• Sarah Smith

5 Tips on How to be a Sustainable Yogi

As well as teaching yoga, I work in sustainability, which is something I'm passionate about in my personal and professional life. This is part of the reason I love teaching and practicing outdoors - it helps us connect to nature and when we learn to love and connect with something, we want to take care of it!

Here are my top 5 tips for minimising our environmental footprints as a yogis:

1. Live with less

You don't need lots of fancy kit and equipment to practice yoga. Yes, the latest Sweaty Betty leggings might be gorgeous but it's likely the ones you already have are just fine. Even a light t-shirt and pair of stretchy shorts are perfect to practice in.

2. Buy second hand and sustainable

If you do need some new sportswear, or a mat, or want to try working with props then you can probably get what you need second hand. Try charity shops, Gumtree, Ebay, Spock and other swapping/selling apps. If you can't find what you need second hand, do your homework on sustainable brands. Look for whether they use second hand or naturally regenerating materials, how far their products are shipped and whether they have evidence they treat their workers fairly (e.g. organic and fairtrade certifications).

3. Wash your sweaty clothes consciously!

Most sports gear is synthetic and made of plastic fibres. When you wash them, microscopic fibres, known as microplastics, are released and wash away into our rivers and oceans. The best way to avoid this is to buy clothes made of natural fibres, such as bamboo. However, you may already have synthetic clothes or have purchased some second hand (which is still great). I use a 'Guppyfriend', which is a bag you can put all your synthetic clothes in and it catches most microfibres in the bag. A Guppyfriend is quite pricey but worth the investment for our planet. Washing at lower temperatures, lower spin and washing a full load at a time also helps reduce microfibres. All of these also help your clothes last longer!

4. Travel to class by sustainable modes of transport

The most sustainable modes of transport are walking and cycling. If this isn't possible, take public transport, where possible. Of course you can always practice at home too, which is a great option during lockdown (check out my online classes on the 'Events' page).

5. Handle hot classes with care

I love hot yoga. However, I tend to see it as more of a treat these days, as hot studios require much more energy to heat rooms, more cleaning for the studio and tend to end up in more washing for you (as your clothes and towels get pretty sweaty). Many hot studios are working hard to increase their energy efficiency and some are certified carbon neutral. If you already do or want to practice hot yoga, I recommend speaking to your studio and finding out what they are doing to minimise and address their impact and asking them to do more about it if you think they could.

Please add your tips and comments so we can all keep treading more lightly on the earth.

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