Whether you’re a traditional yoga enthusiast, green yoga enthusiast, or an eco-friendly lifestyle adopter, this article is for you.
We typically think of yoga’s positive impact on physical, emotional, and mental well-being. After all, it is a unifying force.
But while traditional yoga practice is low on the ladder of activities with damaging environmental outcomes, there are ways to make your practice greener – without needing to replace your yoga mat!
What is green yoga?
Green yoga is self-explanatory and extends mindfulness principles from the mat to the world around us.
It is the practice of yoga with an added emphasis on being mindful of your impact on the environment. This might involve:
- Using an eco-friendly yoga mat (remember to reuse or repurpose first!),
- Practicing outdoors in nature,
- Using sustainable props (and fewer props where you can!),
- Wearing ethically produced yoga clothing, and
- Using natural cleaning products to clean your mat and props.
The perfect foundation for eco wellness
Yoga, mainly green yoga, is the perfect foundation for those on an eco-wellness journey.
Green yoga has taught me to begin my morning practice by intensely appreciating my surrounding environment. I take my morning yoga outdoors to breathe fresh air and connect with nature. As I settle into my pranayama (breath control), I’m not only calming my mind and body. I also appreciate the gentle breeze, birdsong, and the sun’s warm kiss.
This mindfulness gives me a sense of purpose that transcends my personal wellness – it’s about the bigger picture – a deep appreciation for Mother Earth.
What is eco wellness?
Eco wellness is a holistic approach to wellbeing, encompassing one’s personal health and the environment’s health. It is about possessing an environmentally conscious mind, living sustainably, connecting with nature, and establishing a solid mind-body connection.
Eco wellness is now a recognized disciple of human wellness. And rightly so, given the role of nature in shaping our daily decisions and perceptions of the world.
Why practice green yoga
I want to roll out the mat and lay down the benefits of green yoga in case you need convincing to strike a pose.
Here are some of the benefits of green yoga:
- Environmental awareness: Not surprisingly, for a ‘green’ activity, green yoga fosters a deeper connection with nature. It encourages us to increase our awareness of the natural world and, in the process, instills a sense of self-responsibility and mindfulness about how our actions impact the environment.
- Physical health: Not only is yoga great for increased flexibility, strength, and good ol’ cardiovascular health, but you’re also getting a healthy dose of fresh air and natural sunlight by practicing outside.
- Clarity: There is a ton of research on the benefits of the natural environment to human health, particularly for reducing stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Nature and her sounds can also improve mental clarity – why do you think meditation playlists often feature nature.
- Eco-friendly living: Just like yoga practice makes perfect, green yoga will likely encourage you to adopt more eco-friendly practices in other areas of your life, too (e.g., reducing waste and consuming ethically).
- Holistic wellness: Combining yoga’s physical postures, breath control, and mindfulness with eco-friendly living practices gives you a holistic approach to wellbeing – a win physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and environmentally (more to come on this last one later!)
- Sense of community: Whether you do your yoga practice alone or with a group, engaging in green yoga connects you with like-minded people across the globe who share your passion for yoga and eco-consciousness.
The bottom line
The main difference between eco wellness and green yoga lies in their focus and scope. Eco wellness is wide-ranging beyond yoga and encompasses your daily life, diet, and choices. Green yoga, on the other hand, is centered explicitly on integrating eco-friendly principles within yoga practice.
How I approach my morning yoga reflects my approach to my whole day and life. Ever heard of the saying, “The way you do one thing is the way you do everything”?
By transitioning to greener yoga, I’ve naturally (pardon the pun!) minimized my ecological footprint and found equilibrium within myself and with nature. That’s a win for me and a win for the environment. We need more winners – will you join the dream green team?