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October 30, 2012

Environmentalism & Yoga, Understood Through Sandy. ~ Maiga Milbourne

NASA image of hurricane Sandy

I want to kiss Bill McKibben on the mouth.

Generally, I’m an enthusiastic fan of his work, and open-hearted, loudly-voiced advocacy for environmentalism. His words felt particularly invaluable as I listened to wind whip around my house last night during Sandy.

McKibben published several pieces in Common Dreams explaining how Sandy is exemplary of climate change. In “Why ‘Frankenstorm’ is Just Right for Hurricane Sandy,” he explained that warmer than usual seas, due to climate change, cause these tropical storms to take on the momentum that carries them as far north as Vermont, Maine, and even Canada.

A Vermont resident, McKibben watched much of his home state washed out during last year’s Hurricane Irene. Regions that used to be out of a hurricane’s path, like the Mid-Atlantic and New England, are now receiving these voracious storms with increasing regularity.

I thank McKibben for clarifying this link. Fully informed, it’s easier to advocate for responsible stewardship of the environment. Given that industry has the largest impact on the environment as a whole, it inspires me to more actively work against the Tar Sands pipeline, fracking in my home state of New Jersey and neighboring Pennsylvania, and stricter regulations on industrial polluting.

This clear-eyed vision offers me options to be involved, extend care and action for the land that houses me. In many ways, it feels like meta-yoga. My many teachers offer me the same sober vision of my body and its possibilities, how I can move within it, and enable the realization of optimal health. My body’s landscape changes and is changed by environmental factors, age, and diet. With the insight of yoga I continually tweak my movement and posture in the world.

In some ways yoga primes me to better receive information about my larger body, the physical world sheltering me. As I exercise, breathe, and develop a more intimate relationship with my bones and muscle, I want to by extension find that connection to the soil and water just beyond the limits of my skin. Bill McKibben is yet another, invaluable, teacher offering me understanding, insight, and motivation to act.

The howling winds and driving rains last night were scary. I’m thankful that Sandy’s impact on me and my community was minimal, but feel great compassion to those most affected in the Caribbean, US coastline, and in New York City. That fear can be debilitating, or with a little explanation, galvanizing. I believe in health—for my body—for the earth.

Editor: Lorin Arnold

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Passionate about healthy bodies, relationships, & communities, Maiga Milbourne E-RYT teaches vinyasa yoga to groups and individuals. Yoga offers so much to each student: physical health, mental well-being, ease, & community. In reflection of the broad benefits of yoga, Maiga has created a range of services to provide to her clients, all seeking to help each one realize their fullest potential.  Join her on an eco-yoga retreat in Guatemala 2014.  Learn more at maigamilbourne.com

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