Yoga can help you feel more connected to nature, to the earth and to yourself. So when you’re buying clothes and equipment for your practice, we’re guessing you’ll want to avoid toxic chemicals and plastic waste that can harm you and the planet. And of course, you’ll want to do your asanas safe in the knowledge that no one has been exploited for the sake of your practice.
What to look for
First of all, natural materials are usually a winner when it comes to yoga. Not only do they feel nicer to wear and lie on, they’re not made of fossil fuels like synthetic materials are. But of course, they need to be responsible natural materials. Ones that are easily renewable, such as bamboo and cork, are good options. Water-intensive materials like cotton should be responsibly produced – look out for fabrics with GOTS and Oeko-Tex certifications.
Appreciating not appropriating
Yoga originates in India, but the British banned the practice when they colonised India in the 1800s. Now, yoga has become popular around the world but is often dominated by white practitioners and yogis. Buying from yoga brands that are either Indian-run or who give back to Indian communities – as well as companies who seek to promote diversity and inclusivity in yoga – helps honour the roots of the practice, support the communities where yoga originated and make everyone feel welcome in the world of yoga.
We've sniffed out 5 of the best ethical, sustainable and diverse yoga brands.
Cork Yogis’ cork yoga mats are winners all round! Cork is a readily-available material and harvesting it actually encourages the tree to grow more – so it’s quickly renewable and also promotes the absorption of CO2. But it’s also a great, practical material – it has amazing grip that actually improves as you sweat – no more slipping around in downward dog!
10% of all Cork Yogis’ profits go to Destiny Reflection, a charity based in Kolkata, India that supports survivors of sex slavery and human trafficking.
Their Classic Cork Mat comes in at £69.
Proyog is an Indian company that makes purpose-designed yoga clothes made from natural materials. Their aim is to “save yoga from plastic” – they believe that wearing plastic-based fabrics like nylon and polyester is at odds with the essence of yoga. Instead, they sell loose-fitting garments made from fabrics like linen and organic cotton. They also sell lovely yoga mats made from materials like jute, cotton and rubber.
A pair of Proyog Relaxed Yoga Harem Pants come in at $60.
Ekotex Yoga is a UK-based company run by Mum and yogi, Abbie. She has thought about the impact of every aspect of her yoga equipment business, from materials to packaging to social impact. They use minimal packaging and no plastic, their fabrics are all organic and their yoga mats containing PVC are Oeko-Tex II and Made in Green certified, incorporating 50% reclaimed post-production waste. They donate to food banks, Yoga Stops Traffick and Greenspark Plastic Bank and Eden Reforestation projects. They also blog about the philosophy of yoga, using the original Sanskrit terms.
We love Ekotex’s Mini Yoga Bolster, which is £21.42 and filled with a choice of kapok or spelt.
Complete Unity Yoga
Complete Unity lets you get all your yoga props with a clear conscience. They sell mats, blocks, bolsters, meditation cushions and more made from natural materials. With lovely neutral tones and plant-inspired patterns, you can be sustainable and stylish to boot at your next yoga class.
They also donate to the charity Helping Hands for India, which provides free education to children in India who otherwise wouldn’t have access to it.
Their beautiful, ergonomic Meditation Cushions cost £59 each.
Jilla Active have a wide range of women's activewear designed with yoga in mind. Their leggings, tops and sports bras are made using fabrics such as GRS recycled polyamide, TENCEL modal, recycled polyester, bamboo viscose yarn and GOTS organic cotton. They also stock a range of yoga mats and equipment including blocks, blisters and cushions.
Jilla Active use plastic-free packaging and reduce their carbon footprint by shipping factory goods by sea and choosing lower-carbon delivery partners. They also donate to various charities including KhalsaAid and Tree Sisters
For a trendy yoga look, try the Arabesque Top for £44.
Find aligned products
If you’re always on the lookout for products that align with your values – both on and off the yoga mat – Beagle can help you out! Our handy browser button suggests more ethical and sustainable alternatives to products as you browse online. We believe it’s possible to shop more consciously – and we want to help amazing people like you do that! Simply download the Beagle Button and let us do the rest.
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