Bringing Yoga to my Closet

Bringing Yoga to my Closet
Being well-dressed is important to a great many of us, and to that end we shop for clothing incessantly. We know that this isn’t great for the planet (to say the least), but society and our own egos prime us to keep searching out that next amazing outfit. This translates into every area of our lives: even the yoga studio becomes a sort of catwalk.

Raised by tailors, I was taught that ‘a girl needs changes.’ I associate shopping trips with love, particularly with my grandmother, whom I adored. She owned a closet filled with items she rarely wore; I used to “shop” her dresses to wear as vintage. To this day, I celebrate my creativity every day by attempting to look “well-put-together” and accessorized. Even when practicing yoga, I want my clothing to add beauty to the world.

When the pandemic arrived, stores closed. Aside from my immediate family, I now “see” others mostly on Zoom. Snazzy leggings aren’t that noticeable; comfort, smiles, and my ideas are what people notice.

With the world re-opening in various degrees, I (and everyone else) have choices to make. Do I return ‘normal’, or do I take the time to re-think my life, learning to live somewhat differently? This isn’t comfortable. It forces me to face bad choices of the past. I still love fashion, but I can – and must – do better. The well-being of other people, and of the planet’s resources, require it. My own karma and spiritual development do so as well.

The clothing industry’s abuse of human rights and the environment has been well documented. In addition, our personal creativity has been stifled by our belief that we must conform to the latest fashions. We know to buy less, to buy used, and to buy from sustainable lines. With the world beginning to re-open, it’s time to re-appraise our choices.

This is a great time to "Marie Kondo" my closet. Once that is done, I will see what’s left. What more is really needed? Can the excess be disposed of responsibly, and new purchases be made in the same way? Can the time and energy previously used for excessive clothes shopping be re-focused into other pursuits?

This isn’t to say that I will never buy another outfit again. Rather, I will think through my purchases, do the research on which companies to support, and find ways to make what I have last longer. In doing so, I will practice ahimsa, asteya,, and aparigraha. Clothes shopping will once again become a special event, and I will be able to use the extra time and energy more wisely.

The times they are a-changing, and and I want to be part of the solution. Small changes add up, in a variety of ways. I can't speak for anyone else, but perhaps my musings will inspire others to re-appraise their own lives. Gandhi spoke of the power of satyagraha, of speaking truth to power and changing the world. This is a small step in that direction.

You Should Also Read:
Fashion, Ahimsa, and the Environment

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