December 30, 2014

The 9th Limb: Yogic Shopping.


Where Do We Draw The Line?

The aftermath of holiday consumerism lingers in our closets and in “to be returned” piles in front hallways.

Everything seemed so shiny and new pre-Holiday shopping spree, and now it feels like an excess of things we never needed in the first place, won’t ever use or wear, superfluous accoutrements and decadent toys.

Everyone from the corporate-minded to yogi-minded tend toward this indulgent norm; it is the way of our human, Kali-age life to shop, to buy, to consume.

The yogi path has always offered an alternative, an ushering to peer below the materialistic surface of society into what lies beneath. Still, the steadily climbing yoga products industry at $6 billion annually screams: We consume beyond our planetary means.

Do we consume as mindfully as we attend to our yogic ways and our yoga practice?

There is no better time than the beginning of a new year to examine ourselves—what we eat, how we behave, how we interact with the world, how we are contributing to the planet, for better or worse. It is by far the best way to re-evaluate what and how we consume.

What would happen if we paid equal attention to what we consume in material goods, as we do to our consumption of food, oxygen, energy and so on?

This topic and article is not new news. It is a calling, a reminder, an intention setting, a resolution, that if each and every one of us took a look at where and how our yoga products were produced, we could make a sizable impact on the world. We can even take it one step further: What are the values of your yoga studio and how was the studio built? Recycled and repurposed materials? The foods and products they sell—are they eco-friendly?

Most yogis I know, myself included, buy things. We are contributors to consumerism, but are we thinking as much about our shopping habits as we are about every other detail of our intentional ways?

Most yoga companies nowadays have thought a bit harder than the average company about the effects their production has on the planet.

Take, for, example the cork yoga mats; sustainable, environmentally friendly and hand-curated. Lululemon, of course, is infamous for being one of the “first” well-known brands for a small business, yoga clothing company infused with a lot of love.

One has to wonder, though: Can yoga style be as healing as the ancient practice itself?

In 2015, is it feasible now that we have all gotten the eco-friendly, sustainable thing down, for companies infuse a bit more of the yogic philosophy into their vision, mission, operations and production?

That is to say, socially conscious, sustainable, eco-fashion leads the way, but can we dig a little deeper?

As consumers, don’t just buy sustainable goods from companies that donate to awesome non-profit organizations, but support those companies that are themselves doing good in the world. Consider supporting companies who themselves are living the yoga way of life, and are infusing these practices in their products.

Why in the world would this matter? Like, can’t we just buy a cool yoga tank top that is made with recycled material? Isn’t that enough for gosh sakes!?

Well, sure, that may be enough for you. It may not be enough for me and for some people that I know.

I am suggesting an evolution in the yoga consumer products industry.

Socially conscious, eco-friendly manufacturing is a bare-minimum when it comes to yoga products: companies who donate to world-changing causes, participate only in paying fair-trade wages, and use environmentally friendly, recycled, natural materials.

The vision and evolution I am suggesting is at our fingertips: to take socially conscious fashion one step further by following in the footsteps of the Slow Fashion Industry and produce hand-made items, infused with positive vibes and energy along the way. This would, in turn, create yoga clothing/props/mats/accessories infused with healing properties. Not only is the technology available to provide us with such products, but we are tuned in to ancient Eastern methods of healing and balancing energy that can support this next evolution in yoga wear.

Yogis and yoga clothing company owners like Sylvia Daun couldn’t agree more,

“The greatest lesson I have learned through yoga is being aware; aware of myself, my body, and my environment. Long before I started yoga my father helped me develop a respectful relationship with natural resources. It became part of my DNA to consume consciously. As yogis we dream of a world where we all help to preserve nature and everybody gets fairly paid for his or her job. A big dream that may not very realistic, as yogis we can all help to create a better world with our shopping behavior.”

Yogis, modern urbanites, moms, dads, teenagers, consumers alike—let’s make 2015 the most connected, balanced, conscious year yet.

May our shopping behaviors reflect a movement of love, of healing the planet and of healing ourselves.



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Author: Zahara Jade

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Eliza/Flickr

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