Can Yoga be Beneficial for the Environment?

We just launched our first online YouTube video! It is the first video in a series focused on creating environmental awareness and celebrating natural environments around the world. We hope that by increasing environmental awareness locally and globally, our yoga practice will empower people to take a step- small, big, or a massive leap- into caring about the environment and improving their community.

Wait a second….. what does yoga have to do with this?

Yoga is marketed as a tool for self-improvement, and the focus is almost always on the individual. This isn’t bad- yoga is definitely a great tool to make you feel mentally and physically better. However, the primary focus on an individual overlooks the potential for yoga to encourage collective action that benefits the community and environment. Don’t get me wrong- yoga is a great tool for self-improvement. We believe that people who feel empowered are more likely to adjust their behavior to help their community and environment. In this way, yoga can help empower people to step up and make changes on both an individual and community level.

Our first stop: St. Lucia!

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Our first two videos were filmed in St. Lucia, a beautiful island in the Caribbean. St. Lucia is well known for two striking volcanic spires known as the Pitons (Gros & Petit Pitons- you can guess which is bigger). The Pitons hold the coveted honor of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, indicating importance to the global community. The Pitons, along with the volcanic landscape that they are in, represent the entire volcanic history of volcano associated with crustal plate subduction (the downward, sideways movement of the Earth’s crustal plate into the mantle of another plate). If you have no idea what that just meant, do not worry! Just know that this area offers valuable insight into the geology of how our Earth works- and that it is valuable to all of us.

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St. Lucia also has valuable ecosystems, one of the most celebrated being the fragile coral reefs around the island. Due to climate change caused by human activity, our oceans are rising. This directly affects St. Lucia and other island nations all over the world. As our oceans rise and warm, island land and the resources on within them grow smaller. This has dire consequences for human, animal and plant populations. Coral reefs are at risk due to human activity (such as over-fishing and high populations of tourist visiting) as well as coral bleaching due to an increase in the ocean temperature. Many island nations feel the effects of global warming right now. We all contribute to the effect climate change has now and in the future.

This is where a lot of people stop and feel terrible, even hopeless. How can we help? Do our small actions even matter?

How can we help address climate change?

It is easy to feel overwhelmed about climate change. A huge step is not denying that it is real and that we are causing it. Educate yourself and talk about it with others. You have power, and small steps make a difference. If you need to feel empowered, yoga can help you get there. A regular practice makes a person physically and mentally stronger. A yoga practice is uniquely personal, and because of this, each person will contribute to his or her community in their own way. And that is awesome!

Ten Ways You Can Help RIGHT NOW (this list courtesy of the Canadian government. Read more here)

  1. Reduce energy use
  2. Change your transportation
  3. Insulate your home
  4. Watch your water usage
  5. Use cold water in the washing machine and hang your clothes vs. using a dryer
  6. Replace old appliances with high efficiency (energy reducing) items
  7. Switch to “green power”
  8. Recycle!
  9. Repurpose!
  10. Plant trees

Try choosing one of the items above, and make it a goal to achieve it by a certain point. Plant a tree, hang your clothes, and get crafty on Pinterest vs. buying new products.

So does yoga directly affect climate change? No. But yoga does empower people to take action and make a difference in their community and environment. Our behavior has an effect on the world, and that is a powerful thing.

Share your ideas to empower others! Stay tuned for the next video in St. Lucia!

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