We are delighted to welcome back Inna Alex to Anahata to run her beautiful Active Hope – Deep Ecology & Yoga Retreat, with Swami Karma Karuna.
Inna has been involved in the Deep Ecology Movement since 2007, she is a passionate community organiser, environmental educator, deep ecology facilitator and yoga teacher.
For Inna, Deep Ecology has provided her with a clear bridge between her personal spiritual enquiry and what she wanted to do in the world. “It has become part of my sadhana (practice) to enjoying a meaningful and vital life.”
We took the opportunity to catch up with Inna prior to the retreat to discover a little more about Deep Ecology and what people can expect by attending this retreat.
What is Deep Ecology?
Inna: Deep Ecology is a holistic approach to facing world problems that brings together thinking, feeling, spirituality and action. It involves moving beyond the individualism of Western culture towards seeing ourselves as part of the Earth. This leads to a deeper connection with life, where Ecology is not just seen as something ‘out there’, but something we are part of and have a role to play in.
What is the history of Deep Ecology?
Inna: The term ‘Deep Ecology’ was first introduced by the Norwegian activist and philosopher Arne Naess in the early 1970’s, when stressing the need to move beyond superficial responses to the social and ecological problems we face.
Why is it important?
Inna: The dominant individualism of our culture as well as the scientific ecology see ourselves as separate from our world. This not only causes a disturbing sense of personal disconnection and isolation, but also makes it easier not to be bothered by what’s happening in our world and unconsciously conspire with the Great Unravelling taking place on Earth in these times.
Through experiencing Deep Ecology we learn to be in relationship as more of an involved participant. Not only do we become more vibrant and alive in our existence, we also become more affective in bringing about positive changes. As we deepen our commitment to engaging in Healing our World and explore our own part in that.
How did you get involved in the Deep Ecology movement? How has it impacted on your life?
Inna: I first came across Deep Ecology in 2007 in a Community Leadership Workshop, where various practices were used to deepen our sense of community and purpose. The work instantly struck me as powerful and important for our times: I was deeply moved by how fast the group moved into heart-felt exploration of our thought and feeling responses to current crises on Earth, new viewpoints in how to relate to today’s challenges, and prepare to take action.
The work provided me with a clear bridge between my personal spiritual enquiry and what I wanted to do in the world. It has become part of my sadhana to enjoying a meaningful and vital life.
For anyone new to Deep Ecology, why should they attend this retreat?
Inna: If you feel passionate about our Earth and Humanity today, this retreat is for you.
We will have opportunity for reflection and meditation on the time we live in, as well as invitations to explore new ways of seeing the situation. Carefully designed participatory practices allow transformation and inspiration amongst a supportive community of like-minded people.
This retreat will also offer a safe space where we may open to our feeling responses to what is happening to our world together: grief, anger, fear, or overwhelm. All feelings can be honoured and allowed to inform our action forward. A rare opportunity in modern culture.
A balanced yoga practice offered to us by Swami Karma Karuna and the team at Anahata will support us to integrate the various stages of the work. The beauty of the nature at Anahata also is pure food for the heart and soul.
What can people expect to learn from attending this retreat? What do you hope they take away with them?
Inna: Deep Ecology workshops and retreats bring people together with the intention to heal our relationship with the Earth and prepare to take part in her healing.
You will learn that you are not alone in this time, but more deeply interconnected with your human and non-human community around you than you thought. The retreat provides an opportunity to explore our emotional responses to world problems. Through ‘despair and empowerment’ methods we learn to use the energy of these emotional responses for our daily lives as well as in our work for Earth recovery.
Using 3 words describe the overall tone of the retreat.
Inna: solidarity, inspiration, empowerment