1. Why cotton towel? Does material matter?
Everybody knows about cotton, it is a common material used in clothing.
But how common is it nowadays? And especially and yoga wear and performance clothing.
When I researched about towels for yoga or thin & light travel towels everything what I could find were 100% Microfiber Yoga Towels.
Everybody wants functionality in performance but nobody looks how nonfunctional the earth becomes when we keep producing, using and dumping these materials into the land fields.
Micro fiber may sound like a fancy high performance material but it is just a fancy name for micro plastic. Micro plastics are small plastic pieces less than five millimeters long which can not decompose.
When we hear, the plastic will end up in the ocean, land fields and water it might seem a bit distant to us. We think it is not part of us.
Let’s look closer. How it can be part of us, our body. The clothes what we are using for practice or the towels which we use during asana practice or post practice shower are literally touching our skin.
Skin as a biggest organ of our body which can absorb more than we can imagine….and even more when the body is hot and sweating, the pores are even more open, so even more can go in.
These are the reasons which I consider important when I am choosing the towel for my practice or for daily use.
Why we came up with this type of towel, if there is so many towels available?
There are few attributes which we were missing in yoga towels.
- lightness - travel friendly
- natural materials
- natural dyes
- no micro-fibers involved
As we could not find all these attributes in one product, we designed our own yoga towel.
Yoga practice. Mainly we wanted them for yoga practice, adjustments during the practice as well as blanket for savasana to keep the body warm post practice.
Daily use. Towel which would dry quickly and be gentle to the skin.
Lightness. Our towel has to be light because we are moving a lot and it can not take most of the space in our luggage.
Natural materials. As I already mentioned above the importance of the natural materials is essential for us.
Natural dyes. Not only good fabric but also how is it treated. You can have best cotton in the world if you dye it with some toxic unnatural dyes which releases into the water with every use. I will explain you further benefits of each and every plant and herb we use for dyeing process.
2. Synthetic vs. natural dyes
Synthetic dyes took over around 50 years ago. Durable and rich colors started to be required. Large quantities of the fabrics had to be dyed in one go and this is possible only witch synthetic colors as they stick to fabrics easily and they do not lose pigmentation.
Of course, limitless palette of color options is available and this is almost ´´must ´´´these days if you want to operate in textile industry.
In Tamil Nadu, state in South India, there is an area, where big textile companies like Zara and H&M among others have their premises.
The Centre for Science and Environment did a study in Tirupur and they came up with result that the river Noyyal, which runs near the dye houses had a significantly more chemicals than other rivers in the area.
Our supplier which is located further away from Tirupur has a clear evidence of this fact. He saw all these people living in the area without access to the drinking water. Many habitats of the area also have serious skin diseases and cancer due to the toxins present in drinking water.
Our supplier comes from the family which is in the business for over 70 years and has gone through all this hell.
10 years back when the younger generation came to the business, all the synthetic fabrics were stopped as well as synthetic dyes.
Since then they do have only natural materials like organic cotton, bamboo, fabric from pineapple fibers and many more.
Since then, they have mastered also natural and herbal dyeing. It took them over 10 years of experience and trials, but now they are really good at it. We are very happy we can collaborate with them.
3. Herbal dyes versus natural dyes
Upgrade Natural, Go herbal. Not only that they come from nature but on the top of it we are adding extracts of medically rich Herbs, Plants, minerals which are benefiting your skin.
Herbal dyeing is the process where roots of plants and herbs are used. The dye is also enriched with medicinal properties of particular plant.
Why dyes matter?
Exposure to large doses of the substances which are used in synthetic dyes can be toxic and can have severe effects in the human body. Water pollution can also result from manufacturing synthetic dyes when untreated dye effluent is dumped directly on bodies of water.
In the state Tamil Nadu, where our products are coming from many irresponsible companies are also placed. One thing is that they use synthetic dyes but on the top of it they directly dump the water into the fields in the area. For local people is a big problem because they are losing only source of drinking water.
Can you imagine that you open the tap in the kitchen and you can not drink from it?
4. Benefits of the dyes on your skin
We are using few plants which have medicinal properties on our bodies. We will be introducing them one by one in further blogs or you can read about them in the description of the products itself.
5. Why to use towel for yoga practice?
Particularly in ashtanga practice you need to have towel with you especially when you are attending Mysore class in studio.
· Since the teacher which is adjusting you is coming to close proximity and you might be all sweaty it is nice to have a towel with you.
· In poses like paschimotanasana sometimes the teacher needs to lie on your back so it is good for him to have some cloth isolation.
· Even though it is good to keep the sweat on your body, sometimes you need to wipe it off when it is coming to your eyes or mouth.You know what I am talking about when you practice in summer and outside it is 30 degrees.
· When we practice, our body is hot and the pores are open. When you use herbal dyed towel you can be sure only good stuff will enter your body.
6. Cotton as an alternative to polyester, nylon, acrylic or their recycled alternatives.
When practicing yoga your first relationship of being one is with the earth. To be in touch with the earth is important. That’s why you should practice on purely natural material.
Plastic mat is isolating you from the earth and you don’t want it!
Watch this short video of Sadguru, where he is explaining what is the best surface for yoga practice.
7. How does the micro fibers from yoga towels and yoga clothes affect drinking water and food chain?
Yes, I know you might feel guilty having all these synthetic yoga clothes in the closet. Better to realize it later than never…from now on at least you know what not to buy.
Once you have clothes or yoga towels from micro-fibers wash them in washing bag called Guppyfriend
This bag will stop micro plastics releasing into the drinking water and ocean. Yes, micro-plastics are that small, that filters in washing machines cannot stop these small particles.
All the clothes and fabrics, even the cotton ones are losing fibers with every wash, but at least the cotton ones can decompose because the material is known for the soil.
Rule nr. 1: Wash your clothes less often, only if necessary!
Rule nr. 2: Don’t throw them away until they wear out, because they will end up in the land fields not being able to decompose.
Check out this interesting article about how yoga wear and accessories can pollute the water you drink:
8. Yoga ‘’inside’’ and ‘’outside’’ the mat?
Take care of the surface you are practicing on! And the towel you are using for your yoga practice!
Sometimes you are in skin to skin contact with your mat.
Would you rather touch plastic or natural material enriched with goodness of the herbs?
Skin is the biggest organ of out body so we should be aware what we put on our skin.
What we put on our skin is as important as what we put in our mouth.
Yoga ´´outside´´ the mat is as important as yoga on the mat, if not even more.
Our decisions, how we act, what we support by buying etc.
It is going much further that purely purchasing the things.
What we support, that will grow, that’s why we should be more conscious who do we support, what are the materials the brand uses, how they treat people, environment etc. That’s how we live yoga ‘’outside’’ the mat, by making as conscious decisions as possible.
9. Fair product supporting people not machines
All our products are handmade with love! By our products you are supporting real people not machines. You are giving labor to the workers in small villages who are not having any other way how to make their living. The craft what they know from their parents and ancestors is the only mean how they can survive. Do not replace them and their craft with machine made stuff.
10. Slow fashion long last product
By purchasing Leela products you can be sure they will last with you for a while. They are made to last; we are using best quality materials and dyes to make sure you can rely on them.
We don’t want you to have a new mat or rug every year. If you get one you will have it for many years with you. You can have two, to interchange, while one is drying.
We know that every while there are new designs and new products out there in the market but we would like to slow down and make quality products instead of going for numbers.
Leela yoga towels are microfiber free and completely natural