On Sunday, April 29 at 12:30, I am teaching my first outdoor class of the season at the Spring Arts Market in Vassallo Park, Croton. There will be artsy vendors, live music, and outdoor yoga – a wonderful welcoming to spring!
The organizer was pushing for a connection to the buzz of events around Earth Day, recognized on April 22nd. My first thoughts - this is a marketing strategy. And yet, so much more.
It is so easy to forget all the gifts we receive daily from the earth - blue skies, trees, grassy meadows, mountains, rivers and oceans - especially when we get caught up in our work, kids, families and daily lives. Each day we are racing from one task to the next, staying up until all hours to get things done. Do we ever take a moment to thank the earth for giving us a place to do all that we do?
Sunday’s yoga class and event will be a time to celebrate the bounty of the Earth, the gifts it yields through artisans, and unite our community. During this month of heightened awareness of the Earth, we recognize the current state of the environment – ice caps melting, extreme changes of weather, and water tables drying up. Yet, we also are made aware of the inspiring, compassionate outpour of innovative people around the world using their creative energy to motivate us to make a better world. New earth conscious businesses and organizations are being developed, to help us re-think of how we live, and resourcefully working towards efforts to create a world we want to live in.
- Andy Keller , yogi and activist, created the bag monster to raise awareness of needless and harmful plastic bag waste. He took 500 plastic bags, the average amount of bags an American discards a year, and created a floppy costume that appears at city council meetings, schools and viral videos.
- Richardsville Elementary School in Bowling Green Kentucky created the country’s first net-zero-energy school- by designing classrooms that wrap around the gym and cafeteria to insulate these rooms that usually suck up most of the energy budget
- More businesses are looking at collaborative consumption-using online networks to borrow or barter things you need – members on neighborgoods.net lend or rent items needed like lawnmowers; i-ella.com and swapstyle.com to borrow, trade stylish clothing and accessories; and thredup.com where parents can trade outgrown kids clothes for the next size
(Read more in the May issue of Yoga Journal)
How does this connect to yoga? When we practice ways to love ourselves through loving kindness meditations – or a metta practice -we nurture empathy, a compassion to ourselves and those around us. Learning to love ourselves, and not be resistant to touch upon the gifts that we are all able to bring to our daily lives and to others, helps others to tap into the desire to do the same. Taking our metta practice to the communal level transforms itself to a powerful force that can be used in a positive manner – by sustaining the earth.
The metta practice begins by taking a quiet few moments from you day to set aside. Perhaps in the morning before everyone else wakes up, or after everyone else is asleep. Begin by focusing on someone you love, and repeat these phrases:
May you find happiness
May you find peace
May you live in love and compassion
Do this for 3 days, same time every day if you can. For the next 3 days, say the same three phrases, but add in someone that was trustworthy from your childhood to your focus. On the 9th day, add someone that you feel neutral about to your focus along with the others and repeat these lines. As you reach the 12th day, add someone who challenges you to your circle of loving kindness. Repeat these phrases and breath in the happiness, acceptance, and compassion for all those around you.
Simply put, when we are good to ourselves, it shows in our actions to others. When we begin to take care of ourselves, we take care of our surroundings, helping make them more comforting and welcoming to others, our community, and our Earth.
Hope to see you at Vassello Park on Sunday, April 29 at 12:30 !
Elisha Fernandes Simpson CKYT, RYT, aka laughing hearts yoga teaches family, mommy and me, kids (ages 7 -18) yoga and organizes free bi-weekly yoga classes for people with breast cancer. Become a friend on Facebook's laughing hearts yoga page.
Join her for family yoga at Pilates on Hudson May 6th Register at firstname.lastname@example.org - preregistration required!