The Hindu tradition explains Yoga as the discipline of balance, another way of expressing the ideal of unity through Yoga. Everything in you must harmonize to function optimally. A disharmonious mind is disturbing in itself, but sooner or later it also causes physical problems. An imbalanced body can easily warp your emotions and thought processes. If you have strained relationships with others, you cause distress not only for them but also for yourself. And when your relationship to your physical environment is disharmonious, well, you trigger serious repercussions for everyone.
The environmental crisis, which is sharpening day by day, is prompting more and more yogis and yoginis to apply Yoga's ethical standards specifically to the health of the ailing planet. This Green Yoga approach is explained in my (Georg's) and Brenda Feuerstein's book Green Yoga (Traditional Yoga Studies).
Green Yoga is Yoga that incorporates environmental mindfulness and activism in its spiritual orientation. It centers on a deep reverence for all life and a lifestyle of voluntary simplicity; it believes the time has come to make Yoga count in more than personal terms.
If you want to get started on greening your Yoga, try carpooling or biking to your next class, or use an environment-friendly Yoga mat. Also, reduce! Reuse! Recycle!
A beautiful and simple Yoga exercise called "The Tree" (described in Chapter 9) improves your sense of balance and promotes your inner stillness. Even when conditions force a tree to grow askew, it always balances itself out by growing a branch in the direction opposite its lean, so in this posture, you stand still like a tree, perfectly balanced.
Yoga helps you apply this principle to your life. Whenever life's demands and challenges force you to bend to one side, your inner strength and peace of mind serve as counterweights. Rising above all adversity, you can never be uprooted.
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