For the month of April, the residents of the Institute have chosen to practice Yoga in relationship to the environment, the month in which we also celebrate Earth Day. Because our planet earth is in such dire need of care, we decided to call it Green Yoga. Like any spiritual principle, this practice can be applied to all aspects of our lives.We may start by keeping our home environments clean and orderly, making them conducive to spiritual cleanliness and a clear, uncluttered mind. But even in cleaning our homes, we must consider the greater environment. Our culture has created thousands of chemicals and in-disposable substances that pollute our earth home and our own bodies. We can easily learn how to purchase natural products in bulk to make our own cleaners, thus avoiding the use of plastic packaging and innumerable unnecessary chemicals. In this way, we withdraw our support from the unconscious saturation of the planet with harmful materials.The day after we made this practice plan, Governor Brown announced new laws restricting the use of water in response to the severe drought we are experiencing. Green Yoga practice can make a substantial difference in our homes if we are mindful of how we use water in dish washing, showering and in the garden.
Mindfulness of the environment extends far beyond our homes and the state we live in. We need to practice being fully present to the events in our world–both the courageous acts of human love and the greed, violence and divisiveness that create so much human suffering.
By cultivating a heightened awareness in our daily practice, we can be fully awake to this suffering and our contributions to it. We can take responsibility for our daily interactions, seek to relieve suffering and act with compassion toward those less fortunate. We can pause often to make peace in our hearts and send out prayers for peace each time we do.
True awareness of our environment is a call for us to be fully engaged in our world, to understand our place as both a part of nature and as spiritual beings that can bring harmony and peace to our surroundings. Join Claudia and I on May 2 for a Satsang called Spiritual Activism, when we speak about our relationship to the world we live in. May we all be caretakers of this one home we have.