Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Challenge of Being an Eco-Yogi: Critical Thinking and Yoga

Being an "EcoYogini" has actually been more difficult than I originally believed. Surprising? I think I was being a bit naive in the entire process.

Everything about the environmental movement involves questioning. Instead of swallowing the status quo, we start to question whether our current way of living truly is better for our planet and our race. Because we're surrounded by consumeristic choices, we have to spend our time critically examining all information that comes our way.

Is a product truly the "green" choice the company says it is? 
Is there a way we can do things with less impact?
Should we be investing in sustainable energy sources or decreasing and living with less?

People typically don't look to yoga seeking more questions. Generally it's to find some answers. Think about why you began to practice yoga.

"To find peace and decrease stress" (answer)
"To get physically fit" (answer)
"To reconnect with myself" (answer)

The entire starting point, the original premise, of yoga practice then becomes not about critically examining your surroundings, but a beginning based solely on finding answers. As a result, asking more questions really isn't high up on the priority scale. So it doesn't happen that often.

When you start to ask questions, for example why do yoga studios wax poetic about ahimsa followed by choosing to offer heated classes using energy with a high carbon footprint, they aren't always exactly welcome.

Even questioning the rule of "no inversions during moon time" garners some interesting responses.

It's difficult to question a practice that is so entrenched in spirituality and faith. Even approaching and voicing concerns can be met with admonishments of "non-violent communication", or some fluffy nonsensical sentence meant to dismiss or divert- they come in light and love. "You just need to let go and have faith in the practice" is a slippery slope.

Finding a balance between blind acceptance and openness to questions can be tough. Allowing yourself some questions can also bring you to a better understanding of your yoga practice and taking steps to make those changes so important for our planet.

article copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. Thank you for asking some important questions! I have been teaching Yoga for 13yrs and I also work in the renewable energy biz...

    It IS more difficult than one thinks to be truly sustainable. Is it even possible as humans?

    We face many challenges to shift from fossil fuels to more eco-friendly means of energizing our worlds. It seems humans are slow to change on the whole. There is so much resistance!

    There is also much uproar going on right now in the mainstream yoga community. Many judgments are being made.

    I think an important question we need to ask ourselves, "Is what can I do to live my life with more integrity and less impact on our beautiful planet?" Rather than looking outside of ourselves so much.
    Thank you for contribution to raising our awareness and sustainability!
    Blessings to YOU!

  2. Hi there! I really enjoyed reading this post, I hope I never stop asking questions about yoga, my practice, spirituality, etc. That's part of "beginner mind" right? : )


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