(yoga in the park in May!)
Eco-Yoga Newbie Guide
*N.B. The best first step in "greening" your practice is to decrease your consumption. Buying something new just because it's "green" and throwing your old mat/gear into the landfill/dump will not make our Earth happy. If you do have valid reasons for investing in new yoga products, then please check out this post on some ideas on what to do with your old mat and enjoy! :)
Currently there are a zillion different kinds of yoga mats claiming to be "green"- so how is a yogi/ni to see through all the greenwashing and make the best choice?
Currently, one of the most eco-friendly products (other than keeping your own) that has the best performance is natural rubber. So far it's a toss up between Manduka's Eko natural rubber mat and Jade's natural rubber mat. Prana also has a natural rubber mat- but it's 90$ American... ACK. My advice- while visiting a class, check to see if they have any of these mats for you to try out during practice.
Also, if you are sensitive to strong scents, smell smell smell before you buy!
If you'd like more indepth mat info that I've accumulated so far please check out the yoga saga links on the right :)
Yoga Mat Bag!
I LOVE checking out etsy for handmade yoga mat bags... and if I didn't already have one that's probably where I would go. Don't you love this beautiful recycled Obi-Yoga Mat bag? If I had 120$...lol. Another option is making your own from fabrics you already have! Check out this fabulous how-to!
As a bendy-challenged person, blocks and straps are very useful in my practice. The best "eco" option I found currently has been cork blocks. I have the Halfmoon cork block and LOVE it. With all the drama right now surrounding bamboo and how it may be harvested (check out this post for more info on
bamboo and eco-concerns) I feel better circumventing the whole issue with cork. Cork is heavier (less movement and helps with strength building) and softer.
I admit; I own mostly Lululemon yoga clothing; old school before it was outsourced and made in China. However there are definitely other options out there:
- wear whatever you are comfortable in! No new clothes bought :)
- Karma Clothing: made in Canada and has bamboo options (not ideal...)
- Skyler Clothing: made in Canada, pro-women/mother's rights (hires mothers to work from home)
- Gaiam: has organic cotton yoga options... all made in China (boo)
My first priority: Made in Canada, then I look for eco-fibers like organic cotton, hemp, soy, bamboo.
If anyone knows of other great companies I'd LOVE to hear about them :)
Bringing your water to class is essential and you care about what is leaching into your eau... Unfortunately there is no easy option, but so far the best choice is Stainless Steel. I LOVE my Klean Kanteen and Andrews hearts his too! They are easy to clean and very durable. Although nice and light, aluminum requires a "mystery" coating to protect your water from toxins leaching from the aluminum. Check out my post here for more info on options and all the fabulous things Klean Kanteen does for the planet! (our klean kanteen bottles posing in the strawberry plant- I am so artsy!)
Yoga Mat Cleaning Supplies!
lemon juice+water. Really that's it. You may want to try some tea tree oil for disinfectant or vinegar. All those little Josha wipes etc etc are extra waste and unnecessary. Careful with your rubber mat however, as quick dunks in the tub could actually make it slippery for the first few days!
Some helpers to make your practice more eco-friendly:
Instead of driving to class every week, try upping your home practice. Yoga Journal has awesome sequence builders and there are many fantastic dvd's (I like Seane Corn) and online podcasts. It will help deepen your understanding of your own practice, save the planet and save you money!
Walk/bike/bus to class
Now that summer is here (in the Northern Hemisphere) walking and biking to yoga is a great way to continue your connection with Earth and your practice. Find out local bus routes and encourage your studio to post them!
Regular readers know I LOVE outside practice. Such a quick and obvious way to emphasize our connection to our planet and tune ourselves to Nature.
Try a "meatless Monday" to decrease your impact on our Earth through your meat consumption. Try buying the Top Ten Dirtiest Offenders produce as Organic to keep your body and our planet happy. For a list see here.
Be present, be happy!
By recognizing our interconnected and dynamic relationship with Earth and Her residents we can begin to notice small ways to change how we interact and behave with each other and the environment. Our planet is not "other", we are it. :)
Hope this was helpful, and I'd LOVE to hear any other suggestions or options you have!