The need of the hour is the practice of Eco-Yoga to save our planet from ecological imbalance. The focus here is on Yama and Niyama which are first two limbs of Patanjali`s Ashtanga Yoga for linking principles of Yoga with Ecosystem.
Yama consists of five self-restraints for living peacefully in society and the environment.
1. Ahimsa ( non-violence )
Just as one does not harm self; one should not harm the rest of creation too. All must co-exist, that no one has a right to kill another, that no one has a right to take away life from any creature.
2. Satya ( truth )
The mind should think thoughts of truth, speak words of truth and the actions should be based upon truth. Ecologic thinking demands that we should lead truthful life in order to facilitate the world to exist, the planet to survive.
3. Asteya ( non-stealing )
Asteya or non-stealing includes not only taking what belongs to another without permission, but also using something for a different purpose to that intended. By this principle we can avoid conspicuous consumption and needless wasting of food & water and learn to use our surplus to improve the living standards of less fortunate and deprived sections of society.
4. Brahmacharya ( celibacy )
Brahmacharya lays stress on continence of the body, speech and mind. The moral aspects of Brahmacharya can be practiced in one`s daily living whether one is a bachelor or married and living the life of a householder. The practitioner conserves the energy and utilizes for loka kalyana (wellbeing of the world).
5. Aparigraha ( non-hoarding )
One should not hoard or collect thing that one does not require or need to possess. This kind of thinking and conscious living will establish harmony between us and nature. Eco-yoga thinking demands that we help replenish our planet`s resources.
Niyama has five rules for one`s inner development.
1. Shaucha ( purity )
Purity of body is essential for well-being; the physical cleansing of the body as well as the cleansing of the mind of its disturbing emotions. The pure mind eliminates pollution in our own life. If we are clean in our thinking, free from all kinds of evil thoughts, it will automatically reflect in our environment.
2. Santosha ( contentment )
It is essential to develop the ability to withstand daily problems without being deeply affected, to be contented no matter what circumstances beset one. Contentment maintains balance between man and nature.
3. Tapas ( contemplation )
Tapa (contemplation) in Eco-Yogic thinking enlightens us. As we contemplate and ponder over existence and meaning of life, it will create consciousness in us to see the beauty of existence and meaningful co-existence with nature.
4. Swadhyaya ( self-study )
Swadhyaya is the education of self by proper study. Proper study of nature is the proper study of man and his environment. Understanding our body-mind complex will enhance our understanding of our own environment.
5. Ishwara pranidhana (surrender to divine )
Ishwara pranidhana means to surrender one`s actions to God, the supreme consciousness or existence Once this happens, respect for all forms of life flows from within, thereby we will stop harming anything or any creature in the creation.
Eco-Yoga is a convergence between traditional yoga, spirituality and social activism focusing on ecological concerns. In this third millennium man is facing an increasing environmental crisis affecting all our lives. What is required at this juncture is to cultivate eco-yogic thinking by practicing and adhering to at least one principle of Yama and one principle of Niyama. We should actively participate in ecological recovery. This can be done only by practicing eco-yogic thinking.
Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda