Hidden Toxic Secrets: Yoga and Activewear
At Rêve En Vert we are passionate about becoming more educated ourselves in order to do better for our planet, our bodies, and for our communities and we always want to share everything that we learn with our audience. In our new Hidden Toxic Secrets series (#REVDetox) we will delve into the various hidden toxins in our lifestyles that we may not already know about. Very much driven by listening to the inspiring Zach Bush, MD, we start this series off with an in depth look at the yoga and activewear industry.
An Introduction to #REVDetox
In our new Hidden Toxic Secrets series (#REVDetox) that will delve into the various hidden toxins in our lifestyles, we will be deep diving into the facts of different industries and products which have harsh realities for our bodies and our earth that we may not know about. At Rêve En Vert we are passionate about becoming more educated ourselves in order to do better for our planet, our bodies, and for our communities and we always want to share everything that we learn with our audience.
We know that it is hard to face some facts, so in this new series, we will be not only providing you with the truths but also better, safer, and more sustainable options so you can feel proactive about your choices if you feel compelled to make change. Today we launch with something that we all think of as being incredibly good for us and that we at REV all practice – yoga. Yoga alone is a wonderful tool for relaxation and fitness, but the accessories that have been produced to go along with it in our modern times are full of toxins and microplastics we had no idea about. Until now! Read more below.
“Even yoga, one of the healthiest, most important spiritual experiences on the planet, I’m fascinated that we have turned that into an unhealthy experience.”
Zach Bush, MD
Yoga & Activewear
One of the perks of working with like-minded people is the fantastic thought-provoking conversations we have. When our Co-founder and CEO, Cora Hilts, sent out a specific moment in Sophia Bush’s conversation with Dr. Zach Bush from her podcast, ‘Work in Progress’ that she was listening to and wanted to share with the team, we were all instantly inspired and knew we had to talk about a point he made. “We can take any industry and make it toxic”, Dr. Bush says, “even something like yoga, which is such spiritual and healthy practice.” But as Zach Bush points out, hidden toxins are entering our body daily through processes most of us would never even consider [Work In Progress].
I never would have thought that my yoga practice was causing my body to absorb toxic chemicals and microplastics. Yoga is so wonderful for the body and the mind and is something that the entire REV team partakes in. But did you know that most workout gear (yoga mats, blocks, activewear) is made out of plastics and toxic chemicals? I didn’t either until pretty recently and it made me rethink the benefits of working out without considering the wider picture of what I am working out in and on.
Everything we wear or apply gets absorbed into the body and then our bloodstream.
The Hard Truth
As our skin is our largest organ and the most permeable, it is incredibly important to be careful with everything we put onto it. Thanks to our pores (which expand when we sweat), everything we wear or apply gets absorbed into the body and then our bloodstream. Over 8,000 synthetic chemicals are being used in the fashion industry today [Common Objective] and plastic makes up over 60% of the materials that are used to make our clothing [UN Environment]. I’m sure you’ll recognize some of these plastic materials – lycra, nylon, acrylic, polyamide, and polyester. They make up the majority of our workout clothes and when we wear them and wash them, dangerous microplastics are released. Microplastics are as thin as a strand of hair, so they have no trouble getting absorbed into our bloodstream or passed into our waterways, and eventually back into our drinking water and the fish we eat [Friends Of The Earth]. These plastics contain incredibly dangerous chemicals. For example, the anti-odor chemical, nanoparticle silver, which is known to cause hormone issues and DNA damage and Triclosan, which has been linked to different cancers [ReMake]. These small plastic pieces are truly poisonous, for us and our Earth.
When we sweat, our pores open up even further, making it even easier for these chemicals and microplastics to enter our bloodstream. In addition to clothing, conventional yoga mats are incredibly toxic as well. Most yoga mats are made from plastic, specifically PVC [I Read Labels For You]. The main ingredient in PVC is vinyl chloride, which is a human carcinogen. To make things even worse, phthalates have to be added to PVC to make it into a flexible material, which is a polluting process. Phthalates are known to cause breast cancer, reproductive issues, asthma, and more [BCPP]. So when you’re lying on your mat, sweating, and trying to enjoy a meditative moment, sadly these chemicals are entering your pores.
Alternatives - Organic Cotton Activewear
Don’t worry, it’s not all bad news! There are non-toxic options that are good for you and the planet. Indigo Luna is my all-time favourite when it comes to yoga and workout clothing. All of their pieces are made from certified organic cotton, so there are no harmful pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers in the material for your body to absorb. Plus, all of their clothing and underwear is hand dyed with eco-friendly and plant-based dyes. Indigo Luna is made in a women-run, family-run factory, where everyone is treated with the respect all workers deserve – paid above living wage, given healthcare, and they work in totally safe and comfortable conditions. There is also Seela Studio, which have all plant based fabrics made from OEKO-TEX certified castor bean plants. This is biodegradable, breathable, vegan and has a strong fit like you may be used to in other activewear brands that use synthetics.
Natural Yoga Mats
When it comes to the best eco yoga gear, look no further than Complete Unity Yoga. Firstly, their yoga mats are part of my morning ritual, where I do my daily stretches. They are made from completely natural and biodegradable materials. Specifically, natural jute fiber, which is encased with 100% natural rubber enabling a strong grip for a smooth flow.
Biodegradable Cork Yoga Accessories
Modern Exercise Goods‘ cork yoga and Pilates equipment are incredible alternatives to the usual plastic blocks and rollers. The biodegradable cork yoga block is wonderful for supporting your practice or assisting in stretches. The cork massage ball and cork roller are also biodegradable and tools everyone needs to help soothe and massage sore muscles.
A Word To Conclude
These facts can be alarming. It is hard to digest that these plastic and chemically treated materials are even allowed on the market, when they have been proven to cause chronic illnesses in humans, death in animals, and pollution to our soil, waterways, and air. When we decide to consume, it is vital to educate ourselves and think hard before every purchase. Not just for our own sake, but for the planet’s sake too as it really is all connected.
Healthy humans, healthy earth. Healthy earth, healthy humans.
Taylor, Beauty and Wellness Editor
Micro-plastics: Micro-plastics are released from plastic materials and fabrics, from clothing to carpets to dish rags. Microplastics come from a variety of sources, including from larger plastic debris that degrades into smaller and smaller pieces. “These tiny particles easily pass through water filtration systems and end up in the ocean and Great Lakes, posing a potential threat to aquatic life.” [Ocean Service]
Plastic Materials: Lycra, nylon, acrylic, polyamide, and polyester are all common plastics that are clothing is made from. They are responsible for releasing micro-plastics and are heavy pollutants as well.