My journey of breaking away from spandex and other synthetic fabrics while practicing yoga and in my day-to-day wardrobe has just begun. I first talked about my thoughts on this in my post “Do I Have to Wear Spandex?” I talk about being on a quest to find brands and second-hand yoga apparel (or unconventional yoga apparel) that is not made from spandex and it’s a tough task I will tell you.
The thing about spandex folks is that it is synthetic, made out of a material created from polymers called “Lycra.” It was first invented in 1959 by a couple of chemists who had created the “miracle” fabric. And for many years it was, until now that we are in an age just beginning to become aware of what exactly we are wearing and what the long term ramifications are.
When we wash clothes made from synthetic fibers, those fibers wash down the drain, end up in our waterways and into the oceans. Once in the ocean, the fish are eating these weird micro-deposits off of our lovely and stretchy yoga pants and then after all of that, we eat the fish! It’s a super bizarre cycle.
One of the most upsetting things is that it can be really hard to find clothing that is not made from synthetic fabrics. Not only are these fabrics harming our earth but there are now studies suggesting that the chemicals in these fibers are also cancer causing.
With that said, I find it is really interesting that the yoga industry is one of the largest supporters and advertising proprietors for spandex clothing. There is something out of alignment when doing the ancient practice of yoga that we are wearing clothing that can harm us and the earth. There is a word in Sanskrit—Ahimsa that means “non-harming or nonviolence.” Ideally, when we are practicing yoga, we should also be practicing these same principles in the clothing we choose to wear. Alternatively embracing the eco-friendly and ethically made ideals of a true yoga lifestyle.
Now, what can we do about it?
The best we can do is make better choices as consumers to buy clothing made from natural alternatives. I am, of course, a huge supporter of second-hand everything, this goes for yoga apparel as well. Even if the piece is made from synthetics, you can buy a Guppyfriend bag to put those pieces in. Also, buying second-hand means you are not supporting the manufacturing of new synthetic garments.
I am really excited to get to practice in this amazing bamboo jumpsuit by one of my favorite sustainable Los Angeles local brands. The bamboo is ultra soft and I feel freer wearing this piece when doing yoga compared to when I wear tight spandex.
There are a ton of companies out there that are aiming to create awesome yoga wear. Ripple is another brand I recently came across that I am really excited about. They are creating yoga apparel rooted in the foundations of yoga, with clothing made from natural fibers and eco-friendly materials. I also love that they are playing with new silhouettes—I am obsessed with their yoga jumpsuits!
Now all this said, this conversation is nuanced and I could go on and on, but I wanted to start the conversation here because I can assure you I will be continuing to explore it! Stay tuned :)