Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Putting your yoga money where your heart is

While suffering through a ridiculously tense and anger inducing yin practice (who knew those two things could go together?), I realized that part of my disappointment and frustration was focused on the utter failure of the current yoga studio I was investing my money into supporting.

I have watched this studio grow from tiny roots to a knew studio, ownership and expansion of a new studio space. I had hopes... some of my favourite yoga classes happen there. But. The studio is just so catastrophically environmentally BAD. And well... you know moi, I just kinda care about our Planet a little bit. It's sorta important to me.

So why would I put my (limited) money supply into a studio that simply doesn't appear to give a crap about how yoga can impact our planet? Seriously, in our consumer-driven society, one way we can send a clear message for change is to back it up with loonies and twonies (for you non-Canadians, that's one and two dollar coins lingo lol).

What is this studio doing that has irked my Eco-yoga-ness?
  • Heated rooms using floor heat fans. Ridiculously wasteful and energy intensive. At least have an energy plan to offset the carbon used, or acquire the energy through Bullfrog... there are many options...
  • Renos... using no environmentally available options. High VOC paints, fake laminate flooring (icky toxic glue and all) expanding and installing TWO extra bathrooms and showers (um energy?). Sigh, opportunity missed.
  • Chemical laden cleaning supplies, including triclosan plastic enclosed hand wash and ridiculous "no sweat" mat cleaner (no ingredient list... sketchy. Email to company has been sent).
  • Paper paper paper! Sign up sheets clutter the desk for every single class imaginable. Paper posters line the walls that will be replaced and taken down in a few weeks, ridiculously small mini schedules for taking, cards... There are a dozen more sustainable ways to sign up clients and display information.
  • No reasonable recycling sorting or ANY composting... in a municipality where not composting and recycling is *Illegal*.... so lame.
  • Not even a smidgeon of hint of plan to consider our planet in any business practice they have done or will do.
Hanging out in the torturous dragonfly yin posture I realized... complain complain complain- but why am I paying for this studio whose practices I strongly disagree with? With other business practices I have absolutely no qualms with complaining to management, voicing my concern with their business practices and taking my money elsewhere. Just because I was in a yoga studio didn't make this situation different. I shouldn't be more careful just because it's a yoga studio, as if they are more "sensitive, enlightened, inherently better and above reproach in some way".

There are many studios in HRM that are doing a much better job at protecting our planet through yoga.
(the way yoga should be... outside :) can't wait for Yoga in the Park again this year!)

We can all do this, yogi(ni)s. It's time to stop thinking of yoga studios as above criticism or beyond responsibility. Promoting and providing a spiritual practice does not excuse trashing our Planet.

Tomorrow will be my last class at this studio (Coffee and Yoga has already promised to flash mob a yin-yang class :) ), after this EcoYogini will be putting her yoga money where her heart is.


article copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com


  1. Reading this, I was thinking that perhaps one day you can open a business as a Yoga Studio Greening Consultant. I'm sure there's a whole bunch of studios that would like to be greener, but don't have your passion. ;)

    Also, have you spoken to this studio about your concerns? If not, definitely do so. If you have already, let them know the reason you're moving on. Perhaps they have a plan and you don't know about it yet?

    But it's true: we have an opportunity to vote with our buying power, no matter how big/small it is.

  2. You know, in a way I don't understand why or how a yoga studio does not pay attention to this kind of things. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but it makes so much sense to me that yoga off the mat is also being mindful of the environment.
    But then again, maybe it's just me, to each their own :)

  3. I agree with Svasti: You should be a Green Yoga Studio Consultant!

  4. Great idea! I think $$ speaks volumes. So like svasti said, voice your concerns and tell them why you are taking your money elsewhere!

  5. Please let us know when you do find an Eco friendly studio... I go to one that I find is pretty good

  6. i'm with you on this studio. i've never had a connection with them like you did, and there's never been enough respect for the community and environment from them, to win me over.

  7. I know you're not a fan of hot yoga much but Moksha in Dartmouth has really really surprised me. Just like all other Moksha studios they have cork flooring in the studio rooms. But they also do not use any paper towels and the sheets you fill out when you personal information on when you show up your first time are laminated so they just wipe them down and re-use them. So cool! They also use all natural cleaning products. Or at least they claim to. I'll admit I haven't done much research on it. And I know they don't use the heating fans that X studio uses but I'm not sure what they use instead. Maybe come with me in the next two weeks before my month runs out?

  8. Wow, I am surprised that a yoga studio could be so clueless. Toxic handwash even! Shesh. Girl, you have to voice your concerns and hopefully plant a seed over there! Good luck!

  9. Put your yoga money where your heart is, for sure! Maybe this studio is just going through some short term fixes until they are through the chaos of building? Someone with your level of concern would be valuable to them and their future business.

    I agree that the most optimal place for yoga is outdoors. I've done this several times first thing in the morning before the sun gets too hot - but weather is not always so predictable.

    I enjoy your blog very much. You've brought up some important concerns. Have you thought of building your own yoga studio? This could be an exciting adventure!


  10. Do you have a recommendation for where to buy carbon offsets? A place that doesn't steal land from indigenous people/works with locals respectfully/is working to create alternative economy in logging environments? It's hard to find good recommendations.


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