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The Yoke of Yoga



Prior to ecofabulous (and motherhood), I was so enthralled with yoga, I became a certified instructor and started my own line of gear.

Far from a simple exercise workout, yoga, which means "yoke" or "union," has deep green roots. Its ethos includes "ahimsa," which is a pledge of nonviolence toward the planet. Easy to see how this downward dog applies to the goal of sustainability. To revere the earth, as yoga advises, start by visiting the Green Yoga Association to find a teacher committed to eco-friendly practices.

Next, take a look (or a sniff ) of your mat: It could be made from our infamous foe, PVC (polyvinyl chloride), a highly toxic plastic that spews carcinogenic dioxins during its manufacture. The additives found in many yoga mats hardly honor the spirit of ahimsa. There are eco-friendly exceptions, however.

Natural Fitness is one of our favorite, one-stop-shops for hip, green yoga gear. The Divine Mat, made from natural rubber, is extra thick and offers serious traction. They also have a strap made from undyed hemp with recycled cotton batting as well as a chic-looking block crafted from fast-growing bamboo instead of usual toxic foam. For keeping clean, they sell natural Stirlen Chi wipes and spray. If you're ready to zen out at home, check out Gaiam's extensive collection of yoga DVDs from some of the world's most renowned instructors.

Now, if only my husband would take to yoga the same way he did to Entourage!