Every day I take time to be mindful. On some days I’m able to be at peace for most of the day. On other days the demands of work or negative thoughts carry me away from my place of calm compassion. Today is a special day for us all to collectively pause and be present: International Day of Yoga.
It is a privilege to work for people and the planet as an earth rights defender. It is work that provides me daily fulfillment and a feeling of community and solidarity. However the personal demands of the work can be high. I have seen earth rights abuses committed around me, worried about the physical security of colleagues and often been on the road more than in my home. On the difficult days, I feel violence inside of me and don’t want to talk to anyone when I come home.
I have developed personal tools to keep balanced and breathing freely. Even in very difficult moments. For me, yoga has been an important part of the space I have carved out to care for myself while caring for others. If I don’t do something on a daily basis, I am much more likely to lose myself.
My yoga teacher Adriana has also taken an interest in supporting earth rights defenders. She has learnt about the work of EarthRights International, and has a deep compassion for those working in this area. She has also developed and shared yoga practices at the Mekong Legal Advocacy Institute specifically for earth rights defenders.
Now, she has written Leaders with Humanity: A Practical Guide for the Well Being of Human Rights and Environmental Advocates. I’m very happy to be able to share it with you on International Yoga Day!