Did you know that April 22nd was Earth Day? Did you know a US Senator founded it in 1970? It’s okay, I didn’t know either. But now that I know, I won’t forget what Earth Day is. The activity-jammed, fun-filled day at Isha won’t let me.

Earth day at Isha Yoga Center saw the “Prithvi Prema Seva” day – a process of physically connecting with the Earth. Our earthy activities started with a trip to the Project GreenHands nursery in Mullangadu, just outside the Ashram, where residents and volunteers plunged into the earth, filling over 700 bags with fresh soil to be used for planting seeds. The afternoon rain promised to nurture the seeds into healthy, green saplings.

After the Seva at the nursery, everyone hit the playground for games in the Ashram, slipping and sliding over the wet ground as they ran.

But the real festivities started in the Veerabhadra Akhada (Kalari training space) after dinner. After walking through the slushy darkness, we were met with dancing fires and merry music. At the reception table, were four very strict volunteers, who would not let me escape without painting my face (and even my nose) with a cool muddy paste. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one!

Our program was launched with an Earth Day message from Sadhguru.

Then the celebrations began: we sang and danced to the “I am the Earth” song by Jane Yolen, watched as hidden acting talents were unearthed in a futuristic skit by the teacher trainees, and squabbled over the answers to dumb charades. To be fair, it was pretty tricky thing to act out “a monkey in the sadhana hall” and “elephants depressed by deforestation come to the Isha Yoga Center to learn yoga.”

Ashram residents wrote their poetry in the spirit of Earth Day, describing their relationship with the Earth in their own, unique ways. A poetry recitation ensued, and the poets won the privilege of planting a sapling in the Ashram.

Storytelling was next as Isha Home School teacher, lovingly called as “Geethu Ma,” told Earth stories, including Varaha, the wild boar, rescuing the Earth and Leo Tolstoy’s short story, “How Much Land Does a Man Need?”

As usual, Sounds of Isha wrapped up the night with their lively tunes.

– Resident at the Isha Yoga Center