Kurmalliance Founder talks with LA YOGA Magazine about his commitment to the ocean, ways people can make a positive difference in everyday life, and more.


LA Yoga: What inspires your work with and commitment to ocean conservation issues?

Brock Cahill: I am so in awe of our ocean. The ocean is the only source of life anywhere in this galaxy, or for as far as the eye can see— at least, as far as we know. Yet, we know less about the sea than we do of outer space. Now is the time for the age of innerspace exploration and preservation. If we were able to focus all the genius, imagination, and know-how, along with the finances and resources of space exploration, into the realm of oceanic conservation and into protecting this extremely unique body of water that makes the delicate balance of life possible, we would have the opportunity to safeguard the existence of the human race and all the other species with whom we share this globe. If the oceans go down, we all go down.


LA YOGA: Why found Kurmalliance?

Brock Cahill: During the catastrophic Gulf oil spill that erupted nearly six years ago, I saw a direct need to get involved and in doing so learned a lot about organizations. I wanted to create an organization and a movement that operated in a different way. We believe in direct action and we believe that every donation, be it time or money, go directly into service of Mother Ocean. No one takes a salary. We don’t rent office space. Participation is volunteer-based, and we work for the ocean.


LA YOGA: What is something surprising you learned about turtles as a result of this work?

Brock Cahill: The most surprising thing that I have learned about sea turtles is how little we actually know about them. We are learning more and more about the threats they face in their battle to survive, such as plastic pollution, incidental by-catch of the fishing industries, human poaching, habitat degradation, and a drastically changing seascape and climate. But there is much more to learn including migratory patterns, social interaction, and mating habits. My favorite fact about these cute little sea amigos is that the females return to the beach upon which they were hatched to lay their eggs. That means after circumnavigating the globe and the high seas, their highly tuned sense of direction and magnetism draws them back to their place of origin to complete the cycle of life.


LA YOGA: What other nonprofit organizations do you collaborate with and contribute to?

Brock Cahill: Sea Shepherd, Sea Turtle Restoration Project, Pretoma, United Conservationists, Blue Mind and Dr Wallace J Nichols.


LA YOGA: How do you see your yoga practice integrating with your commitment to activism?

Brock Cahill: Yoga practice is a fertile training ground to learn how to stand for what you believe in: to develop the courage, confidence, strength and stamina to turn obstacles into opportunities and rise to meet them. Some people believe that yoga is preparation for meditation. I believe that yoga is preparation for activation!

Change is a very uphill slope so we need all of our systems to be operational. It is imperative that body, mind, and soul be in the most effective and unified states. I have found no more complete way to do this than the practice of yoga.


LA YOGA: Who are your heroes or role models on this quest?

Brock Cahill: Jacques Cousteau, Randall Arauz, Todd Steiner, Rob Stewart, Captain Paul Watson, Wallace J Nichols, Sylvia Earle, Archie Carr, Ingrid Visser, Seane Corn, Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, and Malcom X, just to name a few.


LA YOGA: What are some films that have had a positive impact on promoting this message?

Brock Cahill: Sharkwater, Revolution, Racing Extinction, Blackfish, Cowspiracy, and Fuel.


LA YOGA: What advice would you give to people who would like to put their environmental commitment into action? Where is a good place to begin?

Brock Cahill: Go vegan! We can effect more environmental change on the dinner plate than in any other way. Even Einstein, back in his day, recognized that the only way for the human race to survive on this planet is to transition to a plant-based diet. We have a population problem with severely diminishing resources.

Even if it seems impossible to be fully plant-based, cut the seafood out of your diet. We need to give the oceans a break and a chance to heal. If the health of the seas and the planet are not enough motivation, perhaps your own health and that of your loved ones will be? The oceans have become a toxic dumpster, and the fish are so polluted, and fished so unconsciously, that eating them is truly asking for trouble.


LA YOGA: What is something that people can do in their everyday lives to make a positive difference on our ocean ecosystem?

Brock Cahill: Pluckfastic! Choose to refuse single-use plastic. It is in no way sustainable to create something that lasts forever to use for only five minutes.

And to be clear, just because something is recyclable does not mean that it is recycled. A huge percentage of these recyclable materials ultimately end up in the ocean. I pull recyclable crap out of the water every day.

There are alternatives so make it a game! For example, give yourself five points for choosing the chips in a paper bag. Give yourself 10 points for asking the server at the restaurant, for “No straw, please.” Find new ways to buy bulk. Bring your own bag, bottle, to-go cup or container with you. Give yourself two points for every save you make. And remember that your vote and your dollars do count, even more so at the cash register than in the Presidential polls.

For more information about Kurmalliance, visit: kurmalliance.org.

Practice with Brock and Krista Cahill in Boston at Superflow Sunday, February 7 in partnership with Boston Yoga. A portion of proceeds benefit Kurmalliance. tickets: brightstarevetns.com/event/superflow

Felicia M. Tomasko
Felicia Tomasko has spent more of her life practicing Yoga and Ayurveda than not. She first became introduced to the teachings through the writings of the Transcendentalists, through meditation, and using asana to cross-train for her practice of cross-country running. Between beginning her commitment to Yoga and Ayurveda and today, she earned degrees in environmental biology and anthropology and nursing, and certifications in the practice and teaching of yoga, yoga therapy, and Ayurveda while working in fields including cognitive neuroscience and plant biochemistry. Her commitment to writing is at least as long as her commitment to yoga. Working on everything related to the written word from newspapers to magazines to websites to books, Felicia has been writing and editing professionally since college. In order to feel like a teenager again, Felicia has pulled out her running shoes for regular interval sessions throughout Southern California. Since the very first issue of LA YOGA, Felicia has been part of the team and the growth and development of the Bliss Network.