Green Your Hot Yoga Practice

I’m a hot yoga enthusiast. It’s transformed my life in endless positive ways. But practicing hot yoga has always brought on a bit of enviro-guilt. Lots water used when I do laundry, energy to heat the yoga studio and more. Here are few simple ways I’ve made my yoga practice a little more “green”.

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Invest in re-usable bags to bring home wet clothes

Skip those wasteful single use plastic bags! I’ve found two things work well to avoid unnecessary plastic waste: you can buy washable and reusable bags for your yoga outfit. And you can use an old, large IKEA bag to transport your yoga gear to and from class. I’ve been using the same IKEA bag for years, it’s sturdy, washable and can easily transport a wet towel, mat and outfit.

Use cold water to wash your gear

I wash my Breathe Mat (a towel & mat in one) which requires doing laundry every time I practice. By using cold water you can significantly reduce your energy consumption associated with doing extra laundry. Heating hot water is one of the largest sources of energy use in the average American home. Check out my recommendations for environmentally-friendly laundry detergents HERE.

Invest in an eco-friendly mat

For hardwood floors:

If you practice in a place that has hardwood floors, you’ll want a mat that grips the floor. Many traditional yoga mats are made of toxic plastic like PVC (off-gassing anyone?), which are toxic throughout their whole lifecycle.  There are brands that use safer materials like Think Sport which uses TPE material, free of phthalates and other nasty chemicals.

For Bikram/hot yoga:

If you practice in a studio that uses rubber, microfiber or carpet, I highly suggest Breathe Mats (with Rabbit flap). These are towel/mat combos and are much more sanitary for a hot yoga practice. Fabric is the safest material and allows you to avoid purchasing a toxic PVC-laden mat. This mat is really good at capturing the sweat (not letting too much leak onto the yoga floor). Your yoga studio owner will be grateful if you buy one of these because it helps decrease the “yoga funk” in a hot yoga room and keeps the floor more sanitary. Best part of using this mat is it doesn’t slip around during your practice, keeping your towel and mat clearly intact.

Now I’m just waiting on Breathe to make a mat that has grips on the bottom so people who practice heated flow yoga on wooden floors can use this incredible yoga mat!

Bring a small hand towel to dry off your body

This has been a life saver! When I was practicing in Washington D.C. I noticed a woman who brought a hand towel to dry herself off, instead of a large body towel. Since making this switch I have drastically cut down on the laundry I need to do, water I use and the weight of things I needed to schelp around town. If you practice in an urban area and take public transportation home or ride you’re bike, you know what I mean! The hand towel can still be wrapped around my hair to dry it off once I’ve toweled off my body.

Use a stainless steel water bottle

Single use plastic water bottles are one of the largest sources of waste, polluting our bodies, waterways and oceans. Just like ditching the plastic bag tip I suggest above, invest in a high quality stainless steel water bottle. My favorite brand is Hydro Flask which has the best insulation out of any water bottle I’ve ever used. It keeps water really cold (or tea very hot) for hours on end. You can buy a Hydro Flask bottle here. I prefer the 18 ounce bottle since it fits in the drink holder in my car, and prevents me from guzzling water during my practice!

Encourage your studio owner to buy renewable energy credits

My friends who run and own the Bikram Yoga Minneapolis studio offset their energy costs with 100% renewable energy. Encourage your studio owner to adopt a similar policy.

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5 Responses to Green Your Hot Yoga Practice

  1. Lori Popkewitz Alper July 20, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

    I’ve been doing more hot yoga lately and haven’t found the perfect mat combination. Right now I’m using a Kulae Mat with a large towel overlay with grips so I don’t slide everywhere. I also bring a small hand towel. I’ll have to check out your suggestions. Thanks Lindsay.

    • Lindsay Dahl July 21, 2014 at 4:35 am #

      An eco friendly mat with a grippy towel is a great hybrid approach, if your studio has a floor that has any sort of grip however, I’d go for the Breathe mat!

  2. Jessica July 23, 2014 at 5:36 am #

    Hi Lindsay, thank you very much for taking a step towards protecting the environment. I am a big Hot Yoga fan as well and I have already been implementing a lot of these tips in my Yoga practice already. Thanks again for sharing these tips.

    • Lindsay Dahl July 23, 2014 at 7:54 am #

      Thanks Jessica, glad to be connected!

  3. Tina July 23, 2015 at 6:00 am #

    I love the breathe mats! I sell them and I personally have 3! But I found a new love and its call a WAY mat!


    This mat has the grip on the back like you mentioned in a post! I hope you get the chance to try:)

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