As a student, yoga studios and yoga teachers are held aloft in this hazy glow of yoga-ness. I have heard from a friend who is taking her teacher training that this "teacher worship" is discussed in class. The teacher almost takes on the aura of "guru" and often students may experience spiritual or emotional release during practice and burst into tears (happened to me once!). So of course I just expected the teachers to have the same awareness and passion for the environment that just feels so naturally entrenched in that which is Yoga. A part of my personal practice is to let go of these expectations and the resulting disapointment.
BUT- wouldn't it be fantastic if we could practice in a studio that valued our earth? The Green Yoga Association is an awesome website to check out for more involvement.
Here are some ideas that are easy to incorporate in a studio that is already up and running:
- replace paper towel with cotton (organic would be great) towels that can be washed. We use towels to dry our hands at home, so it shouldn't be a big change :)
- buy toilet paper made from recycled paper: many companies actually sell affordable TP made from recycled paper. My bum definitely does NOT need to have chemicals from all the bleached, brand spankin' new paper.
- have eco-soap like "attitude" or a locally made bar of soap (like Birchbark!)
- use eco-cleaning products like "Ecover" or "Seventh Generation"
- replace lights with CFL's
- offer water and lemon juice in a spray bottle with washable cloths to wipe down mats
- have soy or beeswax candles to decrease petroleum in the air we breathe.
Extra Ideas that involve a bit more change but are SO forward thinking:
- compost/recycle. This one should be EASY for Haligonian studios to do- composting and recycling programs are already in place and regulated by law. People are used to seeing separate bins labeled compost, plastic, paper with little pictures demonstrating examples for each.
- Offer carpooling or bicycling incentives: perhaps a discount card earning a free class.
- Advertise ride-shares or bus schedules on a community bulletin so students can carpool or take public transit.
- only sell environmentally friendly yoga-mats/accessories: cork blocks or manduka/jade mats.
- DON'T throw out old mats, find ways to reuse them or donate them!
Fantastical Ideas that I can only wish for:
- have the studio painted in low or zero VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paint.
- have flooring made from sustainable (bamboo, cork) or even better; reclaimed wood
- stock the studio with cork or bamboo blocks and eco-mats
- Limit paper schedules and advertisements, most people have the internet now anyways. Those that you do print- print on recycled paper.
- have water efficient toilets and sinks.
- use renewable energy for heating and lights- solar, wind or water generated.
In a perfect world...