There is much to be said for what we do on our mat.
We know it goes well beyond the physicality of our practice in connecting us with our truest, sweetest being. Somehow, however, we often put up a block to what else we can be doing to strengthen the practice of yoga.
It’s not always about logging more hours on the mat, or getting more training.
Sometimes, the deeper practice comes from questioning everything that happens around our mat and off our mat. One of the first places to look, might even be the accessories of our practice—the products we use that are intended to heal us, lend to a deeper and more beneficial practice, but that may actually be doing the opposite.
This is how we can start to look at UnDieting our yoga practice.
To UnDiet is to questioning what we see around us and stop accepting it as normal because everyone else is doing it; we can undiet the way we eat, the way we work and our beauty care routine.
We can also UnDiet our yoga practice in five simple ways:
1. Ditch the bottled water.
There is no “away.” Let’s be clear. We are all part of this universe and now, unfortunately, so is every bit of plastic ever created. Plastic bottles of water create unnecessary waste, not to mention the BPA that leach from our bottles into our bodies and that disrupt hormones at trace levels. It is not about safe levels—there aren’t any. Drink 100% pure, clean water and do so from glass or stainless steel. Forgot your bottle before class? Get to know the tap or the water fountain. Disposable and/or recyclable plastic is no longer an option.
2. Those oils smell nice…sort of.
Everyone loves a good shoulder and neck massage in shivasana, or maybe a deep inhale of lavender or spruce to tickle the neurotransmitters into calming down. But are those oils truly healing? Most oils that you buy for about $10 a bottle are inedible—meaning they are not food grade, and are made of synthetic chemicals. If we wouldn’t throw it into our blender and make a smoothie with it, should we be rubbing it on our skin or inhaling it, allowing it to bypass our detoxification organs? Those cheap synthetic oils are best used to clean our floors—and that’s about it. Ensure your essential oils, whether as aromatherapy, or a cleaning agent are 100% food grade.
3. Post yoga fuel.
Energy bars sold in the health food store must be healthy, right? They are, after all, at the health food store. Look at the ingredient label: very few of these bars contain any whole, real food ingredients. If you wouldn’t buy each ingredient on its own, probably best to take a pass on it. Make your post yoga fuel real food—an apple and almond butter, a power smoothie, or home baked granola with nuts and dried fruit. There are loads of options, just try and stick to the ones that don’t come in cellophane wrappers.
4. The mat clean up.
Yoga mats will eventually start to deteriorate—that’s sort of inevitable. Sort of. This happens far more slowly if you take the time to clean down your mat after each practice and let it hang to dry. Eco mat or otherwise, you don’t want and shouldn’t have to replace your mat as often as you do. Make an eco-cleaner of water, tea tree essential oil, cinnamon essential oil and a little vinegar or lemon juice. Spritz your mat after every use, wipe it down and hang it to dry. Depending on how often you use your mat, you should likely shower it down once a week to once a month. Remember—there is no land called “away”—so we need to stop throwing things there.
5. What are you burning?
We love our candles. They bring an energy into the room, cast a warm glow and often lend a soft scent. Most of those candles, however, are totally and completely toxic. Most conventional candles are made of paraffin—the final by-product in the refining of petroleum. When we burn paraffin candles this carcinogenic substance becomes an inhalant—like secondhand smoke. Many candles also contain wicks with metal cores containing lead which is extremely dangerous when heated. And of course, those artificial fragrances and colors which are really one massive chemical cocktail. Instead, seek out fragrance free beeswax candles, and just let the beeswax and your food-grade essential oils do the aromatherapy.
Once we start to pay attention to the accessories that surround us during our practice, a time in our day when we are likely most present, we will also start to notice ways we can UnDiet, clean up and do better in other areas too.
As with yoga, UnDieting our lives is a practice, and one that is best started today.
Today is the day!
Meghan Telpner is a Toronto based nutritionista and sought after media personality thanks to her refreshingly humorous, engaging and real approach to healthy living. Her online cooking courses and health programs are improving the lives of people around the world. Meghan’s book UnDiet, Eat Your Way to Vibrant Health will be released North America wide in April, 2013. Join Meghan’s community on twitter @MeghanTelpner. For more visit MeghanTelpner.com.
Like elephant yoga on Facebook.
Ed: Bryonie Wise