After practicing Yoga for close to a decade, there has been such a positive impact on my mentality towards marine conservation and a shift in my approach to activism.
I have realised : We can look at the issues the world is facing and easily feel overwhelmed; however the philosophy and practice of Yoga provides tools for us to integrate our practice from the mat into our daily lives, and just by calling on these tools - the worlds problems start to look like opportunities to grow, and transform on an individual level, which of course ripples into our communities, countries and planet.
Yoga teaches us that we are merely reflections of one another; that there is no separation, and that all beings are interconnected in this miraculous, beautiful, life-sustaining world. The philosophy behind yoga, be it in the Yoga Sutras, The Upanishads, or The Bhagavad Gita,provides us with layers upon layers of ancient wisdom that is still so relevant in today’s modern age.
As we reach a critical tilting point in the future of our planet - as yoga practitioners, it’s time we embody this philosophy. To extend our practice beyond the borders of our yoga mat.
Our oceans are dying and the biggest issue they are facing, aside from climate change, is plastic pollution. We are living in a time where we are being called to show up, and show up well. As yoga practitioners, we are ready to take the next step. We dedicate ourselves to a practice of being the best version of ourselves daily. We are conscious of what we eat, think and say - its time to up the anti and practice consuming consciously.
Plastic pollution is an issue that can seem astronomical and devastating, however when we break it down and look into it, the potential for change is obvious and becoming more prominent every day.
People around the world are coming together, developing exciting new products and inventions to help better our planet and reduce plastic pollution.
Below are some ways that we can switch to a plastic free lifestyle with grace and ease. Read on. x
- Learn about the issue and find a reason that resonates
When it comes to plastic pollution, it can feel overwhelming as there are so many reasons why we should eradicate plastic from existence. Scientists are predicting that there is more plastic in the sea than there are fish; that every day, globally, more than 8 000 000 000 kilograms of plastic enters our ocean and mostly never completely breaks down. In China, they have discovered plastic micro-beads in their sea salt shakers. Scientists are discovering that a large percentage of the fish consumed by humans and the agricultural industry have plastic in their bodies.
Once receiving the facts, look inwards and sit with it: find a reason that resonates as to why making the switch to a plastic-free lifestyle would be beneficial on a personal level, as well as globally. Feel all the emotions that arise - anger, frustration, sadness, they're all normal - but always drop back into the space of hope, and empowerment.
2) Observe lifestyle choices we make daily
We might just be ocean crusaders without even realising! By observing the habitual choices we make daily – judgement free – when grocery shopping, or grabbing a juice or coffee, or even when topping up on shampoo and conditioner, we are able to see where there is room for improvement, or what we may already be doing right.
Going plastic-free means practice radical self study and honesty. Be gentle.
3) Start small
What can we really do without? What can we do right now? Don’t try and do it all at once. I repeat - be gentle. Start with the easy things, like swapping to reusable bags when food shopping, or saying no to straws. Just like there is a process to learning more advanced asana, pranayama, and life in general, there is a process to going plastic-free. Understand this process and the switch to a plastic-free life becomeshabitual and sustainable.
4) Be prepared
Keep a mug or reusable cup in the car. Have reusable bags ready at all times; forget them? - buy less and carry it. Carry a drink bottle and refill it at any tap. Potentially eating out - pack a container and fork so eating next to the ocean and not feeling guilty is possible! Be prepared to have a broken heart when saying no to the yummiest vegan cake because it comes packaged in plastic. Oh, and straws – always, always say no.
5) Farmers make the best kind of friends
Get to know the local farmer. Not only are they normally legends, but they generally avoid those little stickers we forget are plastic. By buying from farmers we support our local economy and avoid plastic packaging and nasty chemicals used in the process of mass farming. Also, find the local bulk food store. Most bulk food shops allow us to BYO jars to fill up with plastic-free goodies. Definitely buy chocolate from the large selections available while bulk food shopping.
6) Get creative and DIY
You know those things in the bathroom that are wrapped in plastic but can’t imagine there ever being a plastic-free alternative, like toothpaste? Good news! We can make all of these things with ingredients from the bulk food store for a fraction of the price. There are plenty of online resources floating around, however it’s mostly trial and error.
7) Personify Satya
Yes, plastic is more convenient. When starting our plastic free journey, we will probably spend an hour in the bulk food shop deciding what sweetener would work best in our DIY toothpaste. Yes, we’ll make mistakes. We all get looked at like a crazy person when we juggle our produce away from the shops. We’ll probably even become a little fanatic when we first begin. Its crucial to remember to be gentle with ourselves and others. Stay integral to the plastic-free mission. For best results, convey our cause through actions. Lead by example, and others will follow the lead.
8) Join in on a beach clean
There are communities all around Australia who are activating by going down to the beach weekly or monthly to clean their shores from marine debris. Clean Coast Collective, Responsible Runners, Take 3 for the Sea, Jala Yoga, Sea Shepherd are a handful of groups doing amazing things. Its quite shocking to see what and how much we will find at a beach clean, but, what a great way to connect with a like-minded community- while saving a few turtles – along the way.
9) Tell a friend, or five!
Imagine if every yogi in the whole world told five people they are going plastic-free, or posted a handy plastic-free tip every now and then on their social media platform?