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How Green is Your Yoga? yoga meets sustainability

by Tao Oliveto

As a yoga teacher and eco-activist, I was super excited when the first sustainable yoga mat appeared. After all, it made little sense that the mats we yogis were using to clear our minds and bodies were mucking up the planet. The most widely sold sticky mats are filled with PVC chemicals and non-biodegradable materials. I was totally freaked out by the smell that filled my studio back when unrolling my first supply so I made the switch when green and clean mats became available. My students love them!

Go deeper into the roots of yoga (Eight Limbs). and you’ll find the Yamas and Niyamas (the inner and outer observances) which include a commitment to non-harming. It’s not a stretch to match this with avoiding putting toxins into our bodies and our environment. Alternatives to toxic, non-biodegradable mats are now widely available from several yoga suppliers. I personally like the 100% rubber mats from Jade Yoga – they are thicker and stickier. Keep in mind that traditional cotton or hemp yoga rugs have always been great, especially for a sweaty practice, and will outlast any other variety. Encouraging your local studio to provide and/or sell these mats would be a step towards greening your own practice – inside and out.

The Green Yoga Movement became official when Laura Cornell founded the Green Yoga Association in CA, with a mission “dedicated to fostering ecological consciousness, reverence and action in the Yoga community”. Since then, yogis everywhere have come to realize the nature of yoga – that is, the obvious connection between the system of yoga and the ecosystem. They will host the 2nd International Green Yoga Conference in Watsonville, CA this year on May 18 – 20.

Epilogue: I can happily say that those first sticky mats from the studio avoided the landfill by becoming cushions for my reused/restored couch found while dumpster diving.

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2 Responses to “How Green is Your Yoga? yoga meets sustainability”

  1. phyllis diehl Says:

    i really enjoyed reading your blog. (did i say it right) i am looking forward to reading more. i have been fortunate to visit arcadia, and love the beauty, the quiet, the flowers, the freedom for the children. and the entire concept. kudos to you all.

  2. tao Says:

    Thanks, Phyllis! It makes it all worthwhile! Tao

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