We face a problem on the planet, which is the degradation of, soil, and to answer this, Sadhguru, initiated a movement called the, save soil movement, which aims to address the looming threat of, soil extinction, and to encourage the policy changes globally needed to restore our, soil. So, this is a campaign that will raise mass awareness as well as show the governments of the world that it is time to create, soil friendly policies, that regenerate our world, soil.
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Trent Navran is a musician, meditator and program manager of Sadhguru’s Isha center in McMinnville, Tennessee. While attending Rice University to study neuroscience, Trent started his meditation journey by taking Inner Engineering, a holistic wellbeing program.
Deeply touched by the wisdom and meditation practice imparted by, Sadhguru, Trent began volunteering with Isha Foundation, a non-profit, volunteer-run organization operating in more than 300 centers and supported by over 11 million volunteers worldwide. Through yoga programs for inner transformation and impactful social outreach initiatives, Isha Foundation, has created a massive movement dedicated to addressing all aspects of human wellbeing.
He currently lives at the, Isha Institute, of Inner sciences in Tennessee, where he supports national communications and partnerships. His major focus this year is supporting the, Save Soil movement, which aims to prevent, soil extinction, and bring the necessary policies to address this ecological crisis. This movement has garnered support from global leaders including Marc Benioff, Jane Goodall, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and institutions such as the United Nations – Convention to Combat Desertification, the World Economic Forum and many more.
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How Inner engineering changed my life
Myrna: I guess your journey began when you took, Sadhguru’s, Inner Engineering, wellbeing programs. So, can you tell us about that program and why specifically, that led you to change your life? I just read the book “Inner Engineering” So I’m sure that the, the program goes much deeper than the book.
Trent: Definitely, especially into the experiential dimensions of, yoga. So, growing up, I grew up in an interfaith household. So, I always had more questions than answers. I was very intrigued by Eastern ways of thinking from a young age. And when I went to college, I started studying neuroscience. I was going to become a doctor was very interested in psychology and behavior in language. And I thought, Alright, I need to experience, meditation, hands on and my older brother who had the chance to take, Inner Engineering, strongly recommended the program.
So, if you happen to be going to Houston where I was living, to teach, Inner Engineering, and at that time, it was a four-day course, a complete overhaul of, Mind, Body, emotions and energy. So, I thought, Alright, I’m finishing my first year of college. I would love to experience what, meditation, means in its purest form, so I sign up for the, inner engineering, course. And I joke Myrna that I learned more in those four days about the, mind, and human behavior than I did in four years of psychology classes.
Myrna: Wow! I’m impressed.
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The Inner Engineering Experience
Trent: Very touching experience, because I found that there wasn’t an ounce of dogma in the words, Sadhguru, was simply speaking about life at its core, through his perception as a Realized, yogi, and, mystic. The way that he spoke about, relationships, about work, about meaning about life, about death, about functioning at your highest, and looking at the human system as a mechanism, really distilling things down to the basics.
Would you like this human machine to work well or not? If you could choose between joy, and misery, which would you choose? And it was just framed in such a pragmatic and compelling way that I couldn’t help, but be very deeply touched. And I think the most important part of that four-day experience with, Sadhguru, was learning a 21-minute yogic practice. It’s called Shambhavi Mahamudra kriya, which is a simple 21-day practice that involves holding certain postures to prepare the system for, meditation.
And I kid you not, within a few weeks of doing this simple practice, I found myself feeling more connected to nature seeing greener in everything around me when I was when I was in nature and walking through trees, felt a deeper sense of ease.
You know, college can be a tumultuous time and I found that the practice gave me a certain anchor, a certain level of stability and serenity. So, it was a phenomenal boost and it continues to be such an integral part of my life and my wellbeing.
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Communicating with nature after inner engineering
Myrna: Wow, that’s amazing. You know, it’s really interesting. I read the book “Inner Engineering”, after I read the book, I started communicating with trees as I did my daily walk in the park. I like what you said regarding your studying neuroscience which is all about the workings of the brain. And you know, the brain controls the body and the mind and all that stuff. But yet in four days, you were able to tap into something. And I’m thinking that what happened is that you were able to tap into source energy somehow, which is the universal power. And that’s basically what changed you.
That is awesome. And the amazing part of your story, and I’m glad you left it out so they can ask the question. The most amazing part of your story is that after you had that experience, you decided to become a full-time volunteer at the, Isha Foundation. I find that the most fascinating part of our conversation.
Trent: It’s was a 10-year journey, I found myself wanting to go deeper.
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Who is Sadhguru
Myrna: So, we talked a lot about, Sadhguru. We talked about the, Isha yoga center, but our conversation today is about the, save soil movement, before we go on there. Let’s give the listeners some information about, Sadhguru, what his initiatives are, for people that don’t know who he is.
