YOGA TRAILS ARTICLES

SIERRA CLUB CATALINA (YOGA CAMP FOR GROWN UP KIDS)

 

I’ve been an active member of the Sierra Club for over two decades.  The Sierra Club offers numerous opportunities to get outdoors and help the environment.  On one trip I attended in Catalina there were 300+ people ranging in age from mid 20’s to mid 50’s.  We boarded a chartered boat out of Long Beach and sailed 26 miles across the sea to Emerald Bay at the back side of the island. We stayed at the Boy Scouts of America camp grounds in rustic tents. It was three glorious days of hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and swimming in beautiful southern California weather, lying on the beach becoming a bronzed goddess, building sandcastles, reading a good book in the afternoon sun. 

I am so happy to have been a part of it, teaching and practicing yoga on the dock in the morning watching the sun rise as the gentle waves crash along the shore.  Some participants in the group came together at sunset to practice breathing meditation (pranayama) which I had the good fortune to lead.  In the evening gazing up at the star filled sky, making smores and singing around the campfire, it was such an adventure, like being a kid again!  I most certainly left the daily grind and stress of the mainland behind.

One of the best parts about this trip is that the proceeds go to benefit Inner City Outings, a chapter of the Sierra Club that benefits kids.  It’s hard to imagine not having ever experienced camping as a child.  The Sierra Club offers under privileged youth from inner cities the opportunity to experience the outdoors and go on outings fully funded by donations to the Sierra Club.  The kids get to learn about how to protect and preserve the planet and how to become better citizens.  I am glad to have been able to participate and contribute in some small way. 

It makes me feel gratitude for all the opportunities I had growing up.  This weekend served as a reminder to get out and play more often, to not only practice yoga and take care of me, but more importantly, to take action for the greater good of the planet.  It’s so easy to do too!  It really takes very little time to donate a few hours a month volunteering for a worthy cause and/or donating money to organizations that take consistent action to build a better future.  I encourage everyone to check out the Sierra Club website at www.sierraclub.org and get involved in some way.  You can write your congressman to protect national parks, volunteer for restoration projects, and if you don’t have time to participate in events, donate money.  Every little bit counts.  You will be contributing to a worthy cause and may even get to feel like a kid again!

WETLANDS RESTORATION


 

Friends of Ballona Wetlands champions restoration and protection of the wetlands in Southern California.  Did you know that only 10% of 6000 acres of the original wetlands still exist today?  Many plants and animals that were once thriving in the area are now near extinct, including the native Tonvga Indians who once inhabited the land.

 

In the 1920’s, with the explosion of the motion picture industry, and the invention of the motor car, the wetlands began being developed.  In the 1940’s Howard Hughes bought a large piece of the land and built an aircraft hanger and landing strip where military planes were built and used during WWII (the hanger is now used as a motion picture sound stage for large set pieces).  This cut off the water from the wetlands, forever changing the natural landscape.  Then in the 1960’s with the demand of the growing population, construction of Marina Del Rey destroyed over 900 acres.  In the 1970’s the Sema Corporation proposed development of the just over 1000 remaining acres, which would have left less than 75 acres of wetlands. 

 

Friends of Ballona Wetlands, a grassroots movement, stalled construction in protracted legal battles to preserve and restore the wetlands.  Finally in 1989 the Playa Restoration Trust and Playa Vista Conservancy joined Friends of Ballona Wetlands to restore 600 acres of the wetlands. Today, because of the tireless efforts of the Friends of Ballona Wetlands and hundreds of volunteers, there are 4 miles of newly restored hiking paths around the now thriving wetlands.  There are over 200 species of birds and other wildlife which has returned to the area.

 

Yoga Trailblazers assisted with removing invasive non-indigenous plants at the deteriorated Salt Marsh and offers free yoga classes to participants in the restoration project.  It was so amazing to see the incredible variety of birds so close up.  I really never even knew this was here, in my own back yard. It was always so cut off between Lincoln and the Marina.  It feels like getting to know the area for the first time although I’ve lived here for over 7 years.  I am seeing it in a whole new light.  It reminds me of yoga, which requires us to view things from a new perspective, to tune into your surroundings in the present moment and as you practice more, tuning into your true nature, you are able to observe what is right here, what has always been here, to know your authentic self, as if for the first time.