Once you’ve developed a regular yoga practice on the mat, it tends to naturally branch out to other areas of your life off the mat, as well. One of the many ways we can practice yoga is by living a more compassionate lifestyle. If you are ready to make a few little adjustments to your lifestyle and be eco-friendly, here are four easy suggestions.
Did you really think I wouldn’t put this at the top of the list? Even if just for one day (a la Meatless Monday), choosing not to consume animal products is the number one way to live more compassionately. Not only do you cease to support the consumption of animals who are tortured and suffer every day on factory farms or in slaughterhouses, but going vegetarian/vegan can have a huge impact on your health and the environment – think reduced risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, as well as reduced water usage and carbon footprint! As you see, it even makes sense to be eco-friendly from a medical stand point.
I’m just going to go ahead and assume you’re already recycling, but our landfills are still closing in on full capacity and there’s a huge island of garbage floating around in the Pacific Ocean. Clearly, trash is a big problem. Unfortunately, a large portion of what we throw away is actually organic material that could have been composted instead. I’m talking almost 30% of the items we blindly toss in the trash could be returned to the earth to enrich the soil. Composting isn’t that complicated and if you’re lucky enough to live in an area that has a composting program, it’s even easier! Check out your local government’s website and see if any programs are in place. All you may need to do is collect your food scraps in a pale you can leave outside and bring it by a local farmers market or collection facility. If not, there are a lot of great resources online with step-by-step instructions on how to compost at home.
Not only does buying local food mean fresher, more delicious and nutritious meals for you and your family, but it also means less energy used for transportation and less trash because there’s no need for packaging! Plus, you’re supporting a rare breed of individuals who work hard every day to produce wholesome, quality food, as opposed to big agriculture. Buying directly from local farmers or at a farmers market helps the environment and supports those who run small farms that are making a difference.
From clothing to beauty products, it can be easy to overlook the cruelty that went into producing a product. Avoiding fur, leather, wool, and other animal skins and furs is the most obvious way to go, but we may have to look a bit deeper when it comes to our favorite household products. I understand well the connection we have to our go-to soaps and night creams, but there’s a great selection of brands out there that make amazing products and don’t test on animals. Next time you’re in the market for a new moisturizer, look for a brand that’s cruelty-free and doesn’t conduct animal testing. You’ll be eco-friendly while making a compassionate purchase that, when combined with other shoppers, sends a very strong message to the industry about what customers want. You might want to check out this article about cruelty-free fashion brands I wrote.
Living more compassionately is a lifestyle change. It takes active decision making everyday. With time, however, it becomes less and less something you need to stop and think about and more something that just comes naturally. Give it a shot!