An eco-conscious yogi dedicated to protecting our oceans teaches other to revere the natural world.
Eoin Finn is like the Thoreau of yoga: As founder of the Blissology school of yoga, which centers on the simple idea of sharing happiness, he believes that to find bliss you must “seek quiet solitude in nature, and your heart will become clear.” In 2014, he launched the Blissology Eco Karma Project, whose mission is to restore coral reefs. He also runs Blissology YES (Yoga Ecology Surf) retreats, and contributes to the Arbor Day Foundation through the sale of his DVD Earth Body Yoga. The self-described “yogi, surfer, and blissologist” caught the nature bug growing up in rural Canada when he found himself attracted to the Native American deity some tribes believe is intertwined with all living things. Later influences included the writings of the mythologist Joseph Campbell (famous for saying, “Follow your bliss”).
Yoga Journal: Your yoga classes have been described as ecstatic and free spirited. What are you trying to achieve?
Eoin Finn: My mantra is “Nothing to prove, everything to share.” I try to bring out a feeling of reverence: for nature, for the people around us, and for life.
YJ: How does yoga help people become one with nature?
EF: In every yoga class, I ask people to bring something beautiful that they found in nature, such as shells or flowers. We place them in front of the class, to reaffirm this deep connection we have to nature. I see nature as a spiritual portal. When people are on a mountaintop or beach, they invariably say, “I feel peaceful, and I feel small.” When we feel small, our egos diminish and we feel the profoundness of our interconnection with all life. I’ve held classes on beaches and in parks, and I love teaching walking meditations in the forest. When people ask what my favorite yoga mat is, I say “grass.” I call the practice grass-ana.
YJ: How did the Eco Karma Project begin?
EF: When you spend a lot of time in the ocean, as I do, you can see how everything on the street—the detergent you use, what you put on your car—ends up in the surf breaks, and it’s damaging marine life. So two years ago, we had a yoga retreat where instead of people paying me, they volunteered their time to work with the Coral Restoration Foundation to help transplant coral from saltwater nurseries to the reefs in Key Largo, Florida, which have been damaged in recent decades due in part to pollution. This year, we are doing similar work in Florida and Bali, and at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
See alsoOcean Yoga Meditation
Eoin Finn’s 3 No-Brainer Ways to Go Green
- Eat a mostly organic plant-based diet. “Plants don’t create methane, a greenhouse gas, but farm animals do,” he says. “And plants need less water.”
- If you eat fish, make sure it’s sustainable. “So many fish are on the verge of extinction. Check Seafood Watch, an app that explains the impact of eating a specific fish.”
- Use eco-carwashes. “Go online [try carwash.org/watersavers href="http://www.carwash.org/watersavers"] to find carwashes near you that use recycled water and low-PH soap—or if you wash your own car, use 1/3 cup vinegar in a gallon of water, adding a couple of tablespoons of mild soap if your car is really dirty.”