Scientists caution against ignoring human-induced climate change and related health repercussions, with a growing body of literature highlighting the mental health effects of climate change and the importance of understanding coping and adaptation strategies. Less is known, however, about sustainable personal practices fortifying mental health in the context of climate change. The present study sought to investigate how long-term yoga practitioners (yoga therapists or yoga teachers) in Australia with a lived experience of climate change–related events are coping and adapting. The aim was to better understand participants’ reports of climate change–related experiences and how yoga influences their mental health and choices in the face of climate change. Eleven in-depth telephone interviews were conducted and analyzed using an interpretive phenomenological methodology. Participants reported that their ongoing relationship with yoga influences how they cope with climate change-related stressors and their being-in-the-world, and how concern for all life bolsters their responses to climate change. The results illustrate the part yoga may play in supporting long-term practitioners to prepare for, cope with, and respond to climate change events and impacts. Offering inclusive, interdisciplinary yoga therapy and community-based networks fostering ethical living and response flexibility may prove beneficial not only for the mental health and coping ability of participants, but for the planet.

This content is only available as a PDF.