I have what you might consider an unlikely celebrity crush: 94-year-old British naturalist Sir David Attenborough. I fell in love with him and his BBC documentary series The Blue Planet and Planet Earth while living in London in the early aughts.
Attenborough’s programs, which chronicle the mysteries of our Earth and the creatures that live on it, allowed me to glimpse stunning locations and natural events that I will likely never see in person. But more importantly, they amplified devastating environmental threats to our world and drove me to live a more eco-friendly life.
After watching Sir David’s latest program—2020’s A Life on Our Planet—my family talked about ways to improve the health of Earth and its inhabitants, from recycling to eating a plant-based diet. I mentioned to my two young daughters that I use yoga to ground my commitment to these eco-friendly practices. Puzzled, they asked how unrolling my mat or sitting in meditation benefited anyone other than me. I realized it was time to teach them about other limbs of yoga, including the yamas, and in particular, ahimsa, or non-harming.
I know that printing and shipping a magazine impacts the climate, and goes against the ethical principle of ahimsa. That’s why I’m proud that for nearly a year, Yoga Journal has been carbon-neutral. Our partner, Cooler, uses software to calculate YJ‘s carbon footprint. Cooler purchases emissions permits that are otherwise bought by industrial polluters who use them to exceed mandated greenhouse gas limits.
Purchasing the permits prevents 1.2 million kilograms of carbon pollution from ever leaving a smokestack. In practical terms, this delivers the same climate-cooling benefit as 2.4 square miles of mature forest. Simple, but effective.
On a more personal level, ahimsa often takes the form of mindfully choosing eco-friendly products that are sustainably made and packed, something our first-ever Green Choice Awards aims to simplify for you. It’s packed with doable ways to help out the planet. We share expert guidance for making your practice greener, from the clothes you wear to the items you place on your altar.
Sustainability can describe your asana practice, too. This ultimate yoga warm-up will help prepare your body to keep it free from injury. Because a practice that keeps you pain-free and happy? That’s one that will sustain you for a life that is hopefully as long and impactful as Attenborough’s.
If going greener feels overwhelming, I highly recommend this 10-minute meditation for dealing with fatigue, narrated by (you guessed it) none other than Sir David himself. Developed at the University of Birmingham, it will calm and soothe you—and hopefully inspire you to contemplate how you can help protect the planet we all call home.