Yogis are often categorized in a multitude of ways. Some of those are wrong (we’re all hippies) but some are correct—such as the idea that we make a concerted effort to be more mindful in our daily lives, and in our life choices, too.
As we step off our mats, slip back into our shoes, and return to our daily functions we are still connected to that yogic-mindset, making mindful decisions throughout the day: from what we eat, to how we treat others, and how we treat ourselves, too. But are we making mindful decisions in respect to the earth we were just so firmly connected, and grounded, to? Are we mindful about how we treat it?
A love, appreciation, and respect for nature often intertwine with yoga practice. By making other elements of your practice—the clothing you choose, the way you clean your mat, and what you do with it when it’s time for a new one—more sustainable and environmentally-conscious you can express gratitude to the earth off the mat, too.
Keep It Clean
Here’s the hard truth: Our mats can get pretty gross. Sweat, bare feet, tears, bacteria, and perhaps some other unmentionables find their way to our mats surface… And if we don’t clean them directly after use they just hang out there, and fester. Ick. Keep it clean, people! You can keep it eco-friendly, too, by mixing up some DIY cleansers.
Our favorite DIY cleanser is from our friend zero-waste and sustainability extraordinaire Lauren Singer. which you can watch below.
If you’re not into a DIY project, that’s okay, too. Rebel Green offers an all-natural, phosphate free, cleanser with a combination of essential oils that also have aromatherapeutic qualities. Bonus points? It’s in eco-friendly packaging and it’s not tested on animals.
You can keep you yoga clothes looking fresh and fabulous with natural, environmentally friendly, and chemical-free, cleansers, too. Lauren Singer also has you covered in this department. So, no need to whip up a DIY detergent (unless you want to, of course!). The Simply Co. powder detergent is packaged in a recyclable, reusable glass jar, and will come delivered to your door in a recycled cardboard box. Its ingredients are safe, natural, organic, and vegan.
Pay It Forward
Ready for a new mat? If your current mat is not too well-loved, someone else can have the opportunity to give it some love, too. Donation programs allow yogis to give their gently used yoga mats to those in need of them.
By donating your mat to the non-profit organization Yoga Foster, you are supporting in-school yoga programs. Head to their website to find participating lululemon stores that will accept a donated mat. Alternatively, if you’re not ready to give your mat up just yet, you can “pledge” to donate it at a later date. After you’ve given it some love—but not too much love—Yoga Foster’s website will remind you when it’s time to donate, and will give you a step by step process on how to do it.
Yoga Foster is all about sustainability, too! As stated on their website, “after use in our programs, we donate heavily-used mats to animal shelters and gardening programs to be repurposed—again.” Learn more about Yoga Foster in this piece founder Nicole Cardoza wrote for us here.
Support Sustainable Brands
Before you buy a new pair of leggings, a yoga mat, or props, do a little research. In recent years, brands have been adopting more eco-friendly production processes. This includes processes like using up-cycled, chemical-free, and biodegradable materials and sending their products out into the world in recyclable or compostable packaging.
Now you can look good, and do good, too.
Give Your Old Mat New Life
Let’s face it, sometimes our mats take a beating. They get worn down, sometimes worn so thin that a hole starts to make its way through. Sometimes, our dogs mistake them for chew toys (I forgive you Finley…). Mats that are on their last leg aren’t fit for donation, but they can be repurposed instead of tossed into the trash.
Some innovative ideas worth trying:
- Use your old mat as a grip underneath a slippery rug
- Cut your mat and use a piece of it as a grip to open jars (looking at you, salsa, you’re mine now!)
- Make a DIY bulletin board using your yoga mat as the backing
The possibilities are seemingly endless. Go forth and up-cycle that yoga mat instead of tossing it into a landfill! The planet, and your friend who’s always coming to your aid to open your jars, will thank you.
Maggie Peikon is a New York native, writer, and sufferer of insatiable wanderlust. An avid endorphin seeker she has a constant need to be moving, seeking adventure in all she does. She is a lover of travel, daydreaming, fitness, thunderstorms, and her dog, Finley. Despite the fact that she has to take medication daily due to a thyroidectomy, Maggie still believes that laughter will always be the best medicine. Follow her musings on Instagram and Twitter.