Climate Awake: A Yoga-in-Action Challenge

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Challenge Overview

“It’s real. It’s us. It’s bad. Scientists agree. And there’s hope.”

—Andrew Jones, Co-Founder and Co-Director of Climate Interactive    on the subject of climate change

Yoga is the practice of union, of understanding and feeling our interconnectedness with each other and with nature. Ahimsa, or non-harming, is an important principle of yoga philosophy, and in terms of climate change, it is a call to action.

And taking action can be a practice that brings us real joy.

In this five-week challenge hosted by yoga teacher and social activist Sierra Hollister, you’ll be asked to reflect upon how you can make a difference in the health of our planet by considering the lifestyle choices you make every day. Your feelings of grief will also be held, but with a focus on healing instead of defeat. And, you’ll be encouraged to use the tools offered to converse with your community about the pressing problems our earth faces.

You’ll listen to thought-provoking conversations about a wide range of topics, including surprising and accessible steps we can take to reduce our carbon footprints, the impact of climate change on specific communities, and more. Scientist Drew Jones, author Charles Eisenstein, social justice activist (and yoga teacher) Michelle Cassandra Johnson, and non-profit leader (and yoga teacher) Hawah Kasat share their vision, hope, and inspiration for a better world. Along with Sierra, Michelle, and Hawah, yoga teachers Shiva Rea and Chelsey Korus offer yoga and meditation sessions for learning, grieving, coming together, taking right action, and staying the course—practices that can help us face the very real issue of despair that many of us feel in the wake of climate change.  

Each week, you’ll explore a different theme: knowledge, sorrow, community, action, and practice.

The challenge includes:

Listening to five conversations on climate change (one each week)

Doing five asana practices (one each week)

Participating in five meditation practices (one each week)

You’ll also receive additional resources for each week (articles, links, podcasts, and books) so you can expand your knowledge of climate change and its effects, take action, and connect with others in a solution-oriented way.

