Sweet Peace’s Green Choices Inspire Students to Take Yoga off the Mat
By Linsey Stevens
Many of us think of our yoga practices as beginning when we unfurl our mats and take a few intentionally deep breaths before moving into cat–cow. That said, regardless of where we live or what brought us to yoga in the first place, the deeper we delve into our practices, the more evident the importance of ahimsa, or nonviolence – one of yoga’s five yamas, or principles – becomes.
Some of us learn to exercise ahimsa in how we treat our bodies on the mat: finally resisting the urge to compete with ourselves or others by pushing too far into a bend or fold, surrendering to the joy of what we’re capable of in the here and now instead. For others, ahimsa is responding to ourselves and others with love and acceptance rather than frustration when we miss a class or workout we had every intention of attending.
Many yogis in both the East and the West believe genuine yoga is impossible without ahimsa. Some choose to eat lower on the food chain, refraining from consuming meat, which not only spares animals’ lives, but also places less strain on the environment. Ahimsa off the mat can assume many other forms as well. I spoke to Liz Roodman, E-RYT 200 and owner of Sweet Peace Yoga where I practice in Kirkwood, about how her studio is encouraging ahimsa around the clock.
Bidding Plastic Bottles Adieu
“We’ve been rethinking water bottles,” Liz shares. “Sweet Peace is located in a historic house and we thought it was convenient to supply plastic water bottles and set out a recycle bin. However, the percentage of bottles that still make their way into landfills is frightening. Now after some minor plumbing hookups into the existing supply, a water cooler was installed. Yogis can either bring their own insulated aluminum water bottles or buy one of ours.” One of my favorite things about the new water cooler: It’s getting Sweet Peace students out on the studio’s adorable sun porch, which is the perfect segue from encouraging ahimsa to fostering community.
Leveraging Paperless Check-in
Last December, Sweet Peace traded in its old-school paper sign-in for a wifi-enabled check-in tablet. According to Liz, this reduces the waste of over 25 sheets of paper a week, or 1300 sheets a year. The kiosk makes the most of MINDBODY’s yoga software and check-in is now a playful, interactive process.
Clean and Green
The thoughtful touches at Sweet Peace aren’t limited to check-in or the sun porch. Need to borrow a yoga mat? Great. You can clean it off with eco-friendly mat spray and a reusable terry cloth after class. Toss the cloth in the miniature wicker laundry hamper and it’ll be clean and back in action in two days.
Prefer not to use paper towels in the bathroom? Not a problem: Liz rotates a collection of cotton tea towels for those who prefer to avoid disposable paper products. Sweet Peace also carries mats from JadeYoga, which is run by an ecoconscious former EPA lawyer and plants a tree for every mat sold.
Some of my favorite finds for going green and living my yoga practice: Blue Q’s reusable shopping bags, PuraVegan’s sprout lover tacos, and @revelatori affirmations, available 24/7 on Instagram. You can also find me practicing on and off the mat at Sweet Peace and, on certain Saturdays, the meditations at the Pulitzer.
Linsey Stevens is an editor who works full time for HealthyWay Media, a Saint Louis–based women’s wellness and lifestyle health and wellness brand. She is trained in teaching English as a second language and spent the beginning of her career working with refugees in public education and social service. She also collaborates with and edits for Erick French, LCSW, author and illustrator of Iphelia: Awakening the Gift of Feeling.
Sweet Peace Yoga
142 W Monroe Ave.
Kirkwood, MO 63122
Featured Photo by Shauna Nicole – Natural Portrait Photography