Ahimsa: Embracing a Purely Green Yogic Lifestyle
How often do we talk and encourage our students to meditate about the concept of “Ahimsa”, non-violence? We always try our best to promote loving, kind behaviour towards ourselves and other beings. But actually, this concept can be rather multifaced because sometimes we can unknowingly make choices that can heavily harm one of the most precious things we have: our planet.
Think about it, every day we use our mats, we clean them, then maybe buy new ones, oh and what about those cool yoga sets we have laid our eyes on?
Then we take flight after flight to reach remote retreat centres. The truth is that, believe it or not, also the yoga industry is becoming more materialistic and so it’s quite easy to find ourselves unconsciously trapped in a net of consumerism. And as you know, consumerism is one of the great enemies of the environment!
So when I casually started to analyze my usual behaviours, I couldn’t help but feel quite guilty for all the things that I’m accustomed to doing that are heavily impacting the environment. But instead of harshly blaming myself, I realized I had to make an active change in my life and hence decided to write this article to help other teachers make more conscious, sustainable lifestyle choices.
Because being a more environmentally conscious teacher doesn’t solely imply using a recyclable water bottle but you can actually do a great deal more for our planet! Ready to find out how? Then read on for more!
this all might sound like a small detail but if we all start shifting and promoting a more environmentally conscious lifestyle we can truly play a significant role in counteracting climate change!
Take your practice outside
Whenever possible, it’d be nice to save some energy by taking a break from the air-conditioned (or heated) yoga studio and simply enjoying the outdoors!
Especially if you live in the city, it’s always soul-nurturing to unplug from the daily hustle and bustle and escape to a secluded and peaceful spot in nature. Just make sure you find a quiet place where you can stay undisturbed for a while. Also, you might want to ensure that the spot you’ve found has fairly flat ground so your students won’t have to struggle too much to maintain the balance.
Taking your practice outside it’s always a wonderful way to connect ourselves with nature and breathe some clean, fresh air that’s surely way healthier than the stagnant air of a studio!
Another way to be more environmentally conscious would be to travel smart! If your studio is not light-years away from home and you have the chance, try to leave a little earlier and maybe consider using a bike or even walking all the way there. This way you’re saving some CO2 and you’re also warming up your muscles before your practice!
Also, something else I think it’s also worth mentioning is the choice of retreat centres. Usually, when we think about a retreat we picture pristine beaches in a secluded location… But you might be surprised to know that you don’t necessarily need to travel extremely long distances to find such places because in some cases we might be completely unaware that there are also some hidden gems close by!
So what I’d suggest is to choose retreat centres nearby so you don’t have to take an incredible amount of flights! This way you’re sparing some stress, helping the local community to grow, and even saving some huge carbon emissions.
Another great thing you can do to offset climate change is to support small businesses that use local products. When you buy locally you get to know a bit more about what you’re really getting because you know that certain products have been made in a way that meets regional or national standards.
On the other hand, when we buy online or in big shops, we don’t really know much about the manufacturing processes involved. On top of it, sourcing locally reduces the transportation costs associated with our goods. Buying locally means not only buying gear from small, local businesses but also buying your food at the local market or you could also try and ask your local farmers!
Local items are usually fresher and more genuine compared to those that you can find in supermarkets, which have gone through quite a long journey before ending up on your plate!
Spread the word!
Now you might argue that it’s quite hard to really counteract climate change on your own. And you might as feel like a drop in the ocean… But the truth is that we, as yoga teachers have great power in our hands, and sometimes we’re totally unaware of it! Teaching yoga doesn’t simply mean teaching asanas or meditation but you’re spreading also the amazing teachings of the yogic philosophy.
And when we talk about “ahimsa” we can indeed reflect on the idea of sustainability because we can promote our non-harming life choices to our students! For example, you can encourage your fellow students to go for more sustainable dietary choices.
This doesn’t necessarily mean going vegetarian or vegan, but you could at least suggest the daily meat and dairy intake from their diet. This way you’re equally playing a part in offsetting factory farming, which can help reduce the environmental toxins associated with it.
In addition, you can also encourage them to opt for less drastic changes like carrying refillable water bottles and using sustainable transportation means. Especially if you’re a studio owner there’s so much you could do to promote an eco-friendly lifestyle!
And while looking for sustainable solutions I’ve bumped into a couple of brilliant ideas: the first is to build a bike rack and the second is to offer discounts to your students if they ride their bikes to your studio!
Because trust me, this all might sound like a small detail but if we all start shifting and promoting a more environmentally conscious lifestyle we can truly play a significant role in counteracting climate change!
A small side note for all the studio owners out there: if you’re still on the lookout for some smart, sustainable ideas to adopt as a yoga teacher, you might like to check out my previous blog on “how to make your studio eco-friendly”!