Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"it does not mean that if you do yoga you're de facto eco conscious."
a conversation with Selena Stirlen of Stirlen Chi

I am excited to announce a few changes here at yoguestyle. Each week, I am going to post up an interview with a yogi who is creating waves in the green world in Vancouver and beyond.

First up is an interview with the lovely Selena Stirlen of Stirlen Chi. Based in Chicago, Selena has designed a line of natural yoga-mat and home cleaning products. Selena chats with us about the relationship between yoga and sustainability and gives yoguestyle the scoop on Stirlen Chi's chi.

You are a long time yoga practitioner, what's your take on the relationship between yoga and the eco/ sustainability movement?
While I believe a lot of yogis are leaders in the eco/sustainability movement, it does not mean that if you do yoga you're de facto eco conscious. I do believe that practicing yoga helps to build your awareness of everything around you and eventually it will influence other areas of your life that maybe you weren't initially aware of and ultimately influence your entire decision making process.

What inspires you?
I have an intense curiosity about everything it seems. There will never be enough time to meet, explore, read everything that I'm interested in.

What prompted you to start eco-cleaning products?
I was originally inspired to start the Stirlen Chi Yoga Cleanser line after returning from travels in which I had been practicing yoga daily on the same mat and I couldn't find an all natural product to clean my mat. I didn't want to use a product that would leave a slippery film (of chemicals) on the mat.

What makes stirlen chi different from all the eco-cleaning products out there?
1. Made in small batches and per order, our product is always fresh.
2. We use only earth friendly ingredients, nothing that is synthetic. All our cleansers are scented with essential oils, the
only truly natural way of scenting products. Essential oils also have inherent and natural cleaning power thus strengthening our products effectiveness.
3. The packaging is recyclable. The Yoga and Fitness Cleanser packaging is made from PVC plastic which is recyclable. The Refreshers (wipes) packaging HDPE and is also recyclable and the wipes are biodegradable. I choose to include 20 wipes together instead of offering individually wrapped wipes which saves on packaging.

With the launch of the recent Stirlen Home line, we offer 2oz condensed cleaning products that need be added to a 16 oz spray bottle and filled with water. Two ounce condensed cleaning refills saves on overall packaging waste and cost. Since only condensed versions of the Stirlen Home products are offered, shipping costs are saved because water isn't being transported.

Have you always been an eco-nut?

My parents are both teachers so I grew up in a household where my mom washed out ziploc baggies, saved pop can tabs and recycled pop cans. While I've been practicing yoga for nearly ten years, it wasn't until I quit my corporate job five years ago and took seven months to travel around the world that I really opened my eyes to needing to doing my part to contribute to a cleaner world.

Where can we find your "goods"?

Online at

Thanks Selena! Namaste, yoguestyle.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hammock Enlightenment with the Bliss Army

"We believe that everyone is aware of the profound interconnected nature of life. Being too busy does not allow us the time to consider the effects of our actions on this web of life."
eoin finn hammock manifesto

So not exactly a new post today. Instead I am going to direct you to an article I wrote for the Vancouver Observer about my experience hanging in a hammock in downtown Vancouver with the Bliss Army. You can tell me why it's intrinsically connected to yoga with a capital Y. Read it here.

Photo of Eoin Finn and NPA Mayoral Candidate Peter Ladner chilling in a hammock.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Eco Yoga: Reduce Your "mat" print and breathe easy.

A rainy day here in Vancouver. I was supposed to teach an
outdoor vinyasa class down by the beach in Kitsilano, at the Showboat, but of course it is cancelled. The sky will probably clear later in the day, but for now, this is definitely a good
time to drink some tea, read and heat up indoors with a good power flow.

I am also excited to practice on my Half Moon Yoga deluxe Eco Mat. Sold by the wonderful yogis at Vancouver based Half Moon Yoga, the mat is made of TPE, (Thermal Plastic Elastomer) and are decomposable, recycleable and hypoallergenic.

Sweaty yogis will also be happy to know that the eco mat's closed-cell structure prevents bacterial and fungal growth resulting from sweat.

The manufacturing process releases no phthalates, toluene, or heavy metals
and all production waste is also recycled directly onsite. All good considerations both at the level of your personal well-being and for the environment.

The eco mat is affordable, priced at $49.95 and is available at Half Moon's retail store on Granville Island or online here.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Sun Salutations on Salt Spring Island.

We are refreshed after a long weekend at the Salt Spring Yoga Centre. At this picturesque property on Salt Spring, one of the most scenic gulf islands off Vancouver's coast, you can seek serenity amidst the whirring of hummingbirds during your morning yoga practice in one of the many yoga domes dotting the grounds, and savour fresh, organic food grown by the property's master gardeners.

And saying an Om before you taste your first bite of delicious food, may indeed take you one step closer to enlightenment. You can take the centre's award winning collection of health-ful, vegetarian recipes home with Salt Spring Experience: Recipes for Body, Mind, and Spirit available for US$29.95 on

Friday, August 01, 2008

Staycations are the new Summer Vacation!

A good friend in California, told me that most of his colleagues are taking a "staycation" in lieu of a far-flung summer vacation this year. So I looked up "staycation" to find this on wikipedia: "a staycation is a period of time in which an individual or family stays at home and relaxes at home or takes day trips from their home to area attractions." view looking towards Lake Skaha and Penticton

Not sure if a visit to Canada's wine country, the Okanagan technically counts as a staycation since it is approximately 300 kilometres away from Vancouver, but since we made it there and back on just a few tanks of gas, with an emphasis on the journey rather than the destination, I think it veers toward the right direction of eco-consciousness. We also were lucky to be able to tie it into some yoga teaching along the way. (see my earlier post on Kelowna)

Therapy Vineyards, aren't the roses pretty?

And so we got to Naramata an idyllic, mediterranean-esque town on the shores of Lake Okanagan. The weather was hot, the skies a washed out blue and we sampled local cherries and sipped some delicious organic wines on an outdoor patio at the lovely "Elephant Island" vineyard.
We also drove via Princeton through spectacular countryside on our way back to Vancouver and stopped in BC's organic growing capital, the Similkameen Valley and bought some delicious apricots, peaches, cherries and tasty summer tomatoes from the lovely folks who run Blushing Trail Organics. We were even treated to a tour of the orchard. Really made me appreciate the bounty we are surrounded by and especially this season of so much fulfillment.

So here's a toast to making the most of the current economic situation and discovering the beauty in your own backyard.

For more Okanagan and Similkameen photos, check out my flickr link.