At Eugene Yoga, one of our main values is sustainability both on and off the mat. You may be thinking, what is sustainable yoga? Or how do I start living a more sustainable life? We have a few tips to help you on your journey to a more sustainable, yogic lifestyle.
A sustainable yoga practice is simply one that can be practiced throughout your entire life. This means being attentive to your body during asana practice and not pushing your body to the point of pain or injury. It can be tempting to try beautiful, challenging poses, but if you don’t have the foundational strength to achieve them or if your body simply does not want to move that way, it’s safest to hold back and stick with a simpler or alternate version of the pose. This is why we focus on alignment at Eugene Yoga, to make sure your body is safe throughout practice. All of our instructors are expertly trained, so if they ever cue a pose that doesn’t feel right in your body and you aren’t sure how to adjust, wave them over and quietly ask them for assistance. They are always happy to help you find the adjustments that are right for your body.
Sustainability in yoga extends beyond asana practice into accessories. While the first rule of sustainability is to use what you have and avoid unnecessary waste, when it is time to get some new props, try finding options that are better for the environment. For example, many yoga accessories brands (and we stock them!) carry yoga mats, blocks and straps that are made from natural materials like cork, natural rubber, cotton and metal. These materials will biodegrade in 10-200 years, as opposed to plastic which takes 1000+ years, not to mention the environmentally harmful resources that go into the manufacture of plastic goods. Using natural materials and ingredients is safest for the environment and our bodies. That’s why our Lotus Love Spray uses only natural ingredients that are safe to use on our bodies and mats (and it smells great!). Another way to reduce your impact is by opting for used items. This helps keep them from the landfill and reduces the number of new items manufactured, particularly pertinent to yoga clothes, because 80% of all textiles produced every year end up in landfills. This is a huge problem, especially considering the amount of textiles that are made out of synthetic materials like rayon, nylon and polyester which are all just plastic! Similarly, consider purchasing a metal or glass reusable water bottle to take with you into practice if you haven’t already. At Eugene Yoga, we’ve replaced our paper cups with reusable ones and stopped selling disposable plastic water bottles. We’ve also replaced all disposable paper hand towels with reusable cloth ones. As a result, we’ve reduced our trash to a third of what what it used to be. Every little bit helps!
What’s your experience with sustainability? Do you have any tips to share with the community? Would you like to hear more sustainability tips beyond ones that relate directly to yoga practice, like ways to reduce waste in the kitchen, bathroom and in social situations? Let us know in the comments below!