Yoga Goes Green


Green Yoga Association Renews Commitment to the Earth

“It is possible to live our commitment to nonviolence”, says Green Yoga Association founder Laura Cornell. According to Cornell, this commitment to nonviolence naturally extends to our relationship with the earth. In the origins of yoga philosophy, the practice is intertwined with a reverence for, and sense of stewardship of, the natural world.

These ideals are taking root in modern practice. What began as a values statement signed by teachers, has gained momentum, and in May the Green Yoga Association held its second conference among the redwoods and rolling hills of the Mount Madonna Center outside of Santa Cruz, California. Weekend events included sun salutations with an ecological theme, inspiring talks by activists such as YES! founder Ocean Robbins, green living hints by EPA communications manager and yoga teacher Jill Abelson, and discussion sessions where participants commiserated about commitments and challenges in living and teaching green.

In addition, the Green Studios and Teacher Leadership programs met over the weekend. These groups spearhead ecological initiatives increasing environmental awareness and passing practical suggestions and practices to their students. From making filtered water available (rather than throwaway plastic bottles) to installing sustainably sourced flooring materials, these green studios are a role model for the rest of the yoga community. Cornell comments, “teachers find the community support encourages them to make different choices, ones that end up supporting the earth and feeling better to them and their students.” A victory claimed by the Green Yoga is changing the ecological footprint of yoga mats upon which yogi’s step, stretch, and sweat. Many companies now offer a nontoxic option, and green alternatives are becoming more available.

During the conference, the green ethos kept coming back to practice. With every salutation, every mountain pose, and every breath, the 150 yogis infused their yoga practice with an ecological consciousness to inspire change.

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Felicia M. Tomask

Healing Lifestyles & Spas Team
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