Theory and Practice of Eco-Yoga

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


About drmcpanda

Dr. Mahesh Chandra Panda, M.B.B.S.,M.D. Date of Birth:29.02.1948 Retd. (29.02.2008) Chief District Medical Officer Bargarh Orissa India
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8 Responses to Theory and Practice of Eco-Yoga

  1. I have referred the topic ‘Theory and Practice of Eco-Yoga’ published in the monthly journal ‘The Vedanta Kesari’ in its Vol. 103, No. 3 in drafting my above article on Theory and Practice of Eco-Yoga.

  2. Thanks Dr Panda for referral. I don’t read many books and have little knowledge of what other people think about yoga. For me yoga had been a mode of exercise since my childhood but left it after a few years. After my primary school (Fifth class) I had to cycle to a town 6 km away from village. Being the youngest ever in all my class in school as well as college, it used to be quite an exercise for me. I developed fancy for yoga in my primary school, where so called “Barahmcharies” used to lecture us on brahmcharya, exaggerated importance of preserving semen in body( which I hardly knew anything about in those days) and sell their silly books to us. I practised yoga for quite a few years. No doubt it is a good form of exercise, without the need of friends as it can be performed alone. It also teaches breathing exercises and concentration of mind. It amplifies elasticity of joints. Rest of the attributes are part of every good lesson found every here and there. Associating every good thing with yoga may be an exaggeration. Other forms of exercises teach different lessons like team work and healthy competition besides attributing a specific skill and muscle built up. Play is utmost important component of most team exercises offering best relaxation to mind. Hence yoga for me is one of many important ways of life, learning, self enhancement and exercise, but only one of many other unique ways. There are many other ways of learning other lessons, attributed to yoga in this article.

    Swadhyaya for me is living a studied life, learning, recording and analysing our each day. One should think before, while doing and after doing all acts in life including speech and actions. Preferably one should have a habit of maintaining a diary, teach our offspring proper way of recording it as it has lot to offer us as hindsight. We should be absolutely scientific in our day to day encounters, learn appropriate analysis and this lesson must be passed on children in very simple way. Once this habit is deeply engraved in us, it becomes a life long strength of personality.

    Eco yoga may at most be called to learn eco friendly habits and nothing more than that. In fact our school, college and medicine subjects explain all these aspects in a clear and scientific way. There is no deficiency of knowledge, it is available in plenty in libraries and internet. Yogic follower appears to be in that bent of mind that he is receptive to positive lessons.

    This was spontaneous write up to what is written in article and I am not sure about relevance of it. Love to Snigdha, who is as old as our association.

  3. Dr.Binod Bihari Naik says:

    Respected Sir,

    Eco yoga system is totally different to spiritual yoga system however I am not disagreed to its relationship coherent. To understand yoga relates to human being that takes birth as form till death and never returns to any form by virtue of good deeds in the interim of form period.The good deed done by yogis only is called the Eco yoga system .The base of Eco yoga is totally meant for nature.The nature nurtures all creations assigned by Almighty.But man being topest one always deviates from code of ethics to show his supremacy and deranges Eco system of environment.This can be restored by yogi by means of demonstration either by theory relating to yama and by practical relating to Niyama.The two wings of Astanga yoga of Rishi Patanjali is vividly enumerated by you in Eco yoga system . Without fulfillment of the two stages one becomes disabled to ascend to other six steps for own salvation.Hence it is the moral duty of every individual for sustenance of mother earth he adheres at least two wings that is yama and niyama for equal share of nature’s benefits and the rest six steps for self benefit.

    Thanks for your emphasis to Eco yoga for mother earth survival.
    With Regards
    Your Divine Brother
    Dr Binod Bihari Naik
    Bargarh Odisha

  4. Madhusudan Mahunta says:

    Dear Sir,

    Your description on Eco yoga relates to Yama, Niyama of Astanga Yoga clearly and nicely. Every human being has to follow the principle of Eco Yoga for self as well as the society. Of course it was highly maintained by the Indian sages, muni & rushi earlier and teachers who taught this to the society for smooth and healthy living. This article is universally truth.

    Thanks for your high level thought.
    Madhusudan Mahunta

  5. Kedarnath Sahu says:

    Respected Sir,

    Really a nice article which enlighted us about our smooth life process. Your descriptions about Eco-Yoga will help the society to be healthy as well as peaceful.

    Kedarnath Sahu
    Science Teacher
    Sohela,Bargarh Odisha

  6. Purnima Panda says:

    Pranam kaka,

    The description of Eco-yoga is excellent as it relates both yoga and ecosystem to balance and protect our environment. The ancient Indian science of yoga has always considered mind as being supreme over matter and has based its practices on this idea. A systematic conscious process of mastering the mind is yoga. We must learn the ways and methods of yoga to live a stress free happy life in this fast paced modern world.

  7. Prakash Padhan says:

    Yama & Niyama are integral part of Astanga Yoga. This age old technique is not being followed in this age of technology. I name it cultural pollution. Yama and Niyama more relevant now a days. Thank you sir for reminding us its importance in Eco-Yoga through your article.

  8. Dhandapani Muthuswamy says:

    Nice article on Theory and Practice of Eco-Yoga. Thanks ji.

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