Sustainability & Activism Yoga conference

A weekend of Unity.

Here, part 2  which discusses my experience on the Sustainability & Activism Yoga Conference

Sunday June 12th Tina Pashumati James brought together a diverse group of individuals to share their practices at Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler BC with the intent to inspire and share meaningful discussions about sustainability and activism.

A Sustainability and Activism conference. That could sound intense eh? Are you an environmentalist, a humanitarian or an activist? What do these words mean to you? Have you ever looked them up in the dictionary? I dont know why, but I feel sometimes in society we put these labels and words up on a podium like they are a big deal. I enjoy digging into the origin and history of words to gain a better understanding of their roots.

Etymology is process of which words have evolved over time. We have evolved from many constraints of society and may have deviated from the root of our meaning.

We all have different perspectives on life and thats what makes this world beautiful and challenging. I believe we are environmentalists, humanitarians and activists. I think its just a matter of how much you want to cover or reveal depending on your perspective.

Activism’s philosophical definition on dictionary.com is defined by a theory that the essence of reality is pure activity, especially spiritual activity, or process.

Just like how much words have evolved from their origin. As we humans grow from birth its seems inevitable in human nature that society produces influences on us and we generate prejudices, biases and expectations and impurities.  The conference consisted of a day of diverse programming to raise awareness and focus on being on the earth, with joy,  love and ahisma (: non violence towards all living things).

The day started at 6am and slowly rolled until 8pm with diverse knowledge from teachers from Loka Yoga Whistler, Karma Teachers, Dharma Temple, La Lupa Via Yoga and Wellness and West Coast Yoga Foundation and of course Tina and Victoria Grace.

My highlights included a yin class Rachel May lead that touched base about awareness. “What we dont see is just important as what we do see.” was a brief line that resonated with me.

Elizabeth from the Squamish Yoga Foundation lead a yoga class that spoke about water, and asked us questions if we could live like water and act like molecular droplets. How they come together so easily. What if we lived like that? It made me think how she brought so many people (drops) together to make the Squamish Yoga festival possible. We also practiced the “fountain breath”  that spreads joy to our environment and others.

Tiaga Prem spoke about Kundalini yoga on a neurological level and discussed our three brain types, Navel Heart and Head. he said something about how “No one can damage, underline, or limit ourselves.  How what ever growth we limit is from an internal point of view”. Which greatly corresponds to the happiness that we hold within. Human nature has evolved to a society where many humans feel happiness relevant to outside experiences where as traditionally,  I feel happiness should be more correlative to an inner experience.

There was an enviro panel that featured Sylvia Dolson from Get Bear Smart Society and Mary Lovell from Pull Together. Sylvia shared information on bears and the few sounds they use to communicate and how our tone is so important how we address them in confronting situations. We discussed how we should be probably be calling it people management instead of bear management. (I recently heard online that media reported that 119 bears were killed in BC alone in May.)

Mary shared informative information on pipelines. Did you know Canada is one worlds leaders in deforestation, research suggests the oil and gas industry play a pivotal role. One good thing through all the harm done is that is has bonded native communities together, waking them up and promoting them to work together building interconnectedness between various native communities that were not working together before.

As much as I felt an interest and connection to partake in Teresa’s Kundalini class it was time for me to take a proper break.

Following some more responsible topics, it was time to bring some balance and fun, so Karma Teachers held a dance party to loosen up. Tina pulled up a comedic youtube turkey video to make sure we got some good laughs in.

Vern and Mumsi, elders from Mt Currie shared info from their life and compared the similarities of their traditions to yoga. Mumsi, shared some insightful information on the influences of society. She says :

“You dont always have to accept what is given to you. You dont have to have what everyone else has. Be careful what gifts or lessons you are given”.

Chief Vern referred to: “Yoga as the balance of life and a way to manage this beautiful yet “poisoned existence” we live in.

There was no protesting or aggressive actions, just a whole lot of pure energy. The day wrapped up with an intimate meditative group of individuals coming together with mutual values. 

Like Vern said Deal with #1 (Yourself) in the first round (mentally, physically and spiritually) and then you can move on to the #2:Family, #3:Community and #4: the World.

Thank you to Tina and her crew for bringing together such a rich diverse group of individuals. Props to Mark Teasdale for your creative approach to shooting photos which enabled me to relax and sponge up more of the programming.

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