Ahimsa, which translates from Sanskrit as “non-injury,” is a core tenant of yoga practice. Most of us would consider ourselves nonviolent people, without realizing that our aggression can manifest in subtle and cognitively dissonant ways. We see this through thoughts of guilt, shame, resentment, and disappointment—microcosms of the negative energy that we direct toward ourselves and those in our lives—as well as through the actual physical harm (however unintentional) that we endorse by using and consuming products that are the result of violence committed against other living beings.
Yoga encourages us to meet this inner darkness with compassion and without judgment, making it possible for us to use positive intention to transform this negativity into something good. Once the power of our thoughtful intention is realized, there’s no telling what we’re capable of. From someone whose life was changed and whose consciousness was strengthened by the practice of yoga, I couldn’t recommend it more highly!
Have you taken a yoga class yet? In the spirit of ahimsa, we’ve put together some of the best cruelty-free yoga apparel on the market for the experienced yogi and the newbie alike:
AZIAM Thousand Buddhas Art leggings are part of the company’s larger Wear Your Art Out collection featuring work by artists who donate a percentage of sales to a charity of their choice. The leggings featured here feel like a second skin and depict Buddhas who are resting on ornamental thrones of enlightenment, showing that they have compassion for those who suffer. And the best part? Twenty percent of proceeds will go directly toward PETA’s lifesaving work for animals.
PurEarth 2 Eco Mat has a medium thickness, which makes it great for a regular studio session or for practicing yoga while you travel, and it was created for double-sided use—we couldn’t ask for more.
Urban Outfitters’ Danskin Crossback Leotard is made of cotton and spandex, for breathability and flexibility, and it’s cute, too, which makes going to class that much easier.
The prAna Large Headband is a super-stretchy blend of recycled polyester and spandex that’s made ethically in the U.S. This band translates to post-class gatherings, too, channeling that inner yoga goddess in you throughout the day.
The Vedic Vaani Kusha Mat is a high-quality, hand-woven meditation mat made from Kusha grass, which is supposed to help a yogi maintain a peaceful state of mind while meditating. Cruel sheepskin mats are sometimes used in the Kundalini practice, but are not required. You might also trade in your mat for your health’s sake, as a recent incident shows that sheepskin rugs were linked to the lead poisoning of a child in Central Washington.
PETA’s Go Vegan Multilingual Unisex Sweatshirt encourages compassion in many languages. It’s perfect for throwing on after class, as you’re leaving the toasty haven of the yoga studio and going out into the “real world.”
Yoga apparel is all about function and comfort, and that goes for the shoes that get you to class, too. Sanuk’s Yoga Sling 2 slip-ons are made with stretch-knit fabric and material from actual yoga mats, making the skip to class basically the equivalent of walking on clouds.
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