Last spring, yoga student Denise Bordeleau of Quebec, Canada, went into the rugged terrain of British Columbia with the intention of merging her yoga practice and her love of nature. In two months she and her husband, Gilles Lefebvre, replanted deforested land, sowing 80,000 seeds and meditating with a mantra for the new saplings. “This is a way to give back,” she says. “I used to put my mat on the earth, but now I try to make the earth my mat.”
Bordeleau is one of a growing number of yogis whose practice has inspired them to take steps to heal the earth. Her time in the wilderness brought her an appreciation of the environment that she could never have found in a yoga studio.
But even if you can’t devote months of your life to the backwoods, you can look through a green lens when buying food, clothes, cars even furniture. “Use your dollar as a voice,”says Russell Comstock, the cofounder of Metta Earth Institute and a member of the Green Yoga Association. “You can choose to support sustainable companies that support the health of our world.”
Being a green yogi isn’t easy—you may find that friends get put off, for instance. To cope, try to connect with like-minded people, which you can do through the Green Yoga Association. Comstock also suggests witnessing difficult emotions as they arise, then transforming that energy with your asana practice. “The practice of yoga fosters metta (lovingkindness) for ourselves and the earth. Live by example, embody the principles of ahimsa, and your energy will start to spiral out and inspire others.”