by Rachel Ashley
Ahimsa in Sanskrit means “non-harming” and is the first and highest of the five Yamas in Yoga Philosophy. Ahimsa teaches us to maintain harmonious relationships with others and ourselves. Practicing and meditating Ahimsa on the mat is one thing, but extending your practice to everyday interactions with people and our planet is another story. To help you integrate Ahimsa into your relationship with the environment, we’ve researched simple ways to live more sustainably and move toward a lifestyle that harms the planet less.
Non-harm toward the planet begins by understanding the makeup of our personal carbon emissions. Our carbon footprints fall within four categories: what we eat, how we travel, what we buy, and how we maintain our home climate (heat, air conditioning etc). Beginning your journey toward #nonharm can start in any of these areas. Once you decide how you plan to practice Ahimsa off the mat, let us know by sharing and tagging @coolidgeyoga.
What We Eat
Food and the Environment: Before you consider the most impactful actions you can take in your diet for the environment, check out this New York Times tool that helps you understand how your diet impacts the environment. Taking the quiz will allow you to make an informed decision about whether you need to make any major changes or if you should begin your journey toward non-harm in another category like travel or purchases.
Cut the Meat: Eating a plant based diet is much more sustainable than eating one that is primarily based around animal products. If going cold turkey on meat and dairy feels difficult, try cutting out meat just one or two days a week to reduce your emissions by 1-2%, or approximately ½ a ton of CO2e. If you still want meat, try joining a meat share like Walden Local Meat Co. to ensure what you eat is raised ethically and sustainably.
Buy local and in season: Purchasing local and in season vegetables reduces the distance your vegetables travel and supports local farms rather than big agriculture, who’s practices often reduce the biodiversity in soil, lessening plant resilience to changing climate. This summer the Coolidge team is excited to purchase the majority of our groceries from the Brookline Farmers Market and the Copley Square Market, maybe we’ll see you there!
Compost your Scraps: It’s not just about how you source food, but also about how you toss food. Try composting this summer by opting-in to services like Bootstrap Compost or dropping your compost for free at the Brookline Teen Center. Pro-tip for summer composting: keep a bowl in the fridge or freezer to reduce the yuck factor.
How We Travel
Every day travel: It often feels more like our commute chooses us rather than us choosing our commute.With warmer weather comes the opportunity to change the way you travel to work. Consider using BlueBikes to travel to work, run or walk, it’s a great way to turn your commute into exercise. If you currently drive to work and think it would be quite difficult to switch to biking or public transit, considering negotiating working from home one day a week to reduce time in your car.
Choose your adventure: It’s no secret that flying isn’t doing any good for the planet. As you plan your summer adventures, consider how you can adventure in greater New England to reduce the likelihood that you need to fly.
What We Buy
Reduce and Reuse: Rather than spending your leisure time shopping, try spending it doing more activities outside or at home with friends. When you do purchase, choose to vote with your wallet and buy second hand or sustainably sourced goods. Coolidge Yoga curates our shop so that anything you purchase through us has a low environmental impact. In addition, purchasing one quality water bottle and mug can dramatically reduce the amount of plastic pollution you create. Stop by our shop to source your sustainable duds or check out Buffalo Exchangeor the Goodwill to shop second hand.
Save Money: Saving money not only makes your bank account greener, it also makes the planet greener. If you’re interested in saving money and curious about how your purchases impact the environment, download the Joro app. Joro automatically tracks your purchases through your credit and debit card spending and converts your spending to carbon so you can understand how your purchases produce carbon. Academic research reports that tracking your carbon emissions can you help you reduce your footprint by 10-15%, which is great for the planet and your wallet.
How We Maintain Our Home Climate
Green energy solutions: It’s no secret that old homes and apartments in Boston are not very energy efficient. That said, there are options to make your home more efficient through Mass Save, a free program for any Massachusetts resident. Spoiler Alert: they will replace all your light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs FOR FREE. Besides helping with your lights, they can recommend what you can do to increase your home energy efficiency and offer low interest loans to help you get there. If negotiating an energy overall with your landland sounds like a headache, get the light bulbs and convert to green energy powered by wind or solar.
We’re excited for you to practice Ahimsa off the mat! One way to publicly commit to your path toward non-harm is to join the #OurAccord community. This platform and community allows you to create an account and choose the actions you want to take in 2019 to reduce your impact on the planet. If everyone practices non-harm and reduces their emissions by 12%, we will achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Accord.PermaLink: https://coolidgeyoga.com/blog/2019/06/25/ahimsa-for-the-planet
By Emily Peterson
On Monday we had a full moon. Friday we have the Summer Solstice. What a great week to notice and celebrate the different energies and opportunities for healing that are available right now!
Because the moon represents our emotional body, you might be noticing what’s emotionally present for you this week. It is a good opportunity to practice holding a loving space for yourself. Try being with what is without trying to fix it or make it go away. Take a look back at how far you’ve come on your journey of healing and transformation. Sit outside under the moon and get quiet. Notice how it is when you let go of working so hard to figure everything out that you can receive the deepest insights and direction.
This Friday will be the longest day of the year for us. Take time to feel the warmth and the light! Summer is
about connection and joy. What can you do this weekend to celebrate this short life that we have? Just as the sun allows for things to grow, perhaps think about what you are growing right now and where you might want to be at this time next year.
Use this week to journey inward. Allow yourself to be quiet and reflective when that energy calls you. This weekend, allow for outward expansion and the cultivation of joy by connecting to the Earth and to others.
May this week bring you a greater capacity and appreciation of both the shadow and the light.