Buliding Sustainability: Taking Your Yoga Off the Mat

Yoga is the union of body, mind, and spirit; the integration of body with mind and mind with soul. It balances the outer and inner and nature and spirit on an ecological and planetary level. One of the main tenants of yogic philosophy is the practice of Ahimsa- non-violence, non-injury and non-harming to all living things. Ahimsa asks us to not cause harm in thought, word or action and requires that we begin by not cultivating habits that cause harm to ourselves or others. When we embrace the concept of Ahimsa, we honor ourselves and the world around us. As you bring Ahimsa outside of your asana practice and into your daily life, you connect yourself to your children, community and the earth around you. You may begin to understand and live your life with the inherent connection between yourself and nature.

When we honor the environment around us, Ahimsa is cultivated. As you bring Ahimsa into your life, the connection between body and earth will unfold naturally. In vrksasana (“tree pose”) our feet root into the ground, we connect to the earth which provides balance and strength. Off the mat, the connection between body and earth will become stronger as we notice what we take and what we give back to ourselves, our family and our community.

Practicing Ahimsa in our daily lives is sustainability. The actions we take to enable something to last. Shopping at the local farmer’s market, supporting local agriculture, choosing meats that are free range and organic, using green products in our home for our children’s health and safety; each of these choices embraces sustainability; non-harming to our bodies and non-harming to the environment around us, which at its core is Ahimsa.

When we cultivate Ahimsa in our lives through thought and action the same will come naturally to our children. It will be second nature for our children to make non-harming choices fostering their own connection to nature and cultivating sustainability. Bringing yoga off the mat and into our daily lives we live in a manner that promotes the environment and the earth as one body, with each living thing as a part of the greater whole.

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