Why yogis should use reusable water bottles.
Yoga comes from the root Sanskrit word for yoke, which means to connect. This means connecting the different aspects of your being; your mind, body and spirit and connecting with your own nature, the nature of other people and of mother earth. Unless you care about the nature within you, it is unlikely you will care much for the nature around you.
The path of yoga is one of mindful awareness; awareness of your sensations, emotions and thinking patterns. Mindfulness leads to considered decisions in life and a greater understanding of the results and implications of those decisions.
Both the Yoga Sutras and Buddhist texts talk about the problem of ignorance and how it causes us to see without clarity or truth. It can only be with ignorance that people continue to regularly purchase bottled water.
In Western cities where clean drinking water is available on tap everywhere there is no need to regularly purchase bottled water. Those of us over thirty-five will remember life quite clearly without bottled water – it simply was not a part of growing up and we survived OK.
In the past twenty-years we have been marketed to and brainwashed by some of the largest profit making corporations in the world that drinking packaged water is a necessity, healthier and the cause of long life – yogis know better! The motives of these multi-nationals are not to look after planet earth, but to make as much money for their shareholders as possible. Yogis have the ability to clear their veil of ignorance and see past this marketing for what the truth really is, we don’t need to be buying bottled water all the time.
Why is bottled water so bad? Because it is environmentally harmful AND unnecessary. Lots of packaged things are equally environmentally harmful but they don’t get sold in such huge amounts and they aren’t otherwise easily available on tap.
According to Australian Conversation Foundation research, each litre of bottled water uses 250ml of valuable fossil fuels and 3-5 litres of water to produce. (ACF cited 2010 July 7). Wasteful it is. Then there is the huge energy cost to move bottled water around on trucks. The majority of the money paid for bottled water is wasted on packaging, transport, marketing and shareholder profit – not a great way to spend your hard earned cash.
Then there is of course what happens to your bottle if it is thrown away after one use. Sure, a lot ends up in recycling but recycling is not the answer, it still takes a huge amount of energy to collect, recycle and redistribute, and lots of bottles end up elsewhere, particularly the pacific ocean where there is currently the Great Pacific Garbage Patch which contains billions of bits of plastic covering maybe thousands of miles. There is huge quantities of scientific evidence showing large percentages of marine animals are being found with tiny bits of plastic in their guts causing illness and death.
As a rich and highly developed country with amazing infrastructure it is up to us to set a global example of where the world should be heading – and using single use packaged water is not the right direction. It is not healthier, it is not cheaper and it is not good for mother earth.
A yoga practice should create self-awareness and mindfulness of all ones actions. The veil of ignorance should slowly dissolve creating clarity in ones actions. Yogis need to set the standard within the community and demonstrate their mindfulness by planning their water needs and carrying a water bottle where ever they go. If the yogis can’t care for mother earth the rest of the population has no chance.
We are asking yoga schools to sell high quality reusable water bottles and ensure ample supply of tap water, filtered or not. We are calling for yoga students to always carry a reusable water bottle to yoga and to ask their yoga schools to stop promoting packaged water but to supply tap water instead. Together, yogis can lead the way in society and promote peace with mother nature and consciousness in all we do.