Exploring the intersection of yoga + permaculture: creatively use and respond to change


Our yoga practice can enhance your ability to respond to change. WE’VE got this! Photo by Sydney Rae

Our yoga practice can enhance your ability to respond to change. WE’VE got this!

Photo by Sydney Rae

As in yoga practice, life is full of twists, turns, bends, folds, contractions and releases. Through this practice we may ask whether adversity is an adversary or an ally? A keen, discerning response to being pushed to the edge can result in unlikely breakthrough or insight. Every rainbow pallet in the sky of sunrise and sunset is unique. Similarly, our flexibility, strength, balance and endurance, inside and out, varies. Perseverance and “a practice, a way of life, a consciousness based on holistic, sustainable living” is my hope  and path. The 12th permaculture principle, Creatively Use & Respond to Change challenges us to allow friction to motivate us toward our own potent potential. 

“Change is inevitable in the garden. What works well one season may not be successful the following year. Adapting to the shifting patterns of temperature, rainfall, pest populations, and other external forces is an important skill for the permaculture gardener. Our goal is to work with nature instead of trying to control it. As you face the challenges that come with growing edibles, keep this principle in mind. You’ll soon realize that in the garden, there are no mistakes, just lessons pointing you toward better solutions.” The Vegetable Gardener’s Guide to Permaculture: creating and edible ecosystem, Christopher Shein. 

In the same way, our temperature varies day to day, as with our emotional disposition, our physical aptitude, our spiritual life-force energy. We have the opportunity to use each obstacle for exploration. Let your test be your testimony, let your mess be your message, let your jaded, jagged edge be smoothed, like a pebble in a stream, into jade, into precious internal stones. Transform the ordinary to extraordinary, observing the ways in which you can use the subtle and swift changes in your environment and relationships be your own catalyst for change in the soul. 

Just as we adapt our activities based upon both subtle and strong weather, ourpractice and the associated sequences and choreography can flow with the state of our being from day to day. At times, you may need the stillness of sitting meditation. At other times, a vivacious vinyasa flow may revive your spirit, and other days deep yin may be the restoration for which you are longing. To carve out a time in your day, everyday, for yoga and meditation, you will observe changes in your physical form and psyche. Remember to allow yourself the liberty to adapt to your needs each day, taking stock of where you are at and practicing accordingly. Establish the habit of asking your body what it needs and responding with compassion. 

Ecstatic Dance is a beautiful way to express how the change of tempo and beat feels within you, to let your soul soar through your moving feet and limber limbs. Improvisation is a wonderful skill to acquire, and when accompanied by your consistent pranayama, you can breathe and flow through a plethora of life situations in movement, always returning to the foundation of inhale and exhale. 

Find your freedom through movement, expand to meet the upper potential of your being. As a dear friend reminded me, “You are the infinite sky, the ocean….all else are simply clouds and waves blowing kisses to you as they pass.” 

For my 33rd birthday, I gained 30lbs, unexpectedly . I felt discouraged, knowing rock-climbing would be harder, sensing dancing would feel heavier, my practice not as nimble. Yet, I also saw how the weight grounded me, stabilized my system and was in correlation with my excessive VATA finally balancing. We journey through ups and downs in health, in wealth, in relationships. The steady, stable force is inner strength, deep breath, graciousness in our grace and flexibility, inside andout, on and off our mats. 

What winds are violently blowing in your life? Is your foundation grounded in such a way that when the Big Bad Wolf of chaos & change huffs and puffs and bluffs, will your house stand strong? In what ways can you adapt, and acclimate to transitions with sweet, smooth segues? How can you harness your creativity to increase flexibility on and off the mat? To respond to change with ease?  What qualities do you wish to cultivate in your life to support your ability to creatively use and respond to change?? Where can you allow space for growth and expansion in the ever present changing nature of life? As clouds pass and sceneries daily change, how can you flow through seasons and cycles? As the rainbow pallet in the sky paints portraits day by day, and landscapes accept and adapt to new wildlife and colors of leaves and grass, how will you expand and grow? What are your creative outlets? How can you allow your creativity to influence your yoga practice? In what ways can your yoga practice open the channels of your creativity in the face of challenges? Go forth and do your best, harness your unique creativity to respond to change, for we live in an ever changing world and it is up to us to meet it with hope, internal resources and a playful smile.

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