20 Things a Yogi Can Do to Help Our Planet on Earth Day
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Yoga and the wellbeing of our planet have always gone hand-in-hand. The relation comes naturally; it is the place that we live in, and as yogis, we’re aware of our union with all living beings on it, we’re not separate. Our bodies are made of the elements; we eat, drink and breathe from what the Earth provides. So, we should honor it every day – but especially on Earth Day!
The idea of a day dedicated to environmental consciousness was first proposed in 1969 after a massive oil spill in California. The notion was boosted by an anti-war movement taking place at the time in the USA and together they gained momentum to bring public awareness about air and water pollution. Later, on April 22nd, 1970, millions of Americans took the streets demanding measures to stop the deterioration of the environment. They wanted a more sustainable structure to save our planet and keep it green and healthy. That was the first seed planted for the international celebration of Earth Day.
Today, we all want the same as Americans did 46 years ago. But if we think about it, the Earth doesn’t really need to be ‘saved’ by us. It has always found ways to renew and recover its majesty no matter what we do. The real question is if we’ll still be able to live on it. And that, dear yogis, is entirely up to us!
Want to take this issue in hand and start making a difference? Here’s a list of 20 different things you can do to take special care of Earth on its day. Together, we can keep it as our beautiful home for a long time ahead.
1. Honor Earth with 108 sun salutations
Let’s start with basic actions that we can take from the mat; or better yet, barefooted on the grass. The tradition is to do 108 sun salutations every start of a new season, but this is a special occasion and we can start the celebration by greeting the sun the way it deserves by performing Surya Namaskara 108 times.
2. Perform Earth related yoga poses outside
If you don’t feel in such a good shape to do 108 sun salutations, then you can take your practice somewhere outdoors and try a sequence filled with nature-related poses. Make sure you include the Tree Pose, several Mountain Poses, Dolphin Pose, Camel Pose, and a few Cat-Cows to remember the animals living on Earth.
3. Chant an appropriate mantra to heal and support Earth
After your asana practice, you can meditate for some time and repeat the mantra Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung. It attracts the energies of all the elements, the sun, the moon and the Infinite Spirit to bring deep healing. Through it, we can restore some of the damage we’ve caused to our beloved planet.
4. Put a bucket in the shower
After the long yoga session, you will probably want to take a shower. Put a bucket in the shower while you wait for it to warm up. Afterward, you can use this water to flush the bathroom or water the plants. Hundreds of gallons can be saved with this simple practice that anyone can easily do.
5. Reuse your old yoga mat
Don’t throw away your mat once it gets old. A yoga mat is such a versatile object, there is a myriad of options to reuse it and avoid contaminating the ground with more trash. It can be transformed into a bulletin board, or you can cut it out into small circles that could work as your new set of Zen drink coasters. Or you could make it a yogi mouse pad!
6. Reuse your yoga pants
Your beloved yoga pants are going to get old and will not look so pretty anymore. Just like with your yoga mat, don’t throw them away! You can cut them in long strips and transform them into yarn to knit a rag. Since they’re usually very soft, therefore, a piece of them can also be used to clean the screen of your computer or your cellphone; they can also make a good bed for your pet.
7. Buy eco-friendly yoga props
We understand that many times it’s just impossible to find good use for your yoga equipment once it gets old. To avoid pollution, you can pay attention to the labels of your pants, straps, blocks, yoga bags, etc. and make sure that they are made out of biodegradable materials that won’t become just garbage.
8. Buy a reusable coffee cup
Going to morning yoga classes can be tough without your daily dose of coffee. There’s nothing wrong with buying it from your favorite café, but you can spend a few more bucks and buy a reusable coffee cup. Not only does it keep your coffee warmer for a longer time, but you’ll avoid this company from producing more paper or plastic cups and you’ll reduce litter.
9. Buy organic products
All animals and plants are a fundamental part for our planet to maintain its natural cycle, that’s why it’s important to buy products which ensure that they are not being created through industrial processes that are harming the ground.
Organic products are produced with no toxic pesticides, antibiotics or genetic engineering. In the case of animals, they are well-fed with no chemicals and have more freedom to move around. As a result, these products taste way better and you are taking care of the Earth by buying them.
