3 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Tap into the healing power of nature this Earth Day, and every day, with these tips from the experts at the Omega Institute, a 40-year-old holistic retreat center that emphasizes sustainable living nestled in the wooded Hudson River Valley near Rhinebeck, New York.

1. Buy a houseplant, breathe easier.

Beautify your practice space with plants that help scrub away fumes from off-gassing culprits like carpet, paint, furniture, and cleaning solutions. Try easy-to-care-for split-leaf philodendron (Monstera deliciosa), umbrella trees (Schefflera arboricola), and spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum), suggests Laura Weiland, assistant director of the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL), a chemical-free, state-of-the-art water-reclamation facility and environmental-education center on Omega’s 250-plus-acre campus.

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2. Connect to nature, connect to yourself.

“When we connect with the natural world—a city park, community garden, or a single flower—we come home to ourselves,” says Chrissa Pullicino, a veteran Omega yoga teacher. Step outside and take in the beauty with this breath-centered meditation on interdependence from Pullicino:

As you are nourished by oxygen on the inbreath, know that you too give nourishment on the outbreath. Breathe in gratitude for all you are receiving; breathe out joy knowing that what you offer is also received. Recall that we’re all part of the miraculous, mysterious web of life.

See also Get Your Green On: How to Live an Eco-Friendlier Life

3. Find food mindfully.

Forage for and cook your own edible plants, suggests Omega’s senior culinary advisor, Michel Nischan. Foraging creates mindfulness by reconnecting us to our symbiotic relationship with nature. “Thinning a ramp patch rather than cleaning it out results in explosive growth, with no fertilizer or pesticides of any kind. If all humans lived as foragers, the world would be in such better shape,” Nischan says. He recommends the book Foraging by John Lewis-Stempel for tips on how to find and cook delectable greens like ramps, dandelion greens, purslane, lamb’s quarters, and more.

See also The Art of Foraging: Know Where Your Food Comes From