we're coming closer to connecting with ourselves.

Each week I'll post a theme on change, every Sunday with a range of options and ideas. We'll check in together to see how we're doing via twitter (#earthyogachallenge) that week, commenting on the themed post or writing our own blog posts and linking back to the theme here at EcoYogini. So many of you have fabulous insight and ideas on how you've made certain changes in your lives and I know I learn so much from your comments and suggestions. It makes it easier to take those steps.

First theme will be tomorrow- What say you my EcoYogi(ni) readers (and non-yoga readers) are you too hip to be cool, or are you ready to full embody your practice? :)

article and photographs copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. Course I'm in! This is my raison d'etre after all. Awesome stuff darling xxx

  2. i love your initial commentary about structured versus unstructured play. i grew up with 'play' being running around the neighborhood since i was five years old with the local kids, playing in the trees and in the playground, or walking down to the river with my older sister and floating around in inner tubes. we ate healthy, exercised naturally, and ironically, i hated PE class because of the structure. hmm.

    PS - on your recycling comment, i was so curious about the plastic crinkle bags that i read up on halifax's recycling and found they ship all of their plastic recycling to china. in portland, our recycling stays primarily in the US, most going to facilities in OR, WA, CA.

  3. @Rachel and Alli- WOO! :)

    @EcoGrrl: yes, I really want to read Richard Louv's book- I've heard interviews with him- fantastic.

    Re: Halifax's recycling. If you're referring to the link on the HRM recycling website: 'Why does HRM only accept #1 and #2 plastic?' they make reference to a cost analysis of the other municipalities in the province (not Halifax) who accept all types of plastic, which are sent to China.

    So in fact, HRM (or Halifax Regional Municipality) does not in fact send their plastic to China for processing- as HRM has found it would cost residents (gov) 20,000$ loss in revenue.

    again stated in HRM's newspaper 'The Coast'

    Maybe you looked at a different 'Halifax'?

    @A Green Spell: WEE!


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