Sustainability is a big buzzword these days, especially in the yoga world. But how sustainable is your yoga practice?
With so many yoga products available, it can be easy to fall into the world of consumerism. It's rare that we can get away from it completely so it's important to make conscious choices when we do have to buy products to support our practice.
Being sustainable is in keeping with yogic principles
A million small changes can add up to an enormous impact. If every yogi sourced sustainable products for their practice, it would massively benefit the environment as a whole.
There's no need to transform overnight. Take small steps toward becoming more and more sustainable until, one day, you find yourself being 100% eco-friendly and sustainable in your yoga practice—and in your life.
Ultimately, if you just start asking questions about the products you buy, you can start to create real change in the way these products are made. Because after all, manufacturers respond to demand from consumers. And if we, as consumers, demand more sustainable products, then that is exactly what we will get.
How to make your yoga practice sustainable
Make these five considerate choices to make your practice more ethical and sustainable.
Buy eco-friendly products
Not all products are equal - even yoga ones! Some utilise synthetic materials while others source natural fibres. Some require lots of energy expenditure to produce while others work on solar power.
As you explore products to buy from yoga mats to yoga clothes and everything in between, search for products that are sustainable and made with the environment in mind. There are so many eco-friendly brands out there to choose from, especially in the yoga realm, so do your research and make sure you’re spending your money where it's of value.
Choose the right materials
Believe it or not, the materials that your leggings and mat are made from actually matter. That synthetic rubber in your yoga mat may not be the best and the rayon in your yoga pants could be damaging the environment through deforestation.
Source products that are made from recycled or all-natural materials to help stop the demand for manufactured plastics and other environmentally-harmful sources. Avoid rayon and switch to organic cotton. Organic rubber or renewable cork can be good options for mats and props.
Do your research and make sure that the products you buy help you to invest in the future of you and the planet.
The brands that you buy from matter. Each penny you spend with a company supports their practices.
Research brands that offset their carbon footprint or give back to those in need. Look out for products that are certified Fairtrade to ensure all those in the production chain are getting a fair deal.
Check if companies make an effort to be more sustainable before you decide whether to spend your money with them.
Avoid fast fashion
As tempting as it is to have an endless supply of yoga pants in every shade of the rainbow, fast fashion may be one of the biggest threats to our environment.
As trends dissipate, all the energy and materials that were used to create the latest fashion trend suddenly become “outdated” and are thrown away to waste in landfills. This continues the damaging cycle of using more energy and materials to produce the next trend.
Stop the cycle by buying clothing that is timeless and long-lasting. Invest in higher quality products that you love and will last longer than one season.
Invest in a reusable water bottle
This one is so simple but often overlooked. Single-use plastic is a serious threat to our environment, yet bottled water is everywhere.
Throwing away plastic water bottles is damaging for the environment, with many ending up in our seas and damaging ecosystems. Having a reusable water bottle is a quick and easy fix.
Refill your bottle whenever you head to practice and reduce the plastic burden of our modern world.
Our favourite eco-friendly yoga products
Each day, we vote with our wallets. So cast your ballot to a company that cares about maintaining our environment and creating a more sustainable world for us all to enjoy.
Jade’s Harmony Mat has been a bestseller on eco-friendly lists for a long time.
All Jade mats are sustainable and made from natural rubber. This rubber comes from rubber trees, so it’s a completely renewable resource that also does not contain PVC, EVA, or other synthetic rubbers.
What's more, Jade also plants a tree for every mat sold.
Manduka’s Align Yoga Strap is made from 100% unbleached, eco-friendly cotton using dyes that are free from lead and heavy metals. This not only helps to protect workers, but the environment too.
Yoloha’s Cork Meditation Cushion is made from 100% vegan materials. Its outer layer is cork, which is harvested from the outer bark of the Cork Oak Tree. The trees are not cut down to harvest the cork, so it’s entirely sustainable and it’s all done by hand, which helps to provide over 100,000 fair-wage jobs.
Its inner layer is filled with recycled cork granules, so you can rest assured that this product is entirely sustainable, and a company worth investing in.
When it comes to your athletic wear, Prana is a great brand to shop, especially if you're based in the USA. Not only is their clothing super cute, but it’s also completely sustainable. As a self-proclaimed brand with “sustainability in their DNA,” Prana works hard to make sure each product they sell stems from that mentality.
Working with responsible packing, organic cotton, recycled wool and more, this company is taking leaps to make their clothing truly environmentally-friendly and socially-responsible.
What’s super real and nice about this brand is that they admit that they’re not perfect, but they acknowledge that they are trying.
They say: “With every sustainably-minded decision, we lessen our impact on the environment everyday, in each piece of clothing we create.” And that is well worth supporting!
About Leah Sugerman
Leah Sugerman is a yoga teacher, writer, and passionate world traveller. An eternally grateful student, she writes about and teaches a fusion of the styles she has studied with a strong emphasis on finding the balance between strength and surrender. Leah teaches workshops, retreats, and trainings both online and internationally. Connect with Leah and follow her teachings and travels on Instagram, Facebook, and LeahSugerman.com.