10. Bring your own grocery bags
When you go to the supermarket, or better yet to the local farmer’s market, and buy these organic products, make sure you bring a canvas bag or recycled paper bag with you to take your food home. Plastic bags take a long time to biodegrade and often end up in the bin just being useless afterward.
11. Bring a reusable bottle of water to your yoga class
It is important to keep hydrated during your yoga class, and it is necessary to take a bottle with you, but there is no need to bring new bottles to each class. In its place, buy a nice bottle and refill it at home with tap water. Plastic pollutes too much to keep using it everywhere, but we understand that sometimes it’s just impossible to stop it; what you can do is check the recycling code and separate it instead of putting it in the trashcan.
12. Use your bike or walk to the studio
If your yoga studio is within walking distance, do not hesitate and start warming up for your practice by moving those legs. If it’s a bit farther, then hop on your bike and start pedaling. By not using your car you will avoid air pollution and save some gasoline. This practice doesn’t only save the Earth, but your pocket as well!
13. If you have to drive, do it smartly
If you definitely must drive a car to get to your yoga studio and there is no public transportation, then do it smartly. You can save a lot of gas by driving slowly, avoiding sudden stops and quick accelerations. Another option is to call your yoga mates and offer to pick them up. Carpooling would let you interact with them and they would leave their car in their garages.
14. Assist an eco-yoga event
Fortunately, Earth Day has gained lots of popularity since its establishment in 1970. Thus, it’s easy to find events and festivals to celebrate Mother Earth on its day. These events help to increase awareness and many times the revenue goes to organizations taking care of the planet. Find something that attracts you, invite some friends and practice some yoga while celebrating Earth Day.
15. Go on an eco-yoga retreat
What better way to celebrate the beauty of our planet than treating yourself to a retreat in a breathtaking location? It’s true, we’re hurting the world with our lifestyle, but, fortunately, there are still heavenly places that remind us how fortunate we are to live in here.
Book eco-friendly yoga retreat that supports the wellbeing of the Earth. That way you would be helping the organizer to keep the good cause and maybe more people will start focusing on these kinds of yoga holidays.
16. Turn off your computer
If you take yoga classes online or just take ideas for your practice from videos on your computer, don’t forget to turn it off once you’re done! If you just leave it on sleep mode, the battery still drains a little bit, unnecessarily wasting power. Also, if the battery is totally charged, there is no need to keep the cable plugged into your laptop; by unplugging the charger, you increase the lifetime of your device and save electricity.
17. Unsubscribe from printed yoga magazines
Image credit: Yoga Journal
If you like to have good yoga references and read about our beloved practice, you can subscribe to digital versions only. Most magazines have the option to send you their regular edition to your tablet, phone or e-reader. By doing this, you would be saving lots of paper, thus avoiding trees to be cut down, and the digital versions tend to be way cheaper than the printed ones; once again, a win-win for your pocket and the Earth!
18. Use eco-friendly products to keep your yoga space clean
We all like to have a neat yoga space at home, of course, that’s where we commit ourselves to find inner peace. Unfortunately, a lot of the cleaning products that we use are harmful to the atmosphere. Be good to your planet and spend a few more dollars on eco-friendly detergents and soaps. Your yoga shrine and your conscience will both be clean!
19. Light candles during your yoga session
Convince your group at the yoga studio to light up candles for at least one session on Earth Day, instead of turning the lights on. This will give you a more peaceful sensation while saving power! Who knows? Maybe you find out that it helps everyone to concentrate and feel good and decide to do it all the time.
20. Plant a tree
Finally, there is no better way to say thank you to the Earth than planting a tree. They provide us with oxygen and clean the air. It’s the best gift we can give to our planet because it’s actually a present for us too. Name your tree, take care of it and it will help you develop a deeper love for nature; planting a tree gives you the feeling of actually contributing to the wellbeing of the Earth and that you’re leaving a long-lasting legacy to this world.
Want to make more people conscious of the environment? Become a yoga teacher and spice up your classes with some eco-lessons!