Trent: Absolutely, there are many ways of describing, Sadhguru. In simple terms, he is a, yogi, and a visionary. And he’s been known over the last four decades for massive initiatives to foster human wellbeing and also global harmony. So, he’s implemented large scale projects for environmental restoration.
He has taught, yoga, programs that have touched the lives of millions. Fundamentally, his mission, as I understand it, is to raise, human consciousness, to allow people to experience the enormity of what it means to be human and moving humanity from a compulsive state of existence to a conscious state of existence.
Doing things in a conscious way in a way is conducive for one’s growth for one’s wellbeing and for the wellbeing of all. So, over the last 40 years, there are so many different things that, Sadhguru, has designed and implemented to support raising, human consciousness, to support individual wellbeing and growth. There are social outreach initiatives and healthcare outreach and kind of these basic things that we may not think of as, spiritual, but without them, it’s not really reasonable to expect someone to turn inward.
So, without addressing ecology, without addressing education, and of course, the economy allowing people to be economically empowered and to be in a stable situation. These were kind of the fundamental things that, Sadhguru, and the entire, Isha Foundation, has been looking at, so that we can arrive at a state where all of humanity can, use the tools of inner wellbeing. Use the tools and technologies that allow one to experience their humanity as the miracle and as the blissful phenomenon that is.
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What is the save soil movement?
Myrna; It’s amazing. Yeah. And as you were speaking, I remember you know, my pastor saying when somebody is hungry, or someone is in need, it is not the time to be telling them things like, meditation, and telling them things like, finding God you’ve got to satisfy those basic needs.
Now let’s talk about the, save soil movement. I’m a little bit prepared for it because, Sadhguru, had a webinar about a week or so ago, and I listened to it. So, I understand, the basic foundation is that we’re depleting the, soil, and its nutrients. So, can you explain, what’s the, save soil movement, is all about and what are its goals?
Trent: Absolutely happy to lay it out. We face a problem on the planet, which is the degradation of, soil, and to answer this, there’s a movement called the, save soil movement, which aims to address the looming threat of, soil extinction, and to encourage the policy changes globally needed to restore our, soil. So, this is a campaign that will raise mass awareness as well as show the governments of the world that it is time to create, soil friendly policies, that regenerate our world, soil.
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Soil needs 3% organic matter
So, what is the actual problem? Well, the leading world bodies as well as leading, soil scientists, have shared that 62% of the world’s agricultural, soil, is already degraded. In the US alone, half of our topsoil has basically been destroyed. It’s not farmable. It’s not arable. In European nations. The amount of organic content in the, soil, is dropping drastically and when you hit a certain threshold, basically beneath 3% organic matter, the, soil, becomes sand.
And sadly, when we talk about, soil degradation, this is what is happening globally, that you’re losing the life that microorganisms, the organic matter that makes, soil, a living entity. The living substance that it is in India, a country of 1.3 billion people which relies, very heavily on their agriculture, 62% of India’s, soil, has less than half a percent of organic matter.
Remember, the magic number is 3%. Beyond 3%, the, soil, becomes sand but with half a percent of organic matter in India soils in the majority of their, soils, you’re really creating a situation where the, soil, cannot deliver and create the plants and crops and vegetables and fruit that are needed for life.
This is something when I learned about it, Myrna was absolutely dropped jaw dropping, because you know, we talk a lot about greenhouse emissions we talk about, a rising sea levels and all of these things demand our attention, no doubt, but why have I not heard about, soil?
Why are we not talking about, soil, because almost all of our food on earth comes from our, soil. It is the giver of life. There cannot be any richness in life if we don’t have rich, soil. But this issue of organic matter disappearing rapidly from our, soil, doesn’t seem to be getting the attention it deserves.
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What takes nutrients out of soil
Myrna: So that’s awesome. A couple of circle backs, first of all, what is taking the nutrients out of the, soil?
Trent: My understanding having been learning about this for over a year, and I’ve actually had the privilege of speaking with leading, soil biologists, people who study this, academically and professionally, it is there are multiple pieces, but to simplify it, the practices we’re using in our modern era of how to farm play a big role in degrading the, soil, by using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. You are harming the microbial life.
A lot of us don’t realize that, a teaspoon of, soil, has billions and billions of microorganisms. Actually, it has more organisms than there are human beings on earth, just a teaspoon of, soil. So, we have this this complex yet fragile ecosystem living within the, soil, how you treat it makes a big difference.
Spraying certain chemicals, using certain fertilizers can make a difference. The practice of, tilling the soil, which is something we’ve used for centuries, it seems like it’s effective. When you till, soil, you’re kind of violently uprooting and disturbing the, soil, beneath the surface and this can harm the microorganism life.
