Many of yoga's teachings point to the importance of leaving a light footprint on the Earth. For example, the yama known as ahimsa (non-harm or compassion) can be applied to other people, ourselves, or to anything in our natural environment.
Asteya is another yama that translates to non-stealing. We can also apply this teaching to our relationship with Mother Earth; for example, by wasting precious resources, aren't we stealing from the environment and from our children's futures?
If creating a more eco-friendly home is part of your yoga journey, read on for five easy ways to get started.
1. Get Energy Efficient
When my spouse and I purchased our home over ten years ago, it was not very energy-efficient. Over the years, we've made small but important changes like replacing old windows to increase our energy efficiency. Another simple home update is to place weather stripping at the base of your outside doors to prevent heat loss.
There are lots of state and federal programs that offer tax rebates or financing to encourage home owners to make energy efficient updates. Visit http://www.energy.gov for more details.
2. Be Mindful of Lights
In the midst of the morning rush, you head out of the house quickly, only realizing when you get home later that day that you've left several lights on. While the amount of electricity that you've wasted isn't huge, it does add up. Imagine if ALL DYY readers became more mindful of turning off unused lights: together we could make a BIG impact.
Make turning off all your lights a part of your mindful morning routine. If you have children, enlist them in this operation. I've found that my son loves being given the job of turning off all of the lights before we leave for school.
Bonus: invest in energy saving lightbulbs to further reduce your electricity footprint.
3. Watch the Water
Do you know how many gallons of water you used yesterday? Experts estimate that the average American uses about seventy gallons of water each day!
Yogis can approach our water usage just like we do our breathing practices. Begin by noticing. Starting tomorrow, bring your water usage into your awareness. Do you leave the faucet running while you brush your teeth? Try timing your shower. Do you have an automatic sprinkler set up to water your garden, even on rainy days?
You'll be amazed how easy it is to begin making positive changes just by becoming more aware. As our breath naturally deepens when we bring our attention to it, our daily habits can change through the power of noticing.
4. Commit to Cold
I don't know about you, but I almost always wash my clothes on the cold setting, mostly because I don't separate whites and colors and it seems like cold water washes prevent colors from running. Little did I know that washing clothes on cold is also more energy efficient.
Unless there's a compelling reason for using hot water (e.g. illness), use the cold cycle instead to save tons of energy. Another way to improve your laundry efficiency is to consider wearing certain items like jeans a few times before washing.
5. Remember Those Bags!
True confession time: I have a serious mental block about remembering to bring my reusable grocery bags to the store with me. Each time I arrive at the store and the cashier asks me if I have any of my own bags, I hang my head in shame.
Think of how many visits we will make to the grocery store this year. I tend to go about once per week so that's 52 times per year. When I forget my bags, I probably use at least ten plastic bags to carry my items home. I plan on living another sixty years or so. That means I'm potentially going to use over thirty thousand plastic bags in my lifetime if I don't start remembering my reusable bags.
That's a huge waste for which I have no excuse. Who wants to join me in making a firm commitment to remember our reusable bags?
These five small changes have the potential to make a huge impact if practiced on a regular basis. Want to build some accountability behind making your home more eco-friendly? Share this post on your social media account and ask your friends to join you in implementing one or more of these tips. By sharing your victories and challenges with others, you'll be more likely to stick with these positive changes.
What are some other ways or practices that you do to make your home more eco-friendly?
Image credit: Andrea Taylor