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.