Yoga is inherently conscientious, but while some studios teach ahimsa (non-violence) there are others that practice it all day every day on the environment.
So in honor of Earth Day, we rounded up seven of the coolest, most eco-chic yoga studios across the country. These diehards are doing more than just using a few eco-friendly cleaning products: they’ve consulted LEED-certified architects, have solar panels, and go totally paperless.
“Yoga isn’t just done on your mat, it’s also the choices you make in your daily life,” says Mary Strong-Sullivan, the founder of California’s The Green Yogi.
Here are some awesome studios where you can support yourself in Supta Baddha Konasana—and support the environment at the same time. —Molly Gallagher
When the The Green Yogi first landed its Manhattan Beach space, instead of going into demolition mode, founder Mary Strong-Sullivan left the walls and flooring intact to reduce waste—and used FSC-certified wood (which plants a tree for every tree cut down) and low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints in the renovation.
“Every time we make a decision, the environmental impact is considered,” says Strong-Sullivan. That means she doesn’t offer plastic and paper bags for in-studio purchases, the garden is filled with fake grass to ensure no water is wasted keeping it lush, and there’s a digital (AKA paper-free) check-in process.
(Photo: The Green Yogi)
Many yoga brands and studios operate on the cause-no-harm principles of yoga, but Modo Yoga (known in Canada as Moksha) has its own seven pillars that inform everything they do—one of which is to Live Green. “We try to have every single component go through a green checklist,” says Ted Grand, founder of Moksha Yoga International.
Every independently-owned studio follows guidelines like using energy efficient washers and dryers, installing environmentally friendly floor finishes, washing up with non-toxic cleaning supplies, and more. The studio in Burnaby, Vancouver, even used sustainable hempcrete (yup, a hemp plant concrete-like subtance) in construction of some of the walls.
(Photo: Modo Yoga)
At Flow Yoga Center, creating an eco-friendly environment has always been an important part of the mission. “Since our inception, our vision was to create a sustainable center and tread lightly,” says co-founder Debra Perlson-Mishalove
It worked. In 2009, Flow received the DC Mayor’s Award for Environmental Excellence in 2009 and has worked with a LEED-certified architect on renovations—taking advantage of the space’s natural light, replacing windows, and installing Energy Star ceiling fans and lights with timers. It’s also a paperless space, and you have to BYOB—bring your own (water) bottle.
(Photo: Flow Yoga Center)
Natural light streams into Nandi Yoga studio—and the sun’s rays hitting the solar panels attached to the roof are used to power the hot water, electricity, and water-and energy-saving appliances. In 2009, the studio was certified by the county’s award-winning Green Business Program. It’s only fitting. Owner Wendy Klein’s father used to work at the Environmental Protection Agency, so looking out for the environment is in her blood.
Jessica Molleur made going green part of her business plan when she first opened the yoga, Pilates, and holistic healing center in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. At Ombe, “green” has a deeper meaning: it stands for guest services, recycle, environment, energy conservation, and neighborhood: the pillars of the company.
And you can see that acronym in action on a daily basis—100 percent of Ombe’s purchased energy supports wind power, proceeds from the studio’s events are donated to local environmental charities, brochures are printed on recycled paper, and floor fans, space heaters, double-pane windows, and solar shades are used to reduce heat and AC use. Oh, and you can work out here, too.
This space in Raleigh, a member of the Green Yoga Association, used to be a creamery, so the studio director, Jill Sockman, likes to think of it as a recycled space.
Blue Lotus also incorporates glue-free cork flooring, chemical-free cleaning products, tons of natural light, and is conveniently located so it’s accessible by walking or public transportation for many of its yogis.
“How could we tell students to breathe deeply if we used VOC paints, toxic cleaning products, or had a flooring system held in place or finished with glue and varnish?” says Sockman. Fair point.
(Photo: Blue Lotus)
This brand new studio in Brooklyn wants to be a model for other small businesses.
The space is 100 percent paperless—waivers are filled out online and they’ll only email you your receipts. In addition, they use energy-efficient radiant heating ceiling panels, chemical-free cleaning and bath products, and all of the mats are from Manduka, meaning they’re made with biodegradable, non-Amazon harvested, natural tree rubber.
(Photo: Amy Finkel)