Let’s all join the global climate strike on september 20th – yogis included

Why care about the climate crisis?

There are many reasons to care about the climate crisis and show your support through joining the global climate strike on September 20th. Among them, of course, are caring for our planet, leaving a livable world for the future generations and understanding the pain that the world is already in and will continue to increase astronomically in the next 80 years.

These reasons are enough in and of themselves.

A yogic point of view to joining the climate strike.

Photo by Jacob Owens on Unsplash

Although the reasons mentioned above should be enough, nonetheless, I will add a yogic point of view. Our current Western lifestyles violate nearly all of the yamas and niyamas (yogic ethics) which are the two first pillars of yoga.  There is a reason why the Yamas and Niyamas come before the asanas (yoga poses), and pranayama (breathing techniques). One can do as many sun salutations as one wants but that is not enough to change the world.  Ethical living both at the private level and at the systemic level will.

AHIMSA (non violence) is the first Yama that requires of every yogi to “first do no harm”. Our current ways of life harm our planet in multiple ways.

SATYA (truthfulness) requires of us to be truthful to what is really here. The climate. crisis. is. here. and our window to do something about it is closing.

ASTEYA (non stealing, non hoarding) requires of us to stifle greed. It requires of the yogi to ask themselves again and again: “do I really need this?” We simply can not afford to live this consumerist way of life anymore.

In a capitalist world, where we are led to believe that “the grass is always greener on the other side”,  APARIGRAHA (non comapring) and SANTOSHA (contentment) would be the end of capitalism.  The idea of  “I am enough” and I do not need to acquire more or  become more like my neighbor, is both incredibly old and radical all at once.

SAUCHA (cleanliness inside and out) requires of our bodies and mind to be clean.  But how is that possible when our water is polluted, our meat consumption is one of the main causes of the climate crisis itself and our forests are burning?  We need to use TAPAS (willpower, discipline) to focus our energies to bringing change.

SVADHYAYA is about active self-reflection, traditionally in understanding the holy scriptures of yoga. These scriptures guide us to the understanding that “All is One”.  We can not possibly understand this at a deep level while poisoning the Earth simultaneously.

I am already doing all I can, so why join with others in a strike?

It is easy, however, to make all of this into a private individual problem when the truth is that changes in individual consumption practices and attitudes are simply not enough to tackle the problem. We need to change the system at a much deeper level.  And that is why we invite every single one of you to join us at the global climate strike on September 20th. We all need to be there. Together.

Will striking really help anything?

And yes, there will be some of us who will say, “All this action comes too late, this can not be stopped, so why act?”. Here I will quote Tara Brach , in what I consider to be a version of the last niyama ISHVARA PRANIDAHNA (surrender):

“We want to feel that it is possible to save our Earth in order to make a step. Otherwise it is very easy to feel like resigning.  But the truth is, we do not know (if saving the Earth is possible). We just do not know. I like the way Wendell Berry puts it. He says: “We don’t have a right to ask if we are going to succeed or not. The only question we have a right to ask is what is the right thing to do? What does this Earth require of us if we want to continue to live on it?” Thomas Merton puts it this way: “Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the facts that your work may be apparently worthless and even achieve no results at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the VALUE, the RIGHTNESS, the TRUTH of the work itself.


Did you know that your website can also join the climate strike? Click  here to find out how.


“We, at English Yoga Berlin, offer Hatha Yoga classes with Pinelopi and Vinyasa yoga with Juli.  Our yoga Kreuzberg Berlin classes are open for and welcoming to beginners. We also offer pregnancy yoga and private yoga classes, including for people struggling with chronic pain. We will of course be at the climate strike and wish to see you there too.”

5 signs that you need yoga at your workplace

 

short attention span1# Do you find that your concentration lags after 45 minutes, even if you did: 

  • have a healthy breakfast?
  • walked into work with plenty of fresh air?
  • slept fairly good last night?

There are countless articles on business organisations attempting to combat distraction in the office.  The issues are the technology employed in communicating internally (too many emails); the hyper-connectivity available to us all the time demanding our attention (mobile phones, social media); the multitasking nature required by our job roles.

Concentration and focus is rapidly becoming a real issue in the modern workplace.  Interruptions can be beneficial in refreshing our resolve and perspective when we look back at a task.  Still, productivity can take a toll as workers go back to the job in hand working faster and faster, causing stress.

Yoga at your workplace is one of the most efficient and effective ways of counteracting these concentration lags and grounding the multitasking nature of today’s world.

A regular yoga practice helps employees develop skills in how to clear and focus the mind and become more aware of their sensations, learning how to release them. This gets taught through techniques of movement, breath, visualization and relaxation.

 2# Do you make far too many cups of tea, and make them for the whole department?

  1. a) your true vocation is to open a tea and fancies shop or
  1. b) your brain is just crying out for more oxygen – through movement rather than through tea.
yoga at the workplace

Your body needs a breath of fresh air, like a stretch

In our experience of delivering yoga in office environments, the latter is the most common. Regardless of our best intentions, it is a challenge for our bodies to sustain its energy in a closed environment, sitting on a chair for long periods of time.

Of course, in response to this, YouTube videos of desk yoga are popping up all over the place. This, however, ends up being another entry in our endless to do lists, another random distraction and can at times be dubious of actually delivering results.

A weekly group yoga session in your workplace can instead provide an interactive and supervised experience.  It brings the benefits of controlled, injury conscious movement, tips on posture, breathing techniques.  It nurtures ways to cultivate a mind-set that also helps with anxiety, depression, sugar and nicotine cravings – so the workplace becomes invested in health promotion.

yoga at your workplace

Posture related back pain is common in an office environment

 

3# Do you take a painkiller everyday because your back hurts? Or maybe it is your neck that is stiff, and your shoulders and upper back are crying out for relief? Or your eyes are burning and your head feels full of fog by the end of the day?

