Yogis ARE more conscious consumers! Yogis believe that it is important to extend intentional living not just during yoga, but in life, including being a conscious consumer.
This is not just a myth about yogis, but backed by the 2016 Yoga in America Study. The study showed that yogis tend to live more sustainable lives than the overall population. More than 50% of yogis say they eat sustainable foods and care about the environment versus 33% of the general American population. Yogis support ethical products and purchases and actually do more of it.
There are a few things that explain this increased conscious living for practitioners of yoga. Some of the core beliefs of yoga is teaching mindfulness and ethical guidelines. These terms actually have their own nomenclature, yamas and niyamas respectively.
The yoga terms yamas, and niyamas refer to cultivating compassion, also known as karuna. Karuna is the yogi’s term which is the notion where individuals are inspired to be conscious of the environment and to live a lifestyle with sustainability in mind.
There is a wonderful list from Wanderlust that explains some of the other key definitions from the yoga world:
Ahimsa: This is the doctrine that refrains humans from harming any living being, which includes people, animals, and earth as a whole. Ahimsa originally is derived from the word “noninjury” in Sanskrit. As this translates to today, ahimsa refers to the sensitivity to protecting the environment and our use of resources so as to not to damage our environment, in addition to nonviolence against people.
Asteya: The literal meaning of asteya is non-stealing. As this pertains to our world today, the yogi practice says that we should not take from the earth critical components that keep the earth alive. Another part of asteya’s definition is to not take advantage of people. The yoga philosophy explains that desire and greed is a result from the feeling of emptiness in life. The feeling of being ‘incomplete’ causes humans to take things from people or the world that they think may make them feel “complete”.
Aparigraha: This is the virtue of non-possessiveness, or non-greed. Aparigraha is the belief that having and buying things that are truly important or necessary. Important to note is that aparigraha does not mandate to get rid of all of the things we currently have, but rather rid our attachments to them.
Santosha: A beautiful belief to aim for contentment. Accepting who you are and what you have. This is the notion that we should appreciate what we have instead of continuously feeling like we need more.
To all the conscious yogis out there, thank you. Continue to spread your philosophies. Whether or not you are a yoga, simply thinking about where your purchases come from is a simple start. When buying your food ask yourself where it is coming from...especially things like produce. Do you want something in your body that has pesticides? Do you want to buy produce from overseas when you can buy fresh produce from a farm nearby?
When shopping for things, especially things that touch your body, think about what chemicals may have been used and are now touching your skin. Evaluate the price and try to imagine who made it and how much they might have been paid considering the cost of the item.
Buying organically grown produce and materials, fair trade certified goods and food, recycled, upcycled, and/or locally grown or made.
If you are not a yogi, this might be a good time to start a practice and connect with others who share your philosophy on ethical purchasing. And even for those of you who don’t do yoga and are not really interested in starting yoga, it is worth your while to learn about the virtues of yoga, the yamas and niyamas.
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