Yoga Can Help Fight Climate Change

By Sanjeev Bhanot

Yoga Can Help Fight Climate Change

We were invited to the World Climate Change Conference in Bonn Germany COP23 recently where we taught yoga to delegates of 196 countries in the Indian pavilion. It was quite a success.

I told them how Yoga is not about standing on one leg or on the head but is connecting with oneself.  Is Yoga the answer to the climate change? ABSOLUTELY YES.

For far too long we have waited for the governments, environmentalists, policy makers to solve our problems. The time has come to take personal and individual responsibility. If a good number of us decide to reverse the climate change and take the principles of Yoga as guidelines the change is inevitable.

Yoga to me is the “minimalist lifestyle and harmony with nature”. Santosha, the second of the Niyamas of Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga, is all about total contentment. That means, satisfaction with what we have and understanding the difference between what we need and what we want.

This leads me to “Ahimsa” the practice of nonviolence. Yoga teaches us to be respectful of all living beings. It includes nonviolence on ourselves too. I am not asking anyone to give up all luxury; all that is needed is mindful consumption like car pooling or take to bicycles.

Those, who follow ahimsa often, choose to be vegetarian. However, if the meat eaters would just swap one or two meals with vegetarian food every week it will be a good beginning. In fact, we need to consider obesity as violence on ourselves and on nature.

We are Nature

We are a colony of trillions of cells with each one of them with its own consciousness. The awareness that we are not a part of the nature but the very nature itself will be an eye opener.

Yoga opens our eyes to the fact that we are made of “punch mahabhuta” the five elements, earth, water, fire, air and ether. So saving the planet is nothing but saving ourselves. Just refusing a few plastic bags here and there, looking for sustainable alternates such as glass, wood and metal containers can work miracles in reducing the carbon footprint.

Moreover, reduced stress, better focus and energy that one trades for just a few minutes of yoga and meditation daily, could lead to creative solutions in life. If all policy makers did some yoga every day, if yoga is part of our education system, the world could only move towards sustainability and we could connect and experience the world in a positive way.

And for those, who cannot relate to yoga on the mat can still practice Karmayog – the Yoga of thoughtful selfless deeds. Deeds as simple as filling our plate with only as much as we can eat, avoiding wastage. If we start by simply unplugging electric gadgets, conserve water, recycle or wear a shirt longer we would drop by drop fill the ocean of positive change.

www.yogalife.org

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