Tilling is bad for soil
Tilling, also exposes, soil, to the elements so you have massive amounts of carbon dioxide and methane being released into the air so your, soil, is being harmed and damaged and you’re contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, which is really a double whammy. So, if I had to summarize it, it is that our modern industrial farming practices are playing a role in in damaging and destroying the, soils, that we have. Can we change it overnight? No, but should we be aware that these are the problems that we’re facing and find solutions to boost the organic matter?
There are so many amazing people in this arena regenerative farmers, policymakers who are aware of the, soil, issue of entire nonprofits and divisions of the UN who recognize that we are heading towards desertification. We’re heading towards arid areas where there used to be thriving, soil. This is a part of the planet that we must take steps to save.
Myrna: Yeah, I’m a little bit aware of that, that I don’t know if I heard it from, Sadhguru, or somewhere else. A farmer, is using the same soil and I guess as they keep repeating it, it keeps getting less and less of the microorganisms. They’re harming it by the pesticides, which they have to because then the bugs, we need up their product. They’re harming it by, tilling. But is if we don’t stop this degradation of the, soil, is there a way to put it back in? I remember when I was growing up, we would use cow manure as a fertilizer. Can that work?
How to put back nutrients into the soil
Trent: Yes, There is something I would just love to share with your audience to learn more about this because the solutions and problems have been known actually, for decades. We’re not reinventing anything here, many indigenous cultures and traditions are across the planet for centuries, if not millennia, have had thriving, soil. It’s really only recently that we’re facing such widespread destruction of our, soil. At conscious planet.org has a wonderful video that we’ve created to share. There’s a simple video that describes this problem in very simple but scientifically valid ways.
There’s also a documentary which was a game changer for me. It’s available on Netflix called “Kiss The Ground.” And this is a phenomenal resource that explores in depth, the vital role that, soil, plays in our life as well as, the people who are trying to turn around this crisis. And both on the conscious planet website and this documentary and of course, so many resources that are out there. We will quickly learn that, the bulk of the problems created by our farming practices. And the solution also lies in our farming practices.
What you mentioned about, animal waste, it can be cows, it can be goats, it can be chickens, simply having animals grazing. The land and dropping their waste inoculate a, soil, with organic matter. There’s also a very vital and well-known technique called cover crops, where for periods of time you aren’t actually farming the land or at least plots of land for, specific harvests. You actually planting different kinds of crops and trees and shrubs that invigorate the, soil, that capture carbon and other nutrients from the atmosphere and embedded into the, soil, which again is a phenomenal thing to address global warming and greenhouse emissions.
These are two examples of many, many practices that are that are great for the, soil, but if we can add more plant matter and animal waste to the, soil, that can bring more organic content. And if you can allow for more and more land to be under shade, where it’s not being scorched by the sun and being you know, decertified those are two simple, but very, very powerful practices.
Join the save soil movement
I think joining our, save soil movement, so from March 21, all the way through the end of June, there will be a powerful 100-day journey. Sadhguru, will actually be motorcycling 30,000 kilometers across 27 countries in Europe, Middle East and then finally in India. He is he’s 65. This is not something you would expect and it’s not a joyride by any means, this is something that he’s doing to, wake people up and to very swiftly meet with, leaders in each country.
So, if everyone can be with us for this movement and for this 100 Day epic journey that in itself will prove to be invaluable because, we’re going to be amplifying things on social media. We’re going to be having, events that take place throughout all the European countries into the Middle East and then India. I would say for now, it’s about awareness, education and speaking out. And then very quickly, you’ll see this movement evolve into the next phase, which is how do we inspire and encourage the governments of the world to pass these, soil friendly policies.
So, to the citizens of the world, we play a vital role we don’t have to solve all of it, but learning and sharing and speaking about it, our hashtag is #savesoil. We’re going to be active on virtually every platform. So, following you know, conscious planet on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook. We have YouTube content being translated and dozens of languages that people across the world can learn about this.
Use Hashtag #savesoil to post to social media
#savesoil hashtag and campaign will be a way of connecting all of us and, you can share a video of you connecting with, soil, you can show share a video of talking about the food where did this come from. Why does it so matter? Any small action can translate to a groundswell of people becoming aware of the, save soil movement. And we’ve actually created a role for this. If you visit the website and press Get involved. We’re asking people to sign up to become, Earth buddies. So, I’m an, earth buddy.
To learn more about, Isha Foundation, of the center here in India, it’s Isha.sadhguru.org. There’s amazing content there daily quotes, all sorts of video content and articles. There’s a lot of content there about, soil, since that is, a fundamental way of connecting with nature. And then the, save soil movement, itself will be, catalyzed and unfolding via the conscious planet and, save soil, performance.