Shopping with Purpose
December 18, 2018
It’s easy to get lost in the hype of Holiday Shopping. The spangles and sparkles and hustle and bustle can easily funnel us into making mindless purchases that don’t really serve us or the intended recipient. It becomes unconscious consumption.
As yogis, we strive to be aware of our bodies and our breath in our yoga poses; but to really be “on purpose” we must bring that conscious awareness into our everyday lives, including our shopping. By constantly returning to our yoga code of ethics outlined in the ancient yoga texts, we can better serve people and the planet. This means always coming back to the number one rule of ahimsa, or non-harming. Sadly, we are often unaware that our purchases could actually be causing harm.
Much of fast fashion and cheap goods are manufactured in sweatshops. Many of these factories are unregulated and use forced labor practices, which perpetuate both human trafficking and child labor. These workers are paid pennies and made to work ridiculously long hours, often in unsafe and toxic environments.
Not only is this system of cheap goods harmful to humans, the chemicals and waste released into the environment. It is highly toxic to our planet. Very often this process of mass manufacturing ends up not only polluting the air and water, but also eats up our vital natural resources.
However, if we slow down and shop with our ethics we can find really amazing gifts that actually do good and give back. So, consider for a moment what is important to you.
If human rights are important to you, then look for items that are labeled “fair trade”; or buy from companies that advertise fair labor practices. These are often small businesses that are dedicated to handcraftsmanship. They treat the workers with dignity, make sure working conditions are safe, and pay them a living wage.
Also, many non-profit organizations have “income generating projects”, which provide income to underserved populations. Look for these projects that produce fashion and home accessories. The items are not only beautiful, but actually become gifts that give back.
If you are concerned about the environment and being eco-friendly, search for items made of organic materials, or ones that are up-cycled or made from reclaimed parts. The switch to organic cotton and natural fibers alone can save loads of the earths resources.
And lastly, just by shopping small and buying directly from artisans and small businesses, you can control what your money is supporting. Knowing where your dollars are going and what energy you are helping to perpetuate is vital. The gifts you give will also have a story and a meaning behind them that is sure to last longer and be more appreciated.