From small local studios to large national chains, green yoga studios are on the rise. Sustainable elements can range from something as simple as natural mat cleaners to big updates like recycled wood floors.

No matter what a studio’s resources are like, eco-friendly policies and features are a staple in the yoga world.

Why does sustainability matter to the yoga community?

Time for a brief yoga lesson. The Eight Limbs of Yoga, also known as Ashtanga, are the practice’s guiding values.

The first limb contains the yamas, or ethical practices. There are five yamas. The first yama is ahimsa, or non-violence. Ahimsa isn’t just interpreted as physical violence, but any sort of harm one causes to the self, other people, and the environment.

And that’s where sustainability comes in. Ahimsa can be interpreted as not harming the planet, so many yogis consider eco-friendliness a form of the first yama.

Also, yoga studios inherently mean a lot of close contact with the floor, yoga mats, and props. If there are toxins in cleaning products or harmful things like PVC (polyvinyl chloride) in mats and props, yogis can be exposed to them much more easily.

Implementing sustainable practices and eco-friendly features in yoga studios is both a spiritual and practical endeavor.

Green technology for yoga studios

The increase in availability and variety of green technology over the past few years has made the green yoga studio much more attainable.

For example, low-flow toilets and energy efficient washers and dryers help studios reduce their water usage. When you have hordes of yoga students coming into your restrooms and piles of towels to wash, sustainable plumbing fixtures can make a big difference.

The actual structure of yoga rooms matters too. Green studios can use low VOC (volatile organic compound) paint to reduce the harmful chemicals released into the air. After all, when you’re telling your students to inhale deeply, you don’t want them to worry about ingesting toxins!

As for flooring, many studios invest in FSC-certified wood. The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification means the wood you’re using on your floors and elsewhere in the studio has been sustainably sourced.

Studio owners can also provide eco-friendly yoga mats and props. For example, Yoloha yoga mats are made from recycled cork–and they’re more sanitary than regular mats. Win-win!

Simple ways yoga studios can be sustainable

Of course, the green technologies noted above can be costly and time-consuming. It may not be realistic for a local studio to pursue those paths, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be eco-friendly!

Instead, here are easy ways any yoga studio pursue ahimsa:

  • Refrain from selling plastic water bottles
  • Post signs that encourage brief showers
  • Install LED lights
  • Use all-natural cleaning supplies
  • Offer props made of sustainable materials like cork blocks
  • Use timers for all lights and fans
  • Provide natural mat cleaner (water, vinegar, and essential oils are your best friend!)
  • Go digital for your sign-in process and reduce paper use whenever possible
  • Decorate with plants that reduce air pollution like ferns and spider plants (their aesthetic quality is an added bonus!)

Then it’s time to take a deep breath and rest. Savanasa, anyone? For more information green yoga, check out this comprehensive eco-friendly yoga guide.