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Does Body Health Echo Our Planet’s Climate Crisis?

What’s happening within us is intimately connected to what’s happening around us. Rather than being two separate issues, our health and the well-being of the planet is the same issue happening on different scales. With the climate crisis that now confronts us, internal practice like yoga are crucial to addressing the root issues of our rapidly warming planet.

Our usual western view encourages us to see the world through the lens of separation where what happening to us personally is distinct from what’s happening ecologically. From a more holistic, eastern perspective, we can see that what’s happening within us is mirrored in what’s happening around us. Several decades of climate science demonstrate conclusively that the planet is warming. There is a continuous stream of news stories about how global warming is creating droughts, floods and more severe storms. There’s also research that along with this rapid heating the ability of the planet to mitigate the effects of the greenhouse gases we’re emitting is decreasing. The loss of forests, melting glaciers and acidification of the oceans are decreasing the ability of the climate to maintain coolant.

Looking at this dynamic of increasing warming and decreasing coolant through the lens of Chinese medicine a clear diagnosis appears—the planet is experiencing what Chinese medicine calls Yin deficient heat. As Yin is associated with coolant and Yang with heat, global Yin deficient heat indicates that along with rapid climate warming the ability of the planet to maintain coolant has decreased. And using the insights of Chinese medicine, we can also see this very same dynamic occurring within us and within our culture.

In addition to being associated with heat, for us personally Yang is about being busy and active.  And in addition to being about coolant, Yin is our sense of contentment and relaxation. It’s not a coincidence that so many of us in the U.S. are so overstimulated and lack a sense of fulfillment