I’m a hot yoga enthusiast. It’s transformed my life in endless positive ways. But practicing hot yoga has always brought on a bit of enviro-guilt. Lots water used when I do laundry, energy to heat the yoga studio and more. Here are few simple ways I’ve made my yoga practice a little more “green”.
Disclaimer: Please know that if you make a purchase using a link on this page, I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you), which in turn helps support this site.
1 – Invest in re-usable bags to bring home wet clothes
Skip those wasteful single use plastic bags! I’ve found two things work well to avoid unnecessary plastic waste: you can buy washable and reusable bags for your yoga outfit. And you can use an old, large IKEA bag to transport your yoga gear to and from class. I’ve been using the same IKEA bag for years, it’s sturdy, washable and can easily transport a wet towel, mat and outfit.
2 – Use cold water to wash your gear
I wash my Breathe Mat (a towel & mat in one) which requires doing laundry every time I practice. By using cold water you can significantly reduce your energy consumption associated with doing extra laundry. Heating hot water is one of the largest sources of energy use in the average American home. Check out my recommendations for environmentally-friendly laundry detergents HERE.
3 – Invest in an eco-friendly mat
For hardwood floors:
If you practice in a place that has hardwood floors, you’ll want a mat that grips the floor. Many traditional yoga mats are made of toxic plastic like PVC (off-gassing anyone?), which are toxic throughout their whole lifecycle. There are brands that use safer materials like Think Sport which uses TPE material, free of phthalates and other nasty chemicals.
For Bikram/hot yoga:
If you practice in a studio that uses rubber, microfiber or carpet, I highly suggest Breathe Mats (with Rabbit flap). These are towel/mat combos and are much more sanitary for a hot yoga practice. Fabric is the safest material and allows you to avoid purchasing a toxic PVC-laden mat. This mat is really good at capturing the sweat (not letting too much leak onto the yoga floor). Your yoga studio owner will be grateful if you buy one of these because it helps decrease the “yoga funk” in a hot yoga room and keeps the floor more sanitary. Best part of using this mat is it doesn’t slip around during your practice, keeping your towel and mat clearly intact.
Now I’m just waiting on Breathe to make a mat that has grips on the bottom so people who practice heated flow yoga on wooden floors can use this incredible yoga mat!
4 – Bring a small hand towel to dry off your body
This has been a life saver! When I was practicing in Washington D.C. I noticed a woman who brought a hand towel to dry herself off, instead of a large body towel. Since making this switch I have drastically cut down on the laundry I need to do, water I use and the weight of things I needed to schelp around town. If you practice in an urban area and take public transportation home or ride you’re bike, you know what I mean! The hand towel can still be wrapped around my hair to dry it off once I’ve toweled off my body.
5 – Use a stainless steel water bottle
Single use plastic water bottles are one of the largest sources of waste, polluting our bodies, waterways and oceans. Just like ditching the plastic bag tip I suggest above, invest in a high quality stainless steel water bottle. My favorite brand is Hydro Flask which has the best insulation out of any water bottle I’ve ever used. It keeps water really cold (or tea very hot) for hours on end. You can buy a Hydro Flask bottle here. I prefer the 18 ounce bottle since it fits in the drink holder in my car, and prevents me from guzzling water during my practice!
6 – Encourage your studio owner to buy renewable energy credits
My friends who run and own the Bikram Yoga Minneapolis studio offset their energy costs with 100% renewable energy. Encourage your studio owner to adopt a similar policy.