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Honor your own life to honor all life

Kelly Major Heath
Vail CO, Colorado

Last month, we celebrated Earth Day ” one day out of the year, founded in 1970, to promote environmental sustainability. Thirty eight years later and one month later, if you were to ask the Earth how he, or she, feels about Earth Day my guess is her response would be … “One day? One month?

Out of the entire year, you have one lousy day to honor the planet that offers itself in support of your life? Only one day to promote a healthy, sustainable planet? Only one day to recycle? Only one day to buy less, consume less?”

To truly care for the earth, we must truly learn to care for ourselves every day. Though it is pretty cool to witness the many creative responses we have today ” more efficient automobiles, eco-activism, heightened eco-awareness, improved recycling, superior compostable plastics, more natural, recycled fabrics. It is a very exciting time of growth for many life-changing acts of environmentalism.

And, while these efforts are brilliant, perhaps there is also room for more ease as we attempt a greener life. While many of us make green choices more than one day a year, when we feel uncentered, tired or stressed, we often forget to cook at home, to recycle, to walk rather than drive, to view online rather then print out from our computer, to not buy or consume more than we need.

As I seek the truth about my impact, I know that any progress I make in personal growth ” getting enough sleep, keeping stress down, practicing meditation and yoga, eating healthy, nutritious meals and snacks, spending time in nature ” feeds my ability to contribute to a healthier environment. I know that when I honor my own life with a consistent yoga practice, I find myself wanting to honor all of life.

Through this practice, I find myself more aware of the beauty and fragility of the earth and more aware of my own behaviors. I also naturally make more healthful choices for myself, my family and for the planet.

I believe that human sustainability is necessary for environmental sustainability. The practice of cultivating human consciousness is fundamental. With so many practicing yogis today, I wonder if we’ve really made this connection. And, I’d be curious to speak to someone from India, or one of those really old countries, and tell him, or her, about the wave of popularity yoga is enjoying these days … how some people attend three, four, five even six classes a week.

The old yogi might say, “You mean for a practice that offers a roadmap of contentment, to peace in your heart, to less conflict in your mind, to real connection and true happiness, you take four classes a week? What do you do with the rest of your time? What could be more important than reducing conflict in your life? Having more peace in our environment? What is more important than that? What on earth are you doing?”

Kelly Major Heath is the director of Moutain Lotus yoga in the Vail Athletic Club. She writes a monthly yoga column for the Vail Daily. Send comments about this column to cschnell@vaildaily.com.


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