Off-The-Grid Yoga with Shiva Rea’s “Yoga Energy Activism”

Via on Jun 18, 2011

In the wake of the recent Gulf BP oil spill and the Japanese Fukushima Nuclear Plant disaster, global yoga activist Shiva Rea has activated a new campaign entitled Yoga Energy Activism (YEA) inspiring yoga community to look at their energy usage and return to sustainable methods of energy consumption. This international grassroots movement calls for YEA Ambassadors to take energy regeneration retreats using only natural light, abstaining from the use of electricity, fossil fuels, and other toxic energy sources.

Ambassadors sign up through Shiva’s website or facebook and pledge to take mini-retreats starting at three hours or for more extended periods of time such as weeks, either alone or with family and friends. The simple process includes unplugging and rooting in. To unplug, participants shut off their electricity or unplug all electrical devices (except the refrigerator), take a technology fast from cell phones and computers, refrain from using gas-fueled vehicles, and choosing natural sources of light such as sunlight and candlelight. Once participants have released their dependency to toxic energy sources, it is easier to root in and regenerate their personal energy by connecting with the natural world and loved ones, telling stories and creating music, playing, fasting in healing silence, and resting. In this process, participants may learn about where their own attention and energy is wasted in their daily lives and how they can clean-up their energy consumption, possibly leading to sustainable lifestyle choices including riding a bicycle, growing their own food, engaging in seva, open-air yoga practice, and living off-the-grid. YEA may also lead to increased use and support of solar power, other sustainable energy resources, and carbon-offset programs like Global Green.

“Yoga is about connecting the pathways between inner and outer, microcosm and macrocosm. Now is the time to take responsibility for our inner and outer world so that we can wake-up from the inertia that is preventing positive change and realize the natural gifts of prana that are inherent in the elements of the sun, water, earth, and air that are being depleted and poisoned. If every American unplugged everything for one day, it is enough energy to power their laptop for a year,” encourages Shiva Rea, creator of the Global Mala Yoga for Peace Project and leading vinyasa flow yoga instructor. In her call-to-action letter, she relates the YEA philosophy to an ancient yoga tradition of pilgrimage, “On Shivratri in Rishikesh, I saw many people walking to the NilaKanth Temple as part of all-night fasting to awaken realization. During these holi-days connected to the moon and the sun, many people fast or feast, alone or with family, “unplugged” from modern energy use with only candlelight as a way to be more connected.”

YEA is in alignment with the principles of Shiva Rea’s Prana Flow Vinyasa Yoga and Yoga Trance Dance, both innovative yoga styles based on connecting to natural energy (prana) and using authentic movement (sahaja) to sustain and increase the yogi’s connection to prana.

About Ryan Nadlonek

Ryan combines his passion for the "yogic" sports (rock climbing, snowboarding, surfing, skateboarding), his love of musical exploration, and his dedication to a healthful lifestyle, living yoga in all aspects of his life. He is certified in Prana Flow Vinyasa Yoga by the amazing teacher Shiva Rea and draws from his studies in Qi Gong, Ashtanga Vinyasa, Buddhism, Bhakti Yoga, and Trance Dance to lead fun, creative and powerful classes with wild tantric explorations into the present moment. He teaches vinyasa classes at Divinitree Yoga and Art Studio in Santa Cruz, California (divinitree.com). Ryan also leads ecstatic kirtan and has been performing tabla and mridanga with kirtan leader Jacob Duran in the Santa Cruz kirtan community since 2009. He has worked as a journalist and photojournalist for Climbing Magazine, the Colorado Daily Photo, 808 Scene Zine, and the Elephant Journal.

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16 Responses to “Off-The-Grid Yoga with Shiva Rea’s “Yoga Energy Activism””

  1. optional says:

    gratuitous breast shot? yeah, we ladies have em no need to hide em but do we need to have em hanging out of our tops to sell yoga or sustainability?

    • Tanya Lee Markul tanya lee markul says:

      Ah, I didn't even notice the breasts! Perhaps it says something? :-)

    • shannon says:

      I didn't even notice that. Sometimes I feel like people purposely look for stuff like that just to complain. Out of all the positive energy in this story, you chose to comment on boobs?

  2. Jake says:

    Sounds like a great idea!

  3. Jake says:

    Sounds like a good idea.

  4. anna says:

    Great idea, but what about the gratuitous amount of fossil fuel wasted by all the superstar yoga teachers jetting around the world to teach? That’s something that has always puzzled me… why not commit to teaching more locally?

    • optional says:

      not enough money locally. (to be fair, any superstar teacher has to travel to reach the flock).

  5. Tanya Lee Markul tanya lee markul says:

    Excellent ideas! We all have the ability to make a difference – even if we make a small effort. We must start to take responsibility for ourselves and the environment around us and not wait for someone else to lead the way.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Assoc. Yoga Editor
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  6. anna says:

    We live in an amazingly connected world, and I refuse to believe that a superstar teacher can’t reach people unless she or he travels. And as for the money… I don’t travel to yoga conferences all around the world, and I teach yoga, and I do just fine. There are a ton of local populations waiting for yoga to reach them… I think that’s a profound act of yoga energy activism.

    • NotSoSure says:

      My first thought that she must not have to drive to work. My next thought echoed yours. She does travel to work,but on a huge jet plane which burns enormous quantities off fossil fuel while leaving a pollution trail in it's wake.

      But I still applaud the message Ms. Rae is promoting. We all should become more aware and willing to make choices to reduce our impact on the world.

  7. Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Bob W. Yoga Editor
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  8. Thank you for your voice. These are my responses to the above comments:

    1) The retreats in question are self-retreats. They take your own initiative to set a time and place to disconnect from modern energy sources. The project introduces a style of meditation that is baby-steps to an off-the-grid mentality.

    2) While I agree that Shiva Rea does travel all over the world, I do believe that her travels are of great service to human-kind and yoga. She has students in locales across the globe and she is very busy sharing her wealth of experience and training the next generation of yoga torch-holders, who do and will bring yoga to their hometowns. She also hosts a thriving yoga community in her home-base of Venice, CA. I believe that it is important for the highest tier of yoga teachers to both travel to gain experience and to share with more students than they can by just staying local.

    3) The boobs…Shiva appears to be in touch with her body and her sexuality. In my opinion, her comfortableness inspires a genuine, appropriate, and open approach to sexuality and I greatly appreciate that. Her clothing is certainly not tacky, and it is comparable with what most women where for their own practice. It would be a shame for Shiva to practice in a sweatshirt, because it wouldn't be genuine and comfortable for her. In my opinion, the photo is not using sex to sell yoga, but using a rad pose to sell inspiration.

  9. Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Bob W. Yoga Editor
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  10. Jack Weber Jack says:

    The problem with justifying flying around the globe for any reason, including teaching yoga, is that everyone has a good reason to consume and act unsustainably. It is still hypocritical to promote sustainability and "power fasting" by consuming it more than the average person…

  11. [...] my last challenge for all of you is to choose one day a month to go off the grid and forget that social media even exists. Take a hike, enjoy nature, read a book (a real one, not [...]

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