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Yoga Helps With Fitness, Mindfulness and...Climate Change? 

We know yoga works for psychical fitness, mindfulness and mediation, but can it help with climate change too?

Updated
Fit
5 min read
Yoga Helps With Fitness, Mindfulness and...Climate Change? 
i
Snapshot

The Earth is burning up, and could it be Yoga to the rescue?

This International Day of Yoga 2019 has a theme of ‘Climate Action’ and it aims to bring the focus on climate change. Combating climate change is a UN Sustainable Development Goal that has to be achieved by 2030, but what’s Yoga got to do with it?

In fact in 2014, it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who addressed a UN conference where he outlined the connection between the two when he suggested the idea for an International Yoga Day.

“For us in India, respect for nature is an integral part of spiritualism. Yoga is an invaluable gift of our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change.”

Yoga Helps With Fitness, Mindfulness and...Climate Change? 

  1. 1. Beyond Asanas, Yoga is a Lifestyle

    Yoga is often thought of for its fitness benefits, but it offers so much more.
    (Photo: iStockphoto)

    A Yoga practice is simply more than the physical aspects of fitness and asanas, and focuses on holistic well-being.

    Beyond physical and mental rejuvenation, “Yoga is about harmonising oneself with the universe,” says the Ministry of External Affairs.

    It is a philosophy and a way of life that spans spirituality, ethical rules and even what food to consume.

    According to Sadhguru, there are four variations of Yoga for the “four realities of life: body, mind, emotion, and energy.”

    There is bhakti Yoga for devotion and spirituality, gyana Yoga which is the path of intelligence and of developing the intellect, karma Yoga which is physical and the path of service, and kriya Yoga that looks at the energies.

    Medical News Today says there are the additional raja Yoga that focuses on meditation and discipline, and tantra Yoga that is the “pathway of ritual, ceremony, or consummation of a relationship.”

    Beyond these there is also Pranayam for breathing and energy-control.

    Yoga also looks at your chakras or the body’s power centers and has various modes for each chakra. Plus, there are different variations of Yoga from Bikram Yoga to Iyengar Yoga to Kundalini Yoga, among others.

    Phew! All in all, Yoga is expansive and is a pathway for several kinds of energies and focus areas – much beyond physical fitness.
    Expand
  2. 2. Yoga and Minimalism - and the Carbon Footprint?

    At it’s core, Yoga asks us to focus on ourself and optimise our energies.

    What this means is that, while pracitisng Yoga, you focus on what you need, in a capitalist world of wants.

    Holistic fitness expert Vesna Jacob told FIT,

    “Yoga is holistic, the yogic way is sustainability in all forms –what we eat, how we live, the clothes we wear –this all must be done keeping in mind the ideals of gentleness and oneness with everything around us.”

    Expanding this thought a little further means that we would live a simple, minimalist life. Not indulging in excessive buying or spending or creating products just because we can and have been socialised to believe we should, would drastically reduce our carbon footprint.

    Our increasing wants have lead to larger trends of industrial expansion, deforestation, land mining, displacement and related environmental disasters. Besides, economic changes have bled into social ones, with a culture of consumption, that fuels our need for excessive stuff.

    So adopting Yogic practices of minimalism would help us not just individually, but also as a culture, revamping our path towards being conscious of consumption. This means that Yoga could actually help create a cycle that would help negate the effects and even potentially reverse climate change.

    Jacob adds, “Pollution came with industrialisation, we are the only species that is adjusting nature with our requirements. Once we follow the yogic way of sustainability and caring for everything around us, pollution and other environmental damages will harmonize itself.”

    Of course, not every person or yogi is alike, and yoga expert Zubin Atre begs to differ,

    “Climate change is bigger than one person, while yoga is about the individual. Doing yoga, and I am talking the fitness aspect of it, will not stop the ice caps from melting.”
    Expand
  3. 3. Mindfulness and the Environment

    Another aspect of the philosophy of Yoga is the focus on mindfulness. Yoga reinforces our place on the planet and in the circle of life – so we are more mindful of our interdependence to nature.

    “Yoga teaches us that we are a part of the Earth and it is a part of us.”
    Vesna Jacob

    In a sense, it pushes us out of our own bubble, and asks us to connect with not just other souls around us, but also the planet and nature.

    It connects us to the earth and thus invites us to be more caring of this connection via reforestation efforts, composing an other forms of ecosystem restoration.

    Jacob adds, “The yogic way therefore means using only re-usable, recyclable things, no plastic, nothing that harms anything around us including nature.”

    In the philosophical sense of Yoga, it teaches us about Hindu principles of karma and the consequences of our actions, creating an atmosphere for us to be mindful of our impact on things beyond ourself.

    Then, there are the yamas or the yogic ethical principles which are:

    • Ahimsa (harmlessness)
    • Satya (truthfulness)
    • Asteya (non-stealing)
    • Brahmacharya (spiritual resolution of desires)
    • Aparigraha (non-possessiveness)

    These reinforce a more positive approach to our internal and external selves, and could therefore encourage more eco-friendly, conscious choices.

