14/06/2010 2:42 PM IST | Updated 07/12/2017 8:30 AM IST

National Volunteer Month: 400,000 Plant Trees In India With Isha Foundation

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is a powerful character -- but wholly unintimidating. He frequently cracks jokes upon meeting a new group of people and his BlackBerry seems quite anachronistic given his appearance. To someone who's barely left Los Angeles in several years, he looks more like a character from an ancient epic film than a world-renowned speaker and guru.

He was at our office in L.A. to talk to me about the Isha Foundation, his nonprofit that provides free medical care to rural areas in India, promotes environmental activism, and constructs yoga schools throughout the world.

For today's Volunteer Spotlight (and since Earth Day is just a week away), we want to recognize the incredible achievement of the Isha Foundation, who organized over 400,000 volunteers to plant two million trees on a mountain in India in just 25 days. This group of volunteers also set the record for most tree seeds (850,000) planted in a single day (a record they plan to continually break in the years ahead).

Sadhguru seemed surprised when I asked him about how to encourage people to volunteer their time. He replied that people should be even more selfish than they already are; after all, taking care of our environment and others helps improve our own lives.

"We're not saving the planet," he told me. "We're saving ourselves."

WATCH a segment of our interview with Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev:

Sadhguru does not believe that this volunteer effort should be the work of a select group of activists.

"It's everybody's work. All of us breathe, all of us eat, all of us walk on this planet. This is not somebody's work, it's everybody's work. Unless we get it into people's minds that this is everybody's work, you will not accomplish much on this planet."

The Isha Foundation's primary goal is to address "all aspects of human wellbeing." This includes yoga programs, and extends to humanitarian efforts. In addition to the wildly successful environmental initiative, known as Project GreenHands, Isha's Action for Rural Rejuvenation works to address economic, agricultural and social mobility problems in rural India.

Learn more about Project GreenHands:

Get involved with Project GreenHands or make a donation to one of the Isha Foundation's projects to help them continue their work.