Making your yoga practice sustainable means not only respecting your body and keeping your yoga practice balanced, but also how you live your daily life. Here are five points to reflect on in relation to your yoga practice.
Respect for life
Yoga is “by its very nature inextricably associated with universal laws: respect for life, truth, and patience are all indispensable factors in the drawing of a quiet breath, in calmness of mind and firmness of will.” This is in the words of Yehudi Menuhin (violinist) in his introduction to B. K. S. Iyengar’s book on yoga, Light on Yoga. A useful modern definition of yoga from author and yogi Mark Stephens is, “Hatha yoga is a practice of moving into energetic balance amid the constancy of change in our lives.”
If how you are balancing your work and personal life isn’t compatible with your health and happiness, it won’t improve if you go harder and faster. Slow down and change unhelpful patterns in your life by practicing yoga with patience and focus. Remember the breath is central to all of this. Be aware of how you are breathing both in and out of yoga practice. If you don’t understand yoga breathing or how to use your breath in yoga practice, ask your teacher or attend a breathing workshop like the mini-workshop we are running on 28 April at HYE.
Make time for practice
Your main reason for not practicing regularly may be having no time. You have time, however, to shower in the morning and perform your regular routine of hygiene. Include yoga practice as part of this. You make the choice. Decide that you will follow a regular practice that will suit your lifestyle and schedule and stick to it.
Be open to different perspectives and experiences
Reawaken your creative self. Leonardo de Vinci wrote that the average person “looks without seeing, listens without hearing, touches without feeling, eats without tasting, moves without physical awareness, inhales without awareness of odour or fragrance, and talks without thinking.” Remember that as well as being able to change our perspective, we can also be aware that others do not necessarily have the same perspective as we do. Respect that too.
Be conscious of what you consume
Ask yourself where things you purchase come from whether it is food or other stuff. Be sure that you are happy with the production chain. Do you know what effect its production has on our planet in the long-term as well as the short-term? Does the production of what you consume respect the environment, human rights, and animal rights? Happily, people are becoming increasingly aware about their consumption and the impact it has on our environment and world. Chances are if you are reading this that you are one of them!
Check out some of the terms and labels used, as defined by Wikipedia, to let you know the history of what you are purchasing. Even labels may not be a clear an indication as you’d like for, so follow common sense as a rule of thumb.
Ecofriendly: Environmentally friendly (also eco-friendly, nature friendly, and green) are terms used to refer to goods and services, laws, guidelines and policies claimed to inflict minimal or no harm on the environment. Companies sometimes use these terms to promote goods and services by making environmental marketing claims and with eco-labels.
Sustainable: For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well-being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of stewardship, the responsible management of resource use.
Biological/ organic food: Foods that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers, do not contain genetically modified organisms, and are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.
Fairtrade: A trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of marginalized producers and workers.