    A more mindful approach to the way we lead our lives has myriad spillover benefits, from being more committed in our goals to living a thoughtful, purposeful existence – and all of this can only positively benefit us, our communities and the Earth.

    Atre agrees, saying that "Yoga does help in taking your focus away from the materialistic," but adds, "however, Yoga as a business has become comercialised."

    (This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

    (The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

    We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated.

    Liked this story? We'll send you more. Subscribe to The Quint's newsletter and get selected stories delivered to your inbox every day. Click to get started.

    The Quint is available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, click to join.

    Expand

Beyond Asanas, Yoga is a Lifestyle

Yoga is often thought of for its fitness benefits, but it offers so much more.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

A Yoga practice is simply more than the physical aspects of fitness and asanas, and focuses on holistic well-being.

Beyond physical and mental rejuvenation, “Yoga is about harmonising oneself with the universe,” says the Ministry of External Affairs.

It is a philosophy and a way of life that spans spirituality, ethical rules and even what food to consume.

According to Sadhguru, there are four variations of Yoga for the “four realities of life: body, mind, emotion, and energy.”

There is bhakti Yoga for devotion and spirituality, gyana Yoga which is the path of intelligence and of developing the intellect, karma Yoga which is physical and the path of service, and kriya Yoga that looks at the energies.

Medical News Today says there are the additional raja Yoga that focuses on meditation and discipline, and tantra Yoga that is the “pathway of ritual, ceremony, or consummation of a relationship.”

Beyond these there is also Pranayam for breathing and energy-control.

Yoga also looks at your chakras or the body’s power centers and has various modes for each chakra. Plus, there are different variations of Yoga from Bikram Yoga to Iyengar Yoga to Kundalini Yoga, among others.

Phew! All in all, Yoga is expansive and is a pathway for several kinds of energies and focus areas – much beyond physical fitness.
ADVERTISEMENT

Yoga and Minimalism - and the Carbon Footprint?

At it’s core, Yoga asks us to focus on ourself and optimise our energies.

What this means is that, while pracitisng Yoga, you focus on what you need, in a capitalist world of wants.

Holistic fitness expert Vesna Jacob told FIT,

“Yoga is holistic, the yogic way is sustainability in all forms –what we eat, how we live, the clothes we wear –this all must be done keeping in mind the ideals of gentleness and oneness with everything around us.”

Expanding this thought a little further means that we would live a simple, minimalist life. Not indulging in excessive buying or spending or creating products just because we can and have been socialised to believe we should, would drastically reduce our carbon footprint.

Our increasing wants have lead to larger trends of industrial expansion, deforestation, land mining, displacement and related environmental disasters. Besides, economic changes have bled into social ones, with a culture of consumption, that fuels our need for excessive stuff.

So adopting Yogic practices of minimalism would help us not just individually, but also as a culture, revamping our path towards being conscious of consumption. This means that Yoga could actually help create a cycle that would help negate the effects and even potentially reverse climate change.

Jacob adds, “Pollution came with industrialisation, we are the only species that is adjusting nature with our requirements. Once we follow the yogic way of sustainability and caring for everything around us, pollution and other environmental damages will harmonize itself.”

Of course, not every person or yogi is alike, and yoga expert Zubin Atre begs to differ,

“Climate change is bigger than one person, while yoga is about the individual. Doing yoga, and I am talking the fitness aspect of it, will not stop the ice caps from melting.”

Mindfulness and the Environment

Another aspect of the philosophy of Yoga is the focus on mindfulness. Yoga reinforces our place on the planet and in the circle of life – so we are more mindful of our interdependence to nature.

“Yoga teaches us that we are a part of the Earth and it is a part of us.”
Vesna Jacob

In a sense, it pushes us out of our own bubble, and asks us to connect with not just other souls around us, but also the planet and nature.

It connects us to the earth and thus invites us to be more caring of this connection via reforestation efforts, composing an other forms of ecosystem restoration.

Jacob adds, “The yogic way therefore means using only re-usable, recyclable things, no plastic, nothing that harms anything around us including nature.”

In the philosophical sense of Yoga, it teaches us about Hindu principles of karma and the consequences of our actions, creating an atmosphere for us to be mindful of our impact on things beyond ourself.

Then, there are the yamas or the yogic ethical principles which are:

  • Ahimsa (harmlessness)
  • Satya (truthfulness)
  • Asteya (non-stealing)
  • Brahmacharya (spiritual resolution of desires)
  • Aparigraha (non-possessiveness)

These reinforce a more positive approach to our internal and external selves, and could therefore encourage more eco-friendly, conscious choices.

A more mindful approach to the way we lead our lives has myriad spillover benefits, from being more committed in our goals to living a thoughtful, purposeful existence – and all of this can only positively benefit us, our communities and the Earth.

Atre agrees, saying that "Yoga does help in taking your focus away from the materialistic," but adds, "however, Yoga as a business has become comercialised."

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated.

Liked this story? We'll send you more. Subscribe to The Quint's newsletter and get selected stories delivered to your inbox every day. Click to get started.

The Quint is available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, click to join.

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