Modern yoga is awash with plastic (mats, blocks, wheels, clothing) despite there being amazing non-plastic alternatives to all these items. Plastic is a global crisis that is increasingly affecting the health of the entire planet, so, we’ve created Plastic Free Yoga and the ‘Less Plastic…More Yoga’ initiative as a stepping stone to a better, healthier (physically, environmentally and philosophically) approach to yoga. We want to raise awareness of the ways our modern yoga culture contributes to this urgent, real world problem of plastic pollution and offer a yogic view of some actions towards a solution.
Over the course of the last 20+ years, yoga has become ‘cool’ and the great news is that ever more people are going to yoga classes, for all manner of reasons. This contributes to yoga’s global popularity and helps explains why ‘yoga’ is now a multi-billion-dollar industry.
And yet there’s a stark contrast between the predominant culture of today’s mainstream yoga community and the teachings of foundational yoga texts such as ‘The Yoga Sutras’ by Sri Patanjali. These texts speak to us of losing our ego, living simply and selflessly while the prevailing culture encourages us to think that it is important to wear the latest yoga pants, to buy yet another mat and get the latest yoga gadget …. but at what cost to ourselves and to the planet.
The practice of yoga is a path to personal liberation attained when mind and body are one, and we are awakened to the idea that all beings are inherently interconnected. Views and opinions about its functionality may vary, but it is undeniable that we are profoundly connected to all living things, either through the myriad physical connections that create the global web of ecosystems or perhaps through more esoteric connections.
Yoga philosophy reminds us that this life, and all our worldly goods, won’t last, they are ephemeral. However, our actions and our deeds are everlasting, so the impressions and impacts we create in the world will last long after we are gone.
The current mainstream yoga culture is contradictory; commercial pressures feed the desire for material things and the pursuit of the ego rather than encouraging personal liberation and a focus on the importance of our everlasting deeds being positive.
Changes are necessary to make yoga a tangible force for the good of the planet and not simply for the ‘good’ of a multi-billion-dollar industry packed with compromises, and alternative rationales to explain away inconvenient truths. These changes will have to come from within individual yoga studios, from yoga teachers and through our own personal choices.
Please join us as we seek to encourage and support a genuinely environmentally conscious yoga community !
We can harness the power of our practice … ‘practice and all is coming’ … practice being plastic free …