Working fulltime in brand and communications strategy, I’ve seen a sharp increase in brands promoting sustainable practices: from food & beverage to fashion and cars, recycled materials, clean energy and innovative production processes go a long way to reassure consumers that industries are trying to secure a better, more sustainable way of life for us all.
I’m sure most readers will have seen Netflix’s “Tidying up With Marie Kondo” - a series I consider the next logical step in commercialising sustainable living: mindfulness. A move from the outward, material expression of sustainability to the inward and spiritual.
Kondo’s Shinto-inspired method of tidying up is not just a process, it’s actually a lifestyle choice, based upon the key question “what sparks joy?”.
I’ve been exercising the method throughout my home for 2 months and now everything has that question mark hanging over it: “Does this spark joy?”. When the answer is “No” then it gets scary and I start to realise how much of what I own isn’t that joyful. The method is creeping into areas like digital exposure, personal relationships - and of course my yoga practice.
As an avid practitioner and teacher - I’ve had many days when, honestly, my practice I went on autopilot. Some sequences I have practised for many years, and my mind and heart don’t engage with them in the same way any longer. The awful question comes to mind - do they spark joy... are they a sustainable way to practice... are they planting the seed for long-term satisfaction, sustenance and development?
When approached to write this article my first thought was to write about buying fewer yoga tights, or using sustainable mats - but the real issue goes much deeper as to how we approach our practice and what we bring to the mat.
Maybe try to “Marie Kondo” your practice? Look at your weekly schedule and without hesitation, you’ll know which classes you look forward to - which spark joy - versus the ones about which you’re thinking "meh...".
For a week or two, try to craft your yogic experience differently, with an eye on what feels meaningful and fulfilling, both on and off the mat. Ultimately sustainability is an inside job: a move toward a completely different way of thinking and behaving that roots out what is valuable and has longevity, versus what is a short-term fascination - try it and see.
On the theme of sparking joy and sustainable practices, join me for a special Earth Day Yin Yoga class on Saturday, 30 March at 5pm. The asana practice will be dedicated to the Earth which is the ultimate joyful resource, and I hope that the simple, grounding nature of this 90 minutes class could ignite thoughts on how you can plant seeds for your sustainable practice.
By Floydd Wood