In which ways do Yoga and Permaculture intersect?
Whilst on Awakened Spirit’s Sacred Earth Yoga Teacher Training, the Principles of Permaculture were passed along to us. Permaculture is the sustainable merging of people with nature that creates an ecosystem for all to thrive in. The ideals of this concept were coined by the duo David Holmgren and Bill Mollison and have since inspired many conscious humans (including myself!) to live by their values. This echos beautifully what yogic philosophy teaches us: when we embody these ancient principles, we are forging and creating a more harmonious existence with the world within and around us.
Without further ado, here’s some perspective on the principles and how I find them to apply to life as a Yogini…
OBSERVE AND INTERACT
Become the witness of the mind - knowing that you are not defined by the mind. Watch thoughts pass by like clouds and observe the patterns that arise. Once these trends have made themselves known, interact by stopping them in their tracks and changing the direction as necessary to improve outlook and insight.
CATCH AND STORE ENERGY
The energy we have residing within and passing through us is the precious, life-giving force known as prana. We bring in more energy by practising breathwork, pranayama, or through flows of asana, both of which circulate this force throughout the physical body. Awareness of how we feel during these routines allows us to recognise our energy levels and conserve it, to expend wisely.
OBTAIN A YEILD
You’ll get out what you put in… With more dedication to development of a practise, comes true improvement and worthwhile rewards. The more you do, the more you gain.
APPLY SELF-REGULATION AND ACCEPT FEEDBACK
Radical Self-Care is necessary and important! Listen to feedback from the body; maintaining self-discipline to stay focused, motivated and concentrated on your own growth. Allow recognition for areas of improvement and create conditions which are favourable for optimum thriving!
USE AND VALUE RENEWABLE RESOURCES
Increase the awareness of where and what you take from to reduce the consumerist mindset and enhance an appreciative one… This lessens the need for external dependence and reminds us we have what we need already within us, a constant energy flow at the very core of our being.
PRODUCE NO WASTE
There’s no such thing as waste! Only matter out of place. Every experience has it’s lessons; a ‘bad’ asana flow one morning is not a waste of time; only the perspective needs to shift to see it’s true purpose.
DESIGN FROM PATTERN TO DETAILS
Take the form of the general position of a certain asana pose, for example Eagle Pose, then bring attention to bodily tendencies to go into detailed improvement of alignment, groundedness and balance i.e. in Eagle - find a drishti (focal point), extend the spine, keep hips in line.
INTEGRATE RATHER THAN SEPERATE
Contemplate wisdom and guidance from previous teachings to understand within yourself - such as the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali. Example: Sutra 2.39 says “Freedom from wanting unlocks the real purpose of existence” . This little nudge encourages one to challenge and overcome desires and has made me realise that there is nothing more needed than what you have in any single moment. Also applying to this principle is taking lessons you learn on the mat and merging them throughout life.
SLOW AND SMALL SOLUTIONS
Little by little is the most efficient way to progress, fine tuning the details as you go. Nobody goes from wobbling in Dancing Shiva pose their first day to unwavering as a statue in the next! Gradual development is natural. Slow and steady wins, as they say, and patience is a virtue.
USE AND VALUE DIVERSITY
Different teachings and realisations by other practitioners are invaluable - every Yogi has their own individual practise and when shared, we can connect the dots and heighten the collective consciousness.
USE EDGES AND VALUE THE MARGINAL
Our potential is recognised when we explore our edge; the place where we reach our perceived limited and challenge our ability in order to grow.
CREATIVELY USE AND RESPOND TO CHANGE
Adaptability is key to enhance the mind and body. Change is inevitable and keeps us on our toes, growing. With a strong foundation within us, created with solid focus of the 8 Limbs (internal values, external disciplines, breathwork, postures, concentration, introspection and meditative absorption with the aim of reaching pure bliss) we can see the happenings of our external worlds as opportunities to constantly learn and absorb new lessons in this ever-changing world.
* Read more on Permaculture teachings here *