“We need a real awakening”
Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk, peace activist and scholar, says that we must see the connection between the Earth and ourselves, and that we must fall back in love with Earth in order to heal the planet.
Guardian editor Jo Confino interviewed the 86-year-old at his Plum Village retreat center. Confino writes:
Thay, as [Thich Nhat Hanh] is known to his many thousands of followers, sees the lack of meaning and connection in peoples’ lives as being the cause of our addiction to consumerism and that it is vital we recognise and respond to the stress we are putting on Earth if civilisation is to survive.
Thay believes that seeing the environment as separate from ourselves is the problem; change can only come when we move beyond that dualistic way of thinking:
“You carry Mother Earth within you,” says Thay. “She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment.
“In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth, which is the highest form of prayer. In that kind of relationship you have enough love, strength and awakening in order to change your life. [...]
“Fear, separation, hate and anger come from the wrong view that you and the earth are two separate entities, the Earth is only the environment. You are in the centre and you want to do something for the Earth in order for you to survive. That is a dualistic way of seeing.
“So to breathe in and be aware of your body and look deeply into it and realise you are the Earth and your consciousness is also the consciousness of the earth. Not to cut the tree not to pollute the water, that is not enough.” Read more…
What comes to mind when you hear the word Yoga? Some may picture peace signs, long hair, and bell bottom jeans.Others may picture women sitting on mats pretending to exercise. I had never really given much thought to Yoga until I went for a yearly check up at the doctor. My blood pressure was higher than normal, and this was a puzzle to both my doctor and myself. I have exercised since I was 15 starting with the practice of Tae Kwon Do, and I continue to do daily cardio and also weight train. I am a vegetarian also so I was at a loss as to the cause. To make a long story short, it was stress and I looked into a natural way to help. Yoga was the answer. After a month of practice, my blood pressure was back to normal and I had found another element to add to my exercise routine.
I have made some other changes in my life. I quit a job that I disliked, obtained my Personal Training and Yoga certificates, and now teach Yoga. And yes, some may wear a t-shirt with a peace sign to class, and yes we do sit on mats and stretch. But Yoga is so much more. My class consists of a series of postures which stretch and loosen you muscles, strengthen your core, and provide balance and toning. We also concentrate on our beathing. If you forget to breath while in Down Dog or Plank, you will end up on the mat before you know it! And we also have a relaxation segment at the end.
Many gyms offer Yoga classes and most cities have a local studio. Give Yoga a try. Yoga requires no special equipment. Yoga does not take up space, and you can practice Yoga at any age. You will experience greater strength, flexibility, reduced blood pressure, less anxiety and an overall calmness.
Try Yoga! Get Your Zen On!