Yoga can be a powerful tool for fostering a connection with nature, environmental awareness, and commitment to sustainability in children. This is because yoga encourages mindfulness and presence, allowing children to experience and appreciate the natural world around them fully, and yogic philosophy naturally teaches the value of environmental stewardship.
Yoga Philosophy and Sustainability
This principle of Ahimsa encourages us to live in harmony with all beings, including the natural world. In yoga class, we explore this through activities that emphasize the importance of being a good citizen of the earth and caring for our human and non-human neighbors.
Aparigraha, which means non-attachment or non-greediness reminds us to take only what we need and to let go of excess, which can apply to our relationship with nature.
The principle of saucha, cleanliness, encourages us to care for our bodies but extends to caring for our environment as well.
When faced with advertisements for all the latest and greatest toys and technologies, in addition to embracing non-greed, we might need to practice santosha. Cultivating contentment can help us reduce our desire for material possessions and promote sustainable living.
Yoga Practice and Personal Environmentalism
Taking our yoga practice off the mat might mean reducing our consumption and living a simpler lifestyle that reduces the burden on the environment and harm to its other inhabitants. We might connect with nature through outdoor activities like hiking or simply spending time in a park or garden. And we might actively promote public policies and laws that reduce environmental pollution and promote clean energy.
Incorporating Yoga principles into our daily lives can help us cultivate a deeper awareness and appreciation for the environment as well as make real change.
Yoga Teachers on Environmentalism
As Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said, “Nature is a living temple, and it is our duty to protect and preserve it. Let us live in harmony with nature and experience the joy and peace that it brings.”
As B.K.S. Iyengar said, “To cultivate the knowledge of non-possession is to practice the art of living, and when we practice this art, we are practicing the art of giving back to nature.”
As Paramahansa Yogananda said, “If humanity will consciously observe non-violence, kindness, and harmlessness to nature, it will begin to recognize itself as part of the great ecology of the universe.”
Environmental Awareness in Kids Yoga Class
In class, we explore ideas through physical postures, breath, sensory awareness, meditation, discussion, and activities that help students connect Yoga concepts with daily living.
Here are just a few activities that we might incorporate in a yoga class lesson plan to foster a connection with nature in children:
- Outdoor yoga: Practicing yoga outside can help children develop a deeper appreciation for nature. Activities like sun salutations and tree pose can help children connect with the elements and feel a sense of grounding and rootedness in the earth.
- Nature-friendly crafts: Engaging in eco-friendly craft activities like making bird feeders or seed bombs can help children connect with nature and develop a sense of responsibility towards the environment.
- Recycled crafts: Reusing household waste for art encourages awareness of resource-use choices.
- Mindful nature walks: Taking children on nature walks and encouraging them to be mindful of their surroundings can help them develop a greater appreciation for the natural world. Encourage children to use their senses to explore nature and notice the different textures, colors, and sounds around them.
- Scavenger Hunt: Searching for examples of different kinds of leaves, insects, and flowers, can increase awareness of the biological diversity of our daily environment.
Encouraging children to appreciate and respect nature can help them develop an awareness of their impact on the environment and cultivate a sense of responsibility towards the planet.