The Path of Sustainability - Green Yoga

The practice of Green Yoga at the SF Center is based on a vision of the future with less dependence on fossil fuels. Underpinning our work is an understanding of the core values of Permaculture - genuinely caring for the Earth, for People and to Share equitably - guided by the yamas and niyamas, the ethical and spiritual laws of Yoga.

In the 1980s Swami Vishnudevananda set the Sivananda ashrams on the path of sustainability. He foresaw the risks of a social infrastructure of energy consumption, agriculture, transportation, and waste disposal cut off from sustainable practices and local control. He fitted his house with solar panels and passive solar heating, installed greenhouses and found ways to use energy from the water in the local stream. He built a log house and a pyramid from the logs in the forest.

It is now time to look at how we integrate sustainability and resilience into our yoga centers in the cities. How do we re-connect with the earth and make this harmonious relationship with nature a vital part of our yoga practice? How do we move to a more fulfilling lifestyle that is less costly and less wasteful? How do we go beyond the quest for comfort and pleasures and shift to a more simple life, based on traditional spiritual values? This knowledge is an integral part of the ancient Vedic tradition upon which our yoga practice is based.

Historically, Yoga developed in the context of a close relationship with the earth and cosmos and a profound reverence for animals, plants, soil, water and air. This reverence towards life is the basis of the Yogic teaching of ahimsa, or non-violence, non-injury and non-harming.

Today, the viability of earth's life systems is in danger. If humanity is to survive and thrive, we must learn to live in balance with nature. Now is the time to cleanse and heal the earth and to establish a sustainable relationship with the environment for generations to come.

As a green yoga center, we incorporate the following commitments into our work with students, that we will:

  • Educate ourselves about the needs of the biosphere as a whole and our local ecosystems in particular.
  • Cultivate an appreciation for and conscious connection with the natural environments in which we live, including animals, plans, soil, water and air.
  • Include care for the environment in our discussion of Yogic ethical practices.
  • Commit ourselves to policies, products, and actions that minimize environmental harm and maximize environmental benefit.

The practice of Yoga brings an awareness of our connectedness with nature.