Thursday, June 2, 2011

"The Planet Can Suck It" Yoga Class

You know they're out there... sippin' starbucks out of their disposable cups...

Costume: Lululemon (made in China, shipped to North America or the UK)
Shipping products across oceans make up 3% of global carbon emissions. The ships endanger marine wildlife and pollute our oceans. Non-organic cotton uses 10% of the world's pesticides and 25% of it's insecticides (Ecoholic 2006) and whole crap load of water (256 cubic gigameters a year). That stretchy yoga feel? Yep, plenty of petroleum (ahem oil), water, water and more carbon.

The Gear: PVC Yoga Mat with a fancy synthetic bag.
PVC is what Greenpeace calls one of the most harmful plastics on the planet. The water, energy and carbon emissions required to create this polyvinyl chloride beauty is ridiculous all on it's own. Did you check to see where it was made? Shipping is a b*tch. Slap that plastic polluted mat into a fancy shiny nylon (aka petroleum based) mat bag and we're good to go.

The Ride: "Um, my car?"
Driving= carbon emissions. "Nuff said.

The studio/class: Heated yoga (yep I'm including Moksha here, despite offsets)
The energy required to heat a room to 95-102 degrees F all day long is ridiculous. That "cleansing" sweat yogis rave about sure isn't cleansing our planet. Generating that much heat means a huge amount of carbon emissions are being spewed out into our atmosphere. You're skin may feel "cleansed" but your lungs, health and planet sure don't.

The Perks: Foam yoga blocks, packaged yoga mat cleaners, accessories and cute trendy clothing, bottled water for purchase.
Eco-reality: Foam blocks may be cushy, but they're made from synthetic petroleum based products, require more water and energy and spew out climate changing carbon. Ick. We also really don't need to be spraying our mats with chemical enhanced yoga mat cleaners when water and vinegar will do just fine. Water is a fundamental human right and shouldn't be bought or sold. A water cooler should do just fine (especially if you reuse the jug and refill it from your filtered tap at home).

Most of us are a bit beyond the "Planet can suck it" phase when it comes to yoga, but sometimes we can convince ourselves that our little ole yoga practice can't be *that* harmful... can it?

article copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. Interesting....I did my hot yoga class today with my lulu lemon gear on and my mat - yikes - now you have me thinking on a different level!

  2. great only sin on the list is the pants...although i've never bought lululemon, old navy ain't much better...i have a recycled rubber yoga mat that, even though it's much thinner, is much better for sweaty feet to 'stick' to - plus it's black which fits my attire on most days, haha. have never used the blocks in class - not that i can always reach it, but the blocks always made me feel like i was cheating, hah. no car, no emissions. now, if they could only make it more affordable!!!!!!!

    PS - not sure if you get this commercial up there, but the real pisser is the Chase commercial about mobile phone banking which shows this asshole girl (yep, i said it) transferring funds while in an airplane pose. bitch!!!!

  3. I've recently begun phasing out driving to yoga class--either biking (which I've tried to do more often than not, though it somehow turned into a lot less often and a lot more not), taking the train, or just practicing at home. As for products, I think the best immediate rule of thumb should be "keep the stuff you got"--as opposed to going for that eco-friendly look by throwing out the synthetic yoga gear and buying new "green" stuff...

  4. I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS POST! I wish I could send it to every yoga studio in my town. Alternatives are certainly available: organic cotton clothing (and it needn't be Special Yoga Attire but if you want that, Blue Canoe or Marie Wright will do), and natural rubber or recycled material yoga mats. Not buying new clohting all the time - it's yoga, not a catwalk. Informal yoga gatherings within walking distance, or practicing at home. Cork blocks. Being in the natural temperature for your climate at the given time of year, with of course ordinary heat in cold weather. That "cleansing" from sweat is B.S. anyway. And Lulemon is so much hype, ridiculosly overpriced for stuff made by low-wage laborers in China. A scourge on the planet, IMHO.

  5. Love this! It now seems so obvious, but I'm ashamed to say I hadn't even considered the impact of a heated yoga class. Thanks for the shift in perspective!

  6. oh no!! I do all these things. I can work on most of the list but I don't know if I can give up my hot yoga. I do know my studio is getting remodeled to have more energy efficient heating systems. I guess that's a step in the right direction.

  7. I'm an offender of 3/5. Although I have kept my lululemon mat for a long time (it is falling apart now) instead of just going out and getting a new one like I wanted to.

    Great post though. I don't think all of us are perfect but the pretentious people that pretend to care but really don't get on my freaking nerves too.

  8. Good post! I am glad that I can honestly say that the only thing on this list was that my 1st yoga was a PVC one...but I am still using it as my outdoor mat. My indoor mat is natural rubber. My clothes...with the exception of one shirt that is eco-friendly, all of it is from a second hand store or something I have owned for years! If I used blocks, I would definitely get cork! I usually practice at home (not lately...) or near work so I can walk and now that my bike is ready for the summer, YITP here I come! :)

  9. Yep, definitely we've all done this- i also have some lulu stuff. My thought for this post was one part rant, one part- we really need to just own up to what our actions and consumption really has an effect.

    if i had serious connections I'd love to figure out the carbon footprint of a yoga class... sadly i can't seem to find any calculator mechanism for the carbon footprint of clothing, or say energy used to heat a class etc...

    any thoughts or links?

  10. Great commentary on the sustainability of a yoga class/studio/practice. I think about this a lot and feel spoiled that where I practice doesn't get snobby if a student (or teacher) doesn't fit the "mall-yoga" mold....I think it's important to continue bringing awareness to one's own consumption foibles, it fosters great discussion and even learning about changing life-patterns that don't serve us.I may be along way from being an eco- angel,but "Let your connection to the Earth be steady and joyful" also means reflection on how to relate to and take care of the Earth for me, not just how well I can ground down into my(borrowed) yoga mat on class time.

  11. Hi! I stumbled across your blog today. I've just recently started a yoga practice at home but I've done yoga here and there for years. I have two mats and some foam blocks that I picked up for cheap years ago that I still use. When the time comes to replace them I will definitely look into greener products. Thanks for the post!


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