Every day, studio owners across the country strive to make ecologically responsible decisions and share those practices with their staff and students. The practice of yoga and “going green” often go hand-in-hand. Here, Christine Orient, the owner of Modo Yoga in Las Vegas, talks about her studio’s best practices for a better environment, and shares how other studios can aim to follow suit.
MSM: Is it important for yoga studios to be eco-friendly? Why or why not?
CO: I think it’s important for any business that has a community reach to be eco-friendly. We have an opportunity to spread a message to everyone who walks in the door. Sometimes we share the message verbally, but it’s also important to spread the message by example — using alternative transportation, not using disposable coffee cups or water bottles, and living our principles for people to see.
MS: How can studios work to become more eco-friendly?
CO: It’s actually quite simple. Start with disposables — get rid of them. No plastic bottles, no paper towels and no baggies for wet clothes in the locker rooms. Invest in a really nice water filter or cooler and encourage people to bring their own bottles, or sell compostable plastic — but educate customers on composting so that it works. We have a place in the locker room for people to bring in their plastic bags from home or for others to take for sweaty clothes. Use reusable cleaning mitts, microfiber cloths and mops. You will save money in the long run.
Invest in green cleaning products — no Clorox Green Works, but actual green companies, like Benefect. These can be expensive, so some studios have ionization systems that convert water into a cleaning agent. We use Benefect, Dr. Bronner’s and Seventh Generation products. Understand that being eco-friendly reaches outside of the studio walls and offer free mat and towel rental to people who ride bikes to class instead of drive.
MS: What is your studio doing to lower its carbon footprint?
CO: We don’t use paper except when necessary. Our records and student profiles are all online. We primarily advertise electronically, never using fliers or mass mailers. When we do print out promotional material, we only print what we need and we repurpose what is left over. Recycling is ok, but reducing is way better.
Since we have hot yoga and we need to heat the room, we offset our carbon footprint by making donations to sustainable energy companies such as Bullfrog Power. We use Amazon to order supplies, so we have our Smile Amazon account set up to make a donation to the Surfrider Foundation every time we make a purchase.
MS: Is it expensive to maintain an eco-friendly environment?
CO: Truly green cleaning supplies are costly, but you have to look at the big picture — what is the cost on our health in the long run if we use cheap chemicals? Besides that, it’s actually much less expensive to reduce what you use, and to reuse things when you can.