If you have been doing yoga for very long at all, you probably already have some favoured clothes for your routine. But most of us could use more – and anyway, clothes eventually wear out!
The next time you buy yoga wear, why not be friendly to the environment as well? Here are three ways you can by eco conscious fabric that makes for stylish, comfortable clothing.
Hemp Clothing for Yoga
Hemp has been in use as a clothing fabric for a very long time. Archaeologists have found examples of hemp clothing that are 10,000 years old!
Throughout history it has most commonly been used for “industrial” purposes such as sails, ropes, carrying-sacks, etc. The very first pair of Levi jeans was made out of hemp!
What most people don’t know is that hemp is capable of making more than just rope-braided jewelery and thick, knit-looking caps. Organic textile manufacturers can also create surprisingly soft and comfortable fabric out of it.
Hemp is also eco friendly for a number of different reasons. The long and short of it is that this natural fabric gives a high yield per acre – 2.5 times that of cotton – is biodegradable, and doesn’t deplete the soil.
Until recently, hemp was too rough to use in the kind of clothing you would want to wear in a yoga class. It was too thick and coarse, so that even loose fitting hemp clothes would scratch and chafe when put through normal yoga activity.
A process was developed in the mid-80’s that allowed hemp to be softened without being weakened. The result is a soft, natural fibre that is stronger than almost anything you can find.
Hemp holds its shape well and typically does not stretch out with use over time. Best of all for yoga usage, it is porous and airy, and wears moisture nicely.
There are plenty of retailers, online and off, that carry comfortable hemp clothing.
Bamboo is a great border for outside yoga space, whether it’s in a back yard or a yoga studio. What many people don’t know is that it can also make great, eco friendly fabric!
Like hemp, bamboo must be treated with enzymes in order to become soft enough to make comfortable clothing. And also like hemp, bamboo yields much more fabric per acre than low growing fibres like cotton and flax.
Bamboo is a breathable absorbent fabric. These two properties combine to form a fabric that soaks up your body’s moisture, yet dries out quickly.
Unlike cotton, bamboo doesn’t require anything in the way of pesticides or insecticides in order to grow. It’s a great vegan-friendly way to get silky sheen and softness without silk harvesting. Just be sure to check the manufacturer hasn’t treated it with chemicals before it goes on your body; you can ensure this by checking for Oeko-Tex certification. (Oeko-Tex provides standards used by textile manufacturers in 40 countries.)
What About Cotton?
Hemp and bamboo may be all well and good, but most of us still have a favourite cotton shirt, pair of pants, or other comfortable cotton item that we love to lounge around in. Can we buy more cotton products and still be eco friendly?
Of course we can! The key is in using organic, non-genetically modified (GMO) cotton.
In fact, to be certified organic, the cotton has to be grown on land that hasn’t seen the use of pesticides for at least three years. (Predatory insects and old techniques like trap-cropping are used for pest control instead.) This kind of fabric is ultimately easier on your skin, and is less likely to cause a rash or allergy in the case of an intense yoga session.
The benefits of organic cotton don’t just extend to your skin, however. Organic cotton farming produces less carbon, fewer greenhouse gases, and less waste water runoff than ordinary cotton farming. It also uses less water, fuel, and energy in general.
Be careful not to buy cotton that takes bleaches or unnatural dyes after it has been grown organically, though. Look for your organic cotton clothing in shades of tan, cream, light brown or light green. Or, you may occasionally find vegetable dyes in other colors (such as orange).
All in all, you really can’t go wrong by buying eco friendly fabrics for your yoga fashion. Not only is being eco friendly “in”; the clothes are stylish, comfortable, and you’ll feel great knowing you’re helping our environment!