media release

Engaging yoga practitioners in watershed preservation

August 29, 2014
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Contact:
Joanna Ashworth (North Shore resident), 604.317.9202, joanna_ashworth@sfu.ca
Craig Orr (Coquitlam resident), 604.809.2799 (cell), corr@telus.net
Carol Thorbes, PAMR, 778.782.3035, cthorbes@sfu.ca

Photos: http://at.sfu.ca/WcnVap

Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Sustainable Community Development (CSCD) is collaborating with a well-known, non-profit salmon advocacy group and prominent yoga leaders and instructors in staging #MyWatershedMoment.

Launched on World Water Day, March 22, and culminating in a public day of action in conjunction with World Rivers Day on Sept. 28, the project, #MyWatershedMoment aims to mobilize yoga communities’ support for threatened watersheds’ protection.

“This is about achieving a watershed moment in which realizing the link between well-being and healthy ecosystem services powerfully motivates us to organize stewardship, reach out and practice conservation,” says Joanna Ashworth, SFU CSCD senior research associate.

Yoga leaders Todd Inouye and Kristin Campbell are working with SFU and the Coquitlam-based Watershed Watch Salmon Society to offer a ‘train the trainer’ workshop for yoga instructors. They are gearing up for a large-scale yoga class at Colony Farms on the Fraser River at 10 a.m. on World Rivers Day.

The project aims to inspire support for watershed conservation by providing training that fuses Watershed Watch’s science-based, ecological knowledge with SFU's CSCD’s community engagement expertise and the yoga community’s leadership.

“Watershed Watch’s work with the Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable and resilience-based ecosystem planning and stewardship suggests that a wide range of watershed residents want to learn how measures of well-being are directly linked to healthy ecosystem services,” says Ashworth.

“All partners are motivated to collaborate in this initiative by their understanding that spiritual and physical well-being — quality of life — is linked to nature’s well-being,” adds Craig Orr, Watershed Watch executive director and SFU alumnus.

Orr and Ashworth say, given yoga practitioners’ belief that physical and spiritual well-being are intertwined, it naturally follows that they would see protection of the natural systems that support us as enhancing our well-being. This project taps into these values.

“As leaders and teachers in the yoga field, we intend to invite yogis to participate in a day of action (dharma) in the watershed,” says Campbell. “We’ll mobilize up to 1,000 yoga practitioners for a day of yoga to publically express their reverence and concern for the health and well-being of a valuable natural system.”

“It’s time we all became activists to protect these precious resources and it starts right here in our backyard,” adds Inouye.

Mark Angelo, the founder of BC Rivers Day and World Rivers Day, has high praise for #MyWatershedMoment. He says: “This event is exactly the sort of innovative engagement we love to see. B.C. and World Rivers Days are all about recognizing our waterways’ importance. What better way to show the direct correlation between human and ecosystem health than through the practice of yoga directly alongside our mighty Fraser River!”

Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 130,000 alumni in 130 countries.

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Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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