Encompassing Sustainability through Yoga

Dig Yoga

3. Good Health and Well-Being 7. Affordable and Clean Energy 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Overview

Dig Yoga’s innovation is creating a yoga studio that embraces excellence in yoga education and creating a sanctuary for the community to gather and grow by living in a sustainable environment. Dig Yoga’s holistic approach to influence their community and fulfill their needs are multi-dimensional. They assess from an internal and external standpoint and supply the demands.


Authors

Tiffani Bakunas

Tiffani Bakunas

Rayshawna Fraser

Rayshawna Fraser

Mija Tineo

Mija Tineo

Rodica Walsh

Rodica Walsh

School

Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU)

Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU)

Professor

Aixa Ritz

Aixa Ritz

Innovation

With the help of Alexis Berends, they have incorporated changes in the business to support sustainability. To name a few conversions--they no longer purchase or sell single-use plastic water bottles, they’ve swapped out plastic for glass bottles because they are more environmentally friendly. And now they have water refill station to accommodate their customers. Their yoga mats are made from 100% Natural Rubber and are completely biodegradable. They sell notebooks made from cotton scrap leftovers from the Indian textile industry. They have Dig Yoga apparel provided by Alternative apparel, sustainable clothing manufacturers. And they now offer products from a sustainable beauty brand named Seed Phytonutrients. Products are made with ingredients from locally sourced organic farmers. Seed Phytonutrients is a subsidiary brand of L’Oréal and all its packaging is either recyclable or biodegradable. The building where Dig Yoga studio is located is currently more than 80% solar-powered, it uses 49,885kWh of solar energy and only 6,408kWh from JCP&L. Dig Yoga's proportional usage is 8,630kWh monthly.

Dig Yoga is committed to environmentally sustainable practices and strives to be a pillar of environmental stewardship in the community. Not only do they understand the importance of healing our fragile ecosystem, they have a deep awareness of their role in its illness and recovery. That is why they are taking as many steps as possible to minimize their eco footprint and hope to help educate the community on how they can live more environmentally sensitive lives.

Encompassing Sustainability through Yoga

Alexis Berend, Sue Elkin & Tracy Morgan-leading Sustainability at Dig Yoga

Inspiration

The leading forces that drive sustainability within this business and community are Sue Elkind, Alexis Berends, and Steve Frank. Sue, the owner of Dig Yoga, is enthusiastic about becoming a registered sustainable business as well as implementing as many sustainable practices as possible. Sue also works with Rodale Institute Experimental Farm in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. When she visits, she learns about soil health and meets with scientists to figure out what she can do to fluently educate the community. Another sustainability trailblazer is Alexis Berends. Alexis performed many studies regarding the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Globalization Development and Human Rights, and a Master’s in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. In the past, her primary work concentrated on the Middle East, and water issues within the Israeli-Palestinian. Alexis always had a passion for environmental issues and sustainability, and she has a love affair with yoga. By introduction, it is no coincidence that both Sue and Alexis share a common interest in this diaspora, which has inspired each other to bring sustainability into the yoga studio. Steve Frank the building owner, is also excited about making progress toward being more sustainable as a commercial property owner.

Overall impact

Dig Yoga wants to be a part of that movement and would like to become a drop-off location for soft plastics. This kind of support and cohesive act could be contagious for other business owners surrounding Dig Yoga. One thing for certain is that Sue and Alexis are looking forward to calibrating with other business owners and getting them involved. Another thing we can expect in the future at Dig Yoga is bringing in more products in their shop that aren’t accessible in their areas, such as toothpaste that does not come in a plastic tube, or other household items that are traditionally disposable and non-recyclable. In addition to that, they plan to facilitate educational sessions next year to get people involved and aware of what they can do, to improve sustainability in their everyday lives.

Business benefit

Because of Sue's in-depth knowledge of alignment and biomechanics, along with her passion to teach from her heart, her students discover how to expand their potential both physically and spiritually. She is director of Dig Yoga's 200 and 500 hour Teacher Training programs, and developed a Pre/Post Natal Training that she offers worldwide.

Dig Yoga has a staff of 17 instructors and 1 Sustainability leader. Together, through yoga and meditation, they emphasize how soil, air, and everything around us play a major role in yoga and vice versa.

Dig Yoga is bringing in more products in their shop that aren’t accessible in their areas, such as toothpaste that does not come in a plastic tube, or other household items that are traditionally disposable and non-recyclable. In addition to that, they plan to facilitate educational sessions next year to get people involved and aware of what they can do, to improve sustainability in their everyday lives.

Social and environmental benefit

The social and environmental benefit of Dig Yoga brings an entire community together to promote a healthier lifestyle while incorporating sustainability. They have been a positive influence on the community as they encourage and educate others. Their consistent engagement within the community and inside the yoga studio has made others aware of sustainable practices. They also give back to the community by donating class passes to help organizations' fundraisers, such as for the SPLASH Boat Floating Environmental Classroom in Lambertville. Alexis takes pride in her decision to advocate for sustainability in Lambertville, she says “it is their community and now, they can say that they are a part of something bigger”. She also adds that “seeing how responsive people are, how much they want to be a part of something bigger and more conscious, not just for the environment, but for society as a whole has enabled her to maintain her drive for change, she adds…“We have a limited amount of time to make a huge change, and every little thing that we do matters and we are all in this together”.

Collectively the instructors have donated many hours for fundraising for various causes and has presented at festivals like Wanderlust, Global Mala, Namas Day, Bermuda Yoga Festival, and Recharge in the Swiss Alps.

Interview

Alexis Leigh Berends, Sustainability Leader

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Dig Yoga

Dig Yoga

Lambertville, NJ, US

Business Website: www.digyoga.com

Year Founded: 2010

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

Dig Yoga is a health-conscious, people-oriented yoga business that has incorporated sustainable practices into their studio. Through yoga and education, they are supporting the town wide movement for sustainability.