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Rooted in the earth: becoming aware of our ecological self through outdoor eco yoga
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This thesis research explored the development and efficacy of a place-responsive Eco Yoga pedagogy and curriculum. The research used focus groups, interviews, and journal entries to gather data from 4 participants over the age of 18 residing in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland as they engaged in an 8-week Outdoor Eco Yoga pilot program. The developed pedagogy and subsequent curriculum considered the historical and philosophical dimensions of yoga and deep ecology by administering a blended program that was experientially focused and phenomenologically explored. Following the pilot program or sadhana (translated from Sanskrit, the language of yoga, to mean an intentional and consistent practice), an enhanced ecological awareness of, responsiveness to, and emotional resonance with place arose from the data as participants developed a reciprocal relationship with the land. The research revealed a complex and multidimensional journey whereby participants simultaneously explored themselves (immersive depth) and the ecological environment (expansive depth). Thereon, a model of transformation emerged, a part of which was the development of an embodied language and an intuitive way of knowing referred to here as now-ledge. This research is situated within the fields of Environmental Education (EE) and (Eco) Yoga and as such provides an integrated and evidence-based framework for educators and instructors alike.