Yoga is a practice of connection. The word “yoga” is often translated as “union” but can also be translated more literally as “to yoke.” When I was training to be a yoga instructor at Kripalu, one of my teacher pointed out that yoking has a particular definition of binding to animals together to work – to plow, to plant, etc. In yoga we connect to our bodies, our breath, our community(ies), our environment, perhaps even the Divine. We continue to practice yoga because connection feels good. It feels right. And occasionally we must take a moment to think about why we’re finding these connections. What work is there to be done that couldn’t be couldn’t (or couldn’t be done as well, as efficiently) without the yoga, without the union or yoking?
This weekend I’m one of twelve teacher in Chicago teaching at One Love Chicago: A Yoga Solstice Benefit Class. All the proceeds for the class will go to benefit grassroots organizations in Ecuador working to protect the Amazon and its people from the devastation of deforestation and oil production.
It may seem that you’re far away from the devastation of Ecuador, but consider that the energy used to heat your home, propel your car, and produce the things that make your life easier comes – in part – from oil from Ecuador. The United States is the largest consumer of Ecuadorian oil. Oil production in the Amazon forest has, and continues to have, stark environmental and human impacts. You should watch the clip below to get a more full picture, but here is a snapshot:
- Billions of gallons of oil and toxic waste remain in the Amazon from oil drilling in the 60s-90s. More oil has been spilled in the rainforest than in the Valdez oil spill.
- Forests are the lungs of the Earth. They produce the oxygen we all rely on.
- The indigenous peoples of Ecuador are fighting for their lives, their communities, and their home.
For more information watch this clip on oil production in Ecuador.
When this opportunity came up, it reminded me that this is a reason for the yoking, for the union. Our practice gives us the tools to recognize our connection to others (individuals we may never meet), and with that comes a chance to be a part of positive change.
Please join us on Saturday, June 15th at 10:30am and find connection to and solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Ecuador. You can sign up to attend (or donate if you can’t attend) here.