You might work in an office that can afford to invest in one of those adjustable desks for every employee to be able to work standing for part of the time. However, the issues connected to repetitive movement, of holding your arms forward to type, of staring at a lit surface like a screen all day remain.

Yoga at your workplace offers most of all the opportunity to become aware of what we do and how we do it;

how we sit

how much interrupted time we spend at the screen

how we breathe unconsciously

how we slump and more.

 

We do all of the above differently as individuals according to our health and psychological history.  Meeting an experienced Yoga teacher every week can help workers address their specific individual issues.

4# Do you wish you could connect to your colleagues in better conditions than during your quick trip to the water cooler or while washing your hands in the bathroom? Are you wishing they didn’t just see you rushing from the desk to the kitchen?

business yoga

Yoga as a group at the office (photo by enfad)

Practising yoga as a group helps to build empathy, solidarity and communication amongst participants. It allows each person to relax individually, to look at their colleagues in a different light, to learn something new and to nourish themselves amidst their busy work day. Participants report going back to their desks feeling refreshed, energized and positive.

5# Are you hooked on books about anxiety and success? And you really would love to learn to embrace your workload as a challenge to look forward to, rather then the familiar old anxiety ridden pattern of achieving through pressure?

The workplace nowadays requires you to thrive, and that is exciting. It speaks to us about opportunity and development, which are all human needs.  Unfortunately the price tag for many of us is anxiety, fear of failure, hyper-alertness and burnout.

When a person burns out, it takes a huge toll on the individual and on the people around them: their family, friends, community and co-workers. Managers need to stay alert to these risks, and put structures in place to help their staff cope. It’s estimated that burn out and mental health stress costs the European economy billions of euros per year. Any business that wants to remain effective, cohesive and innovative needs to invest in the physical and psychological wellness of its staff: happy, balanced employees make for a creative, capable team and an effective, flexible organisation.

Yoga at your workplace addresses all that with a mix of physical movement, breathing techniques and an understanding of how body and mind are connected. It raises an awareness and provides concrete steps to address imbalances and a self-responsible attitude.

Are you interested in providing a business yoga class to your employees? Pinelopi offers high quality business yoga that addresses all the issues named in this article.

Click here to book a class, or contact Pinelopi directly: pinelopi (at) englishyogaberlin (dot) com.

I am here for you.

“I am here for you”, I say.

I say this a lot. To my daughter. To my partner. I say it to my friends. I say it to my yoga students. “I am here for you”.  But where is here?

Brene Brown has made a beautiful video clip partly describing depression as a deep dark hole that someone finds themselves in. Empathy, she says, is the ability of a friend to climb down that hole and sit with you for a while. The graphics are beautiful. The explanation between empathy and sympathy is eye opening. And I’ve been keeping that in mind every time I say “I’m here for you” to someone.   I visualize myself climbing down that ladder and sitting by the person’s side, holding their hand, feeling their sorrow with them… for a while. But the more I go down there, the harder I find it is to get out.

After a while, I realized, that Brene’s image of climbing down that dark hole, not only does not work for me, but it carries some dangers for a person with extreme sensitivity and empathy, as is that of my character. Brene says that empathy is about fueling connection. I 100% agree. I agree that empathy requires to be able to see the world as others see it, be nonjudgmental, understand another person’s feelings, and communicate your understanding of that person’s feelings. But could I possibly use another image that will help me not get overwhelmed and fuzz my emotional boundaries?

“I am here for you” means something different to me now. It means I see you. I see how hard and lonely you feel down there in that dark hole. I feel how difficult it is for you. I will come. I will sit at the edge of the hole, in the Light, by the ladder. And I will tell you “I am here for you”. Here – is at the edge of that hole. Here – is in the Light. Here – is close to the ladder. I won’t force you to climb up the ladder, I won’t try to convince you to come out of it. I will listen. I will tell you that I’m so glad you told me. I will feel your pain with you. But I will do that What do we mean when we say "I am here for you"?from a place of Light. I will wait for as long as you need, to find your way out. If you ask me, I will tell you where I think the ladder is. If you want me, I will stay silent while you cry and send you all my love. But, I am here -in the Light- for you. And hopefully, when you look up through your tear stained eyes and try to see me… hopefully, a part of you will be reminded that there is not only darkness out there. I will stay here for you. I will not leave your side., accompany you on your journey, won’t push you from your path and from your rhythm. I will stay in the Light by your side.

Pinelopi specializes in Hatha Yoga. Her yoga classes are open for and welcoming to beginners. She  also offers Berlin business yoga, pregnancy yoga, and private yoga classes for people struggling with chronic pain. In January she will offer a ten week course on understanding Chakras through your yoga practice in Berlin.

Guest teacher Anastasia Shevchenko comes to our next Community Class

Anastasia’s yoga journey started over 10 years ago.  Throughout her growth as a yogi, she has experienced many different yoga styles, which she credits with deepening her understanding of the essence of yoga.

“In my personal practice and in my teachings, I enjoy combining static postures held for a prolonged period of time (Hatha-style) with more dynamic exercises, synchronized with the breath (Vinyasa-style). Both types of exercises have their distinct benefits on the physical, psychological, and mental wellbeing.”

On our next Community Class at English Yoga Berlin, she will guide a yoga lesson that everybody can relate to, with postures that build core strength, increase flexibility in the limbs, and relax the body and the mind. The class is open to students of all levels and abilities.
WHEN?    Thursday 21st November, 2013 (15.45 – 17.15)

WHERE?   English Yoga Berlin – Görlitzer Str. 39, Kreuzberg

HOW MUCH? Donation based / Pay What you Can