As yoga practitioners and teachers, we try our best to practice Ahimsa (compassion and non-harm) and Svadhyaya (self-reflection). Unfortunately, we are also participants in a culture that encourages us to buy more for less. I definitely have leggings that I purchased in the past, prioritizing price savings over the probably shady source of my new pants.
What would happen if we actually forced ourselves to consider whether we are truly comfortable with the source of our yoga clothes and equipment? My guess is that we would have less, but that we would feel more complete, knowing that we weren’t turning away from harm we were causing to the planet, to animals, and to other people for the sake of our “yoga practice”.
When buying for your personal practice or yoga business, the props and clothing you choose to wear, sell, and use can make a difference.
Before you buy, consider:
- Do you need it?
- How long will you need it for?
- What are you not currently wearing that you own (and what lessons can you learn about yourself from that purchase)?
When choosing what to buy, prioritize items that:
- Are manufactured in the US or Canada. This is a strong indicator that the people who made your purchase have been paid fairly, and work in safe conditions.
- Are made using recycled or sustainably-sourced materials.
- Are cruelty-free, or vegan. Avoid wool, leather, and down, all of which usually come from factory farms.
6 (of many) companies to check out:
Inner Fire‘s leggings are designed and manufactured in Vancouver, BC. and are 88% Recycled Polyester (made from recycled plastic bottles).
Strong Body Apparel makes men’s activewear in Vancouver. Their clothes are Environmental Protection Agency approved, and as part of their “BUY ONE FEED ONE” program, for every product purchased they feed a child in need.
Jade has been my favourite mat for years thanks to how grippy it stays during a hot yoga class. The company is run by former lawyer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, their mats are made from natural rubber in the United States, and for every mat sold they plant a tree. Learn more about the causes they support here.
Teeki uses recycled water bottles for their leggings, and the company supports various non-profit organizations dedicated to ocean conservation and ending plastic pollution. Their pants are manufactured in California.
I would love to hear about what other brands are committing their businesses to compassionate standards! Tell me your favourites in the comments below.
You might also enjoy:
Interview: Jess Sternberg, Free Label Co-Founder (on this site)
Ethical Fashion and Staying Centred on Social Media with Jess Sternberg (on Guinea Pigging Green)