Certificate of completion

3 CEU’s Upon Completion

Self Paced Learning

Challenge Outline

8.4hrs to complete

Collapse all

Section 1
  • In this first module of Climate Awake, Sierra talks with co-founder and co-director of Climate Interactive,* Andrew Jones. Their discussion is to give you insight (knowledge, vidya) into the pressing reality of climate change: what it is, how it affects us, and why we should care about it. Talking points include: Why a lot of what we are facing is affecting us here and now (climate change is not merely an issue of the future). Scientists agree that humans are causing climate change; there is no debate. Why awareness about climate change has been so slow-growing. Ahimsa (non-harming) as a vow we...
  • In this module, Shiva Rea sheds light on three challenging emotions that often arise when we contemplate climate change, along with how you can transform them (through vidya, knowledge) into sources of empowerment. You’ll also learn about the value of practicing pranams (bowing to the earth), including how they can be a tangible resource during times of overwhelm. Remember: If you want to live sustainably and create positive change, sustaining your energy and heart will also be important along the way.
  • In this module, you’ll do an element-inspired pranam practice designed to awaken your inner knowledge (vidya) of how you wish to (and can) take a stand in the wake of climate change. As you move, Shiva invites you to connect to “nature within,” developing a deep receptivity to the earth—listening with your whole body, leading with your heart. Ask yourself, “What can I do to create a greener future for all?”
  • In this module, you’ll explore a meditation practice designed to help you transform challenging emotions, cultivate self-reflection through deep listening, and connect to an inner natural refuge. Along the way, the question you’ll be asked to contemplate is, “Where am I being called?”
  • Week 1: Vidya Vidya means knowledge, and it’s a term that’s used to describe intellectual knowledge as well as the wisdom that leads us to enlightenment. Knowledge is power. Your five-week challenge begins here, with knowledge. This list of resources has been compiled for you so that you can expand your knowledge about climate change beyond our conversation, practice, and meditation if you wish. We encourage you to pick one of them to explore this week. Fortunately, there is a wealth of information from reputable sources around the climate crisis. To learn more, check out these links: NASA: Climate...
Section 2
  • In this module, Sierra talks with author,* public speaker, teacher, and gift economy activist Charles Eisenstein. They discuss the grieving process that arises when we contemplate climate change, including grieving how disconnected we’ve been from the planet. Talking points include: The importance of seeing the earth as a living being, and how biophilia (love of all of life) is inherent to all of us. How yoga reconnects us to “lost” aspects of self (i.e., other beings), leading to an expanded sense of self. The ways in which societal healing leads to a healthier planet, and vice versa. Reclaiming...
  • In this module, Sierra leads you through a yoga practice that’s designed to help you process dukkha (suffering)—specifically the grief you may feel as you come to terms with climate change. Class includes tension-relieving stretches, heart-opening flows, a standing twist for the lung meridian (which is associated with grief), and more.
  • In this module, you'll practice a loving-kindness (metta) meditation where you’ll be invited to extend healing thoughts to yourself, the planet, and all beings. May we all be free from suffering.
  • Week 2: Duhkha Duhkha is a Sanskrit word that means suffering, and it refers to pain, grief, and sorrow as well, which are all forms of suffering. If we allow the knowledge of climate change to truly sink in, a natural response is grief. We acknowledge our sorrow and grief here, in week two of the challenge. We’ve compiled this list of resources to support you as you process the knowledge of climate change and sit with that knowledge, beyond the conversation, practice, and meditation for duhkha, if you wish. We encourage you to pick one of them to explore this week. Yoga is one of many ways to...
Section 3
  • In this module, Sierra talks with social justice advocate, yoga teacher, anti-racism trainer, and author* Michelle Cassandra Johnson. They discuss how climate change disproportionately affects people of color, how all forms of oppression are related, and ways that we can unite as sangha (community) to make our activism more effective. Talking points include: The construction of racial hierarchies in the United States. The lack of political representation for communities of color. The displacement of people (climate refugees) due to flooding and droughts. The cultural normalization of toxicity:...
  • In this module, Michelle Cassandra Johnson leads you in a grounding and heartfelt sangha-centered practice. As you move through gentle flows and release into moments of stillness, connect to something larger than yourself with each breath that you take.
  • In this module, Michelle Cassandra Johnson leads you through a meditation that’s focused on community. Take this opportunity to look within and feel gratitude for the people in your life.
  • Week 3: Sangha Sangha is a Sanskrit word that means community. Specifically, a sangha is a community that is united in practice and has at its core the unified effort of growing in awareness, understanding, skillfulness, and love. A sangha can be local or global. Our sangha is international, united by our love of yoga and our efforts to become climate awake. A true sangha values the well-being of all its members. In this third week of the challenge, we consider community with the understanding that our global community has many marginalized members who are bearing a disproportionate cost of climate...
Section 4
  • In this module, join Sierra and Andrew for another engaging conversation, this time on what it means to take effective action as we address climate change. Talking points include: Meeting our needs without taking more than we need. Practical tips for living more sustainably. Why our action needs to be collective, not just individual. Discovering which climate-friendly actions bring us joy. ...and more.
  • In this module, join Chelsey Korus for a strength-building sequence designed to help you fall (more) in love with Mother Nature. Because, as Chelsey says, “We don’t protect something that we don’t love.” Class includes seated and standing hip openers (including bird of paradise), wave-like motions through whole-body flows, smooth and strengthening transitions (including floating and hopping transitions), active backbends, and integrated mudra and breathwork practices. Feel the earth underneath you as you move through this empowering and heartfelt practice.
  • In this module, Sierra leads you through a kriya-inspired meditation designed to support your ability to take action both as an individual and in community.
  • Week 4: Kriya The word kriya is a gift from the Sanskrit language that holds the energy of action. In a strict translation, from Sanskrit to English, kriya would simply mean “action,” but kriya also refers to action with a purpose. Here in the fourth week of our challenge, we realize that we are not powerless in the face of climate change—far from it. Not only do we have the ability to take action individually, we can also work together and take action collectively. Together, we can have a meaningful impact. Individually, our action to become climate-awake sets us on a trajectory to align our actions...
Section 5
  • In this module, Sierra Hollister speaks with artist, author,* peace educator, yoga instructor, community organizer, and non-profit** co-founder Hawah Kasat Hawah. They discuss the importance of addressing climate change daily, as a form of sadhana (practice) that informs our way of life. Talking points include: Yoga as a social justice practice. Updating our understanding of what “union” means to include all beings, including seeing the planet as a being. Embracing aparigraha (non-possessiveness) by identifying our true needs as consumers so that we buy less and reuse more. Meditation and the value...
  • In this module, join Hawah for a sequence designed to strengthen your resolve as you make sustainability a daily practice. Throughout this empowering experience, you’ll take the shapes of boats, bridges, and bows to channel ideas of service: fostering connection, allowing others to come on board and take action, and bringing positive change into fruition.
  • In this module, join Hawah for a meditation on sadhana (daily practice) that’s designed to help you further clarify how you can be of greater service to other beings and the planet.
  • Week 5: Sadhana Sadhana means practice, but not just occasional time on the mat. It refers to a dedicated, daily practice. A true sadhana utilizes all aspects of your life for your growth, evolution, and well-being. Though we’ve arrived at the final week of our challenge, we realize that our work will be ongoing. If we are serious about being climate awake, it will take daily effort and dedication. Our sadhana will involve continuing to educate ourselves, caring for ourselves as we grapple with the breadth and depth of the situation our planet is in, reaching out to and engaging with our communities,...

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Meet Your Teachers

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Sierra Hollister
A self-proclaimed “yoga universalist,” Sierra holds teacher certifications in multiple lineages and styles.... Read more
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Shiva Rea
Shiva Rea, M.A. is a yogini firekeeper, sacred activist, global adventurer and leading innovator in the... Read more
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Chelsey Korus
Chelsey Korus is quickly becoming one of the wellness world’s foremost teachers and philosophers. She’s... Read more

Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely, you can include this challenge in your Yoga Alliance training hours, with each hour equivalent to one continuing education credit.
This challenge is entirely self- paced, allowing you to learn at your convenience.There are no imposed deadlines or time constraints for Challenge completion.
No prerequisites are required; this challenge is open to anyone interested in deepening their knowledge and practice.
No, the challenge is accessible to all individuals interested in enriching their understanding and practice of yoga.Yoga teaching certification is not a prerequisite.

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