– J. Krishnamurti
Here on the big island there is a 30-minute hike to an area called the champagne ponds. The hike is through a lava field that borders sea cliffs that slowly taper to a black sand beach at sea level and then the ponds further down the road. This is one of our favorite places and one of our favorite hikes!
The first time we did this hike, we were blown away by the amount of plastic littering the beach..old plastic buoys, beverage bottles and their caps, storage crates, toothbrushes, SO MANY toothbrushes, microplastic, slippers, lighters, car bumpers…you get the picture. As part of our homeschooling (more on that soon!) we talk about the importance of preserving the environment, and as an extension of this, have gotten into the habit of carrying a bag on our hikes in order to pick up trash along the way and pack it out.
Last week, the boys and I hauled out more than 40 pounds of trash! The amount that we had to overlook makes me sick. The disdainful looks we received from other beachgoers makes me even sicker! The looks seemed to be of two varieties, either a “that’s a lost cause” look or an incredulous “WHAT are you doing?” look. My question is, how can we enjoy or love something so much and not feel compelled to take action to keep it healthy?!
How can we overlook how the impact of our current habits may ruin this for future generations, especially in the fragile Hawaii ecosystems? In this instance, do we not recognize the dissonance between loving and enjoying fishing, swimming and snorkeling without wanting to protect the reef, fish populations and water quality? Do we not see the direct correlation between all of the packaged and convenience items we purchase and discard to the amount of trash that ends up in our landfills and waterways? Especially here in Hawaii where trash has double the environmental impact because most of it has to be shipped to the mainland, requiring fossil fuels and emissions along with the potential for it to be washed overboard somewhere in-between? Do we feel powerless to make a dent in this situation? Or is it that we are too busy or too far removed from the problem to care?
As I reflected upon this, it helped me formulate an answer to one of the questions I had been pondering in 2016: What can I DO to “live my yoga” in a broader sense?
In addition to leading yoga classes and living an intentional way, I’ve come to the conclusion that the next step is to hold space more regularly to “live yoga” outside of the studio through community clean-ups, “Live Your Yoga” challenges and encouraging you to continue doing your part or to take a more active interest in doing your part on a daily basis! If we truly immerse ourselves in nature, I believe there will be an organic desire to preserve the environment. So in 2017, I challenge you to transform that desire into action, just as we transform intention into action on the yoga mat. By extension, let’s watch as this challenges us to take better care of ourselves and one another!
I will post weekly or monthly challenges. I will offer prize raffles to participants on a regular basis! I view EVERYTHING through the lens of layers (kramas!) and these challenges will be designed to integrate these habits at a pace that may challenge us but at the same time are realistic in a consistent way so that we can implement them into our daily lives and at a certain point will become habit rather than the exception, just like we make systematic and present-tense decisions on our mats. Do what you can as you are able, don’t feel guilty about your limitations and see the positive impact these small changes will make in the long term rather than be overwhelmed by the vast possibilities!
If you choose to participate, I would love to hear from you in person or via email or social media!