The Green Yoga Association is a wonderful organization bringing awareness about Yoga and ecology. The GYA website contains so much wonderful information from greening your studio to its directory of green studios that GYA is a really fantastic resource for all yogis. GYA’s motto is: “Spiritual activism for the planet.” GYA also sponsors a beautiful seva project of planting of trees worldwide. Please consider joining GYA and supporting their mission.
Illuminating the green basis of Yoga helps us to deepen into the ultimate meaning of Yoga as union. Yogis have always known that all life is interconnected, and that we must treat all beings, even the elements of nature, with tenderness and respect. Our work is to awaken this great teaching in our lives, and to share it with the world.
GYA Values Statement:
The health of our bodies depends on clean air, clean water, and clean food. Yoga is grounded in an understanding of this interconnection. Historically, Yoga developed in the context of a close relationship with the earth and cosmos and a profound reverence for animals, plants, soil, water, and air. This reverence towards life is the basis of the Yogic teaching of ahimsa, or non-violence, non-injury, and non-harming.
Today, the viability of earth’s life systems is in danger. If humanity is to survive and thrive, we must learn to live in balance with nature. Now is the time to cleanse and heal the earth and to establish a sustainable relationship with the environment for generations to come.
Therefore, as practitioners of Yoga we will:
o Educate ourselves about the needs of the biosphere as a whole and our local ecosystems in particular.
o Cultivate an appreciation for and conscious connection with the natural environments in which we live, including animals, plants, soil, water, and air.
o Include care for the environment in our discussion of Yogic ethical practices.
o Commit ourselves to policies, products, and actions that minimize environmental harm and maximize environmental benefit.
o And if we are Yoga teachers or centers, we will incorporate these commitments into our work with students.
Endorsers of this Values Statement include:
Swami Asokananda, Barbara Benagh, Beryl Bender Birch, Scott Blossom, Kaviraj Stephen Cope, Seane Corn, Nischala Joy Devi, Shobhan Richard Faulds, Angela Farmer, John Friend, Georg Feuerstein, Lilias Moon Folan, Marshall Govindan, Ann Green, Leah Kalish, Sally Kempton, Arthur Kilmurray, Hansa Knox, Judith Hanson Lasater, Cyndi Lee, Richard Miller, Elise Browning Miller, Todd Norian, Aadil Palkhivala, Ranchor Prime, Kali Ray, Shiva Rea, Erich Schiffman, John Schumacher, John Seed, Henryk Skolimowski, Stuart Sovatsky, David Swenson, Patricia Walden
Green Studio Values
The focus of Green Yoga Studios is to think green. We suggest you select and stick with ONE statement, almost like a mantra that you use every time that you make a decision. For example, ask yourself “What are the ripple effects of this decision?,” so that even though it might not be financially feasible to choose the decision that you might wish, you choose knowingly. To select your theme with the help of the 5-step guide, first consider ahimsā.
Begin by understanding its opposite: Himsā. In the Indic philosophical system, the opposite is presented to further our understanding of that what we wish to cultivate.
Himsā: Thus, to deepen our understanding of ahimsā, it is helpful to look at himsā, or modern civilization’s unsustainable behaviors with planetary gifts of earth, water, and air. According to Natural Step and Natural Capitalism, two pioneers in the sustainability movement, the four root unsustainable behaviors that create imbalances in the planetary elements are:
o We dig stuff up out of the Earth’s crust (e.g., heavy metals, fossil fuels);
o We create and overuse manmade products (e.g., pesticides, fire retardants);
o We damage free services of natural systems and the biodiversity (e.g.,
o We create societies where many people can not meet basic needs with fairness.
Among the results of these are an increase in water consumption and population,
and a decrease in freshwater and air quality.
Sustainable Behaviors: REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE. We can also further understand ahimsā by becoming familiar with sustainable behaviors, including basic bio-principles such as those expressed in Janine M. Benyus’s book Biomimicry; Innovation Inspired by Nature. Examples include:
o Use waste as a resource;
o Diversify and cooperate;
o Gather and use energy efficiently;
o Optimize rather than maximize; and,
o Use materials sparingly.
These principles may be summarized as REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE.
Begin by understanding the opposite: Greed is one of the three deadly poisons in spiritual traditions of India along with anger and delusion. Our worldly life depends upon the purity and balance of the five elements and the world’s wealth is based on the five elements: we must share the gift of the five elements. Yet, consumerism and advertising mislead us into believing we need more than we do.
There are thousands of other groups that can help you cultivate a deeper understanding of the harmful behaviors toward Mother Earth. Among them are: Climate Crisis and Traditional Yoga Studies Green Dharma (click on link for website and FREE download of Georg and Brenda Feuerstein’s books Green Dharma and Greening Your Life).