To truly care for the earth, you need to truly care for yourself.
by Kaitlin Quistgaard
IT'S PRETTY COOL to witness the creative response to ecological awareness — from
sexy nonpollucing vehicles (see "Electric Avenue," page 32 )to eco-activist superheroes ("Artistic Environmentalism,” page 21) to fabulous fashions made by yogi designers using recycled fabric ("Second Looks," page 90). Yogis are definitely leading the way in many life-changing acts of environmentalism ("Planet Keepers, "page 130).
I applaud all this effort yet wonder if there is also room for ease as I attempt a greener life. I choose local, organic produce; chemical-free cleaners; compost-able containers; and lots of innovative products that promise to have less impact on the environment. But when I feel tired and stressed, I'm likely to make choices that are lousy for the environment, like driving when I could take a bike or the bus, recklessly printing emails, or buying stuff I really don't need.
As I seek the truth about my behavior (see "Let's Be Honest," page 69), I'm certain that any progress I make in what I call human sustainability—getting enough sleep, keeping stress to a minimum, practicing yoga and meditation, rating home-cooked meals, spending time in nature — fuels my ability to con¬tribute to environmental sustainability Put simply: When I honor my own life with a consistent yoga practice, I find myself wanting to honor all of life. Through practice, I find myself more aware of the beauty and fragility of the earth (see "Love Globally," page 119) and more aware of my own behaviors, and I naturally make more-healthful choices for myself and for the planet.
I believe that human sustainability is necessary for environmental sustainability So the item topping my eco to-do list has shifted from composting to practicing yoga! Thank goodness, then, for the inspiration I find in stories like Dayna Macy's pursuit of Handstand ("From Fear to Freedom,” page 98), Desiree Rumbaugh's heart-opening approach to backbends ("Bare Tour Heart," page 81), and Phillip Moffitt's call to practice happiness ("Beyond Happiness," page 106), By adding new dimensions to my practice, these gifted yogis help me stay connected to what matters most. And I intend, in turn, to act on that connection to help keep this planet healthy so that generations from now, people will have the opportunity to revel in nature, and to practice.
from Yoga Journal May 2008