The Conscious Shopping Guide to Yoga Mats: The Yoga Business vs. Yogic Business
Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room. (No, it’s not Ganesha, although we may call upon him as the remover of obstacles to help us along.) We’re talking about the fact that we, at Liforme, make something and sell it. We make the world’s best yoga mat (objectively speaking) and we want to sell it to you. So naturally it’s in our interest not to come down too hard on consumerism, right?
Well, actually, wrong. Consumerism is the acquisition of goods just for the sake of the acquiring or because society is telling us that we have to have more stuff to feel successful and secure. But even though our business is selling goods (actually, good mats), we’re not down with that. We want to sell mats to people who need them for the purpose of elevating their yoga experience.
You could argue that you don’t ‘need’ any mat at all, but doing many yoga poses on the bare floor just doesn’t work for most people. You could argue that you should just buy the cheapest mat possible and throw it ‘away’ (where is this ‘away’, exactly?) when you’re done with it, but that’s not an eco-friendly way to live. So what we’d like to encourage is a conscious approach to shopping.
Let us elaborate:
• Buy what you need.
• Buy from companies with transparent ethical practices and environmental responsibility built into their business models.
• Buy quality goods that are well-designed and suited to their purpose.
This approach works for deciding how to best spend your hard-earned cash in any number of situations. Let’s see what it looks like when it’s applied to yoga mats.
Buy What You Need
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Do you need a new yoga mat? If you’re new to yoga, the answer is yes. If your current mat is worn through, also yes. If your current mat doesn’t meet the needs of your practice (maybe it’s slippery, too narrow, or doesn’t give you enough cushioning), yes again.
So now that you’re buying a new mat, we’d like to encourage you to make an informed choice about what works for your practice and doesn’t harm the planet in the process. It’s easy to assume that because yoga is associated with hippies and feelings that all yoga products are naturally earth- and people- friendly. But we’re sorry to say that is too often not the case.
As yoga popularity has grown, so have the opportunities for unscrupulous businesses looking to cash-in. A mat with the Earth printed on it isn’t an indication of anything. You have to go beneath the surface of the marketing to make sure even yoga products align with your values. Once more people start to prioritise ethical businesses when they are shopping, the paradigm will start to shift. At Liforme, we wear our principles on our sleeve, proudly partnering with charities that further our core values: environmentalism, social justice, and animal welfare.
Buy Quality and Good Design
Our relationship to spending money is a complicated and weirdly taboo subject considering how integral it is to our culture. Most of us like to feel we’ve gotten a bargain on some things, while at the same time feeling like it’s ok to ‘splurge’ on others.
The truth is, quality products cost more. Products made with integrity cost even more still. We all know that cheap materials and cheap labour make for cheap products that we all pay for in terms of environmental and humanitarian costs. When you pay more to get something well-made, you get more and you also give more. When you pay more for a yoga mat, you get a better mat with impeccable ecological credentials that won’t linger unnecessarily in landfills (also known as ‘away’) for centuries to come.
And don’t underestimate the value of owning something that is well-designed, pleasing to use, and ideally suited to its purpose. If you do a lot of yoga (and we hope you do), you’ll be spending a lot of close personal time in full body contact with your mat. When your mat supports you with the perfect balance of firm cushioning, fantastic grip, and intuitive alignment guidance, it improves your practice experience immeasurably. And if you should want to share that joy with your family and friends, well, we won’t try and stop you. Consider those obstacles removed.