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Living in Vancouver, environmentalism and yoga are both often associated with “hippies” but do the two of them have anything in common? Why do so many people who practice Yoga or who do yoga teacher trainings (YTT) align with the values of the modern environmentalist movements?
Yoga is most commonly associated with exercise in the West, and thus also with health and wellness. In order to create a healthy body we must eat right, drink plenty of water, and exercise regularly.
This creates a healthy environment for healing and wellness in our body. It doesn’t take a large stretch of the mind to see that the earth and its environment require similar types of maintenance.
Since the earth is the provider of our food and water, if one cares for their health it would be wise and logical to care for the earths well being too.
However, this connection goes further than just the body. The philosophies of Yoga teach of the whole and unified nature of all reality. This means that the earth and all its creatures are intimately connected in ways often unseen by the regular western mind.
If one practices and embodies the Yogic principles, then a responsibility to care for all live begins to arise. All life is recognized as kin, thus the “Environmentalism” is simply an extension of human compassion to all of earths creatures and ecosystems.
In essence, the connection between Yoga and Environmentalism is one of value. Yoga (and as you learn in yoga teacher trainings (YTT) recognizes the value of all life, and environmentalism seeks to protect that life.
Yoga preaches the interconnectedness of all things, environmentalism strives to preserve the delicate balance of all earths ecosystems with humanity. Both seek to protect the needs of life while holding life as fundamentally valuable and worth protecting. In its own way, Environmentalism is its own Yoga.