by Brittany Costa
Brittany is a guest author with her own blog, The Costa Collections, dedicated to all things green. She considers herself to be the Carrie Bradshaw of Health and Wellness. Stumbling around trying to figure out what is best in the industry, she attempts to demystify trends and relate to women of every age, stage and size. With friends and many esteemed fitness and wellness contemporaries as research subjects, she is the voice of a woman coming of age and understanding the importance of overall health, along with the crazy world that promotes it.
Below is an excerpt from a blog entry on December 8, 2010.
Sara Ivanhoe has the ability to be like many yoga instructors—she has taught mainstream classes since 1995, working at Yoga Works in Santa Monica. What does differentiate her from the masses of instructors that are out there is the not only has she completed over five teacher trainings—but also she is certified in what is called Green Yoga. “It’s important to educate and keep a beginners mind….never come to a place where I know enough and to remain the eternal student,” Ivanhoe explains. Growing up in a self proclaimed ‘hippie community’; Ivanhoe has practiced many varieties of yoga since the age of 14. “I just knew it was something that was helping me feel good.”
While most modern practitioners approach Yoga mainly as a physical discipline, they do not look into its ecological significance; the trans formative power that it could benefit of the planet as a whole. Ivanhoe explains, “There is an association called Green Yoga where the traditional idea of yoga—meaning union—is myself and something greater than myself. Since yoga is not formally a religion, then what is the union? The one thing that is greater than all of us that we share is the Planet. It is important for everyone to remember this union,” Ivanhoe continues “The practice of yoga is to remind us that we are already in union and connected to the planet. What’s really amazing and powerful about this concept is that the planet is essentially made up of elements—earth, water, fire, air, and ‘Akash’—each element is said to have a home in each individual’s chakra. Yogi’s need to be aware of chakras and see the planet is inside of us at all times, and see the union of all these elements.”
The health of our bodies depends on clean air, clean water, and clean food—traditional Yoga is grounded in this understanding of the interconnection. Green Yoga developed in the context of a close relationship with the earth and cosmos and a profound reverence for animals, plants, soil, water, and air.
Ivanhoe continues to explain: “The actual practice of Green Yoga is the idea that ‘I already am part of this eco-system.’ The way I have it pictured is a man sitting and meditating and feels this oneness with planet—separation is an illusion and he opens up his eyes and sees a tree in front of him. The way we see it is ‘that’s tree over there and I’m me over here.’ Green Yoga emphasizes the idea that this separation is an illusion; instead it’s ‘I am the tree and the tree is me.’”
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Image courtesy of carolman.net.