I have another confession. I’ve been attending a yoga studio here in Dallas since April. It’s not something I thought I would ever do, mainly because of the price tag, but three months later, I’m hooked. It started out as a way to clear my head from the constant stream of endless thoughts, to-do lists and barrage of life goals, and has turned into a thousand benefits. Physically, my body has changed, my life goals have changed, and I feel more connected to the environment. Turns out, I’m not the only one.
About 36.7 million Americans (about 15 percent of the U.S. adults) practice yoga in the U.S., and in Texas there are about .24 yoga studios per 10,000 people. In Dallas there are countless yoga studios to choose from — many focusing on a specialty Bikram yoga, hot yoga, power yoga and every other variation! And it’s not just women — there are 10 million men practicing yoga in the U.S., up from 4 million in 2012. The studios are packed with diversity from all walks of life.
And many fellow yogis have a connection to the Earth that extends beyond their yoga practice to every day decisions. According to the Yoga Alliance, 50 percent of yogis say they live green, eat sustainably and donate time to their community. The report also says that people who practice yoga are twice as likely to buy organic food.
So what makes yogis want to do well for the environment? In classes the teacher guides you through different poses while focusing on your breathing, reminding you throughout to connect to your breath. One way to connect to your breath is by breaking it down and thinking about taking in oxygen from Earth, given to you from the process of photosynthesis in plants. Each inhale is part of an ecologic cycle. With every pose your body must have at least some parts connected to the mat and therefore Earth. This connection is deeper when you do yoga outside because you are taking in the natural beauty, the fresh air and connecting directly to the ground. There are several options around town for outdoor yoga — try the rooftop at HG Supply and Klyde Warren Park on weekend mornings for a cityscape outdoor yoga or your own backyard!
It all sounds a bit funny, but if you share the racing mind trait, you’ll benefit from losing your mind for an hour. Stabilizing through every pose and pushing yourself, gives you a break from your head and a time to refocus. Recently my teacher said, “Leave this room and go out and do good in the world.” The little quip has stayed with me and I find myself reminding myself to do good things for the world I live in. Our world currently yearns for love.
The trick with yoga is to not get too sucked into the commercialism of it, otherwise, you’re defeating the purpose of the simplicity of practice. The same Yoga Alliance report found yoga practitioners report spending more than $16 billion on yoga clothing, equipment, classes and accessories in the last year. That’s a big industry using a lot of natural resources. It’s hard not to love your fellow yogi’s outfits and get caught up in buying more clothes you don’t need. Not to mention the water bottles, foam rollers, yoga blocks, mats, towels, straps, bags and yoga wheels. There’s always a new accessory to try out. Luckily, many companies cater to the yoga ecofriendly atmosphere and have organic and sustainable options. Make sure to choose your products carefully.
The best part about yoga is you can do it anywhere at any time, anyone can do it and you don’t even need shoes! Download one of the free yoga apps and get started today. You will improve your body, quiet your mind and over time connect to the Earth and make sustainable decisions. Win, win, win!
As seen in the Katy Trail Weekly.
PS: If you’re wondering what studio I attend it’s Sunstone Fit. They have a variety of classes and locations all over the DFW metroplex. The teachers are fantastic and the atmosphere is perfect – I’d highly recommend giving it a try! Your first class is free.
PPS: I have been posting my yoga progression on my Instagram – follow the often humorous journey to handstand presses!