For many years yoga has been encouraging us to engage in breathing techniques, workouts and other practices with the aim of bettering our lives. But apparently, we need more than just exercising and eating healthily. We need a sustainable environment. Besides, what is the point of working too hard if we can’t save what gives us life?
So, are there ways yoga can help us conserve our environment? Absolutely yes. But how?
Yoga can be defined as a path with eight limbs. Its first limb is called Yamas that tell what we are not supposed to do to save ourselves as well as our environment. As a yogi, you are expected to apply this rules whether you are in a yoga class or outside.
The five Yamas of Yoga
1. Ahimsa – Don’t harm any living thing
Clearly, we need our forests as well as the things in it to survive. If we cut down all our trees, kill all the animals in the wild or pour harmful chemical substances in the ocean, we will be doing nothing less than harming our environment. Ahimsa warns us not to harm anything. For example, we are not supposed to clear the forest, disrupt natural life or kill animals aimlessly. It also warns us not to interrupt oceans or the ecosystems we find in the rainforests. Ahimsa encourages us to respect, love and have compassion for any living thing on the planet.
2. Satya – Be honest with yourself
We are fond of pretending. We do things that are bad and try to convince ourselves that they are good. Pretense will not only harm others that live around us but can also harm our environment in many ways. Satya encourages us to be truthful and honest with ourselves. For example, when we decide to clear a forest to build our homes, we must accept that we have disrupted some life. Satya encourages us to follow our beliefs. We must accept that the world is at its worst now, and we don’t need to contribute to harming it further.
3. Asteya – Do not steal from others
Many of us steal without realizing how much harm we are doing to those we are stealing from. Asteya warns us not to steal from others as this will not only harm lives but also alter the environment. For example, in the past years, the most developed countries saw the lack of knowledge in developing countries and ended up stealing their resources with the aim of bettering themselves. Doing this, led to death, fleeing from homes and more. Asteya teaches us to share what we have with others and not steal from them.
4. Brahmacharya – Do not overindulge
If you cut one tree today and sell it for money, you will want to cut another tree tomorrow to get more money. Eventually, you won’t have any tree in your compound. If every person on the planet is like you, we would not have any trees and our lives would be a mess. Brahmacharya encourages us to limit overindulgence. It encourages us to avoid bad habits such as extravagance, overeating, overindulging in sexual activities and other things that will not only harm us but also harm our environment.
5. Aparigraha – Don’t be greedy
You see a gold mine, and you want to dig it in one day to have all the gold for yourself. You see a country that has potential, and because you are a super power country, you want to take everything in it leaving its residents with nothing. Since they won’t allow you to do that easily, you start a war that harms lives and leads to distraction. That is what greed can do. Apparently, greed will force us to overindulge in many things. Aparigraha encourages us not to be greedy and possessive as this might encourage us to overindulge in activities that may harm our environment. For example, if you find something, such as a natural water resource, don’t fight to own it. Instead, try to expand it so that it can serve others.
We can’t claim to be healthy if we are living in a dying environment. Stealing, killing, overindulgence, greed and not being honest are some of the bad habits that are contributing to the destruction of forests, animals, plants as well as the ozone layer that has kept us alive up to date. These things will be short-lived if we don’t practice the five Yamas of Yoga. We recommend starting with the home weight loss yoga for beginners yogaathome.org. These are five most important rules every yogi must adhere to whether they are practicing or out of the class.