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Earth Day 2017 ~ “Ahimsa” and a local cross promotion.


What do these things have to do with one another?  Well, let me just start by telling you that I love clothing.  I always have.  I also love this earth and I am passionate about doing my part to save this planet.  Lately, however, it has become more and more apparent to me that these two things are at odds with one another.  This really bothers me – does it bother you? What can we do about it?  How can you make a difference?  We can make a difference, starting right here in Ladysmith…


In honour of Earth Day, I wanted to share a wonderful local cross promotion with you all!

Firstly, let me just state that as a yogini (someone who practices yoga as a part of their daily life) I try to follow many of the cardinal virtues of Vedic texts and one of those tenants is called “ahimsa”.  In short, it means to practice “non-harm” in our thoughts and actions. Ahimsa is a multidimensional concept, inspired by the premise that all living beings have the spark of the divine spiritual energy; therefore, to hurt another being is to hurt oneself.

As a practitioner of yoga, I try to do my part.  I do what works in my life and makes me feel as though I can live with my own choices.  Living an environmentally centered life is a huge part of that.  But then…there is the clothing issue. Whether it be yoga wear or something dressy to attend a family party when I look to buy an article of clothing for myself I am painfully aware that someone may have suffered in the making of that item.  Children may have been involved in making that item.  I don’t know about you but that alone causes me stress.  Then consider there is more and more research giving us grim statistics about how in the US alone ”…85% of all textiles taken out of closets end up in landfills: amounting to 3.8 billion pounds of waste each year”(Jaspers).  Horrifying! This fills me with dread!  As well, Jaspers posits that:

“When old clothes are buried in a landfill, they not only take up space but also can also contaminate soil and groundwater and emit horrifying odors. If they’re not buried, it’s off to the landfill’s giant incinerator, which releases tons of greenhouse gases, contributing to global warming and climate change. What we’re trying to say here, people, is that throwing away clothes is lose-lose.”

To add to this alarming set of statistics there is a lot of new research stating that scientists are  finding synthetic fibres in our oceans and fresh water lakes:.

“In an alarming study…researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara found that, on average synthetic fleece jackets release 1.7 grams of microfibers each wash…” and that “debris recovered from fish in Indonesia was plastic but in the US was primarily [these micro] fibres”(Messinger).

So, here we are diligently washing our clothing and in doing so contaminating our waters both fresh and ocean. Our marine life are slowly but surely growing and being contaminated with microfibers and plastic contaminants. For many of us, fish and shellfish are a part of our food supply (unless you are vegan).  So these contaminants are going into the water, the earth and all of its inhabitants including us.  We are poisoning the earth and therefore poisoning ourselves.

Pause.  Huge deep yogic breath.  This is not “ahimsa”.  This practice is causing harm…to everything!  So, what can we do?  What can you do?  How can we begin to make a difference?

I was recently approached by a local designer of a company called High Road Clothing.  She lives here in Ladysmith and was keen to show me her line and why she’s passionate about it. Mary Desprez  has designed a line of clothing for women that are sleek, classic in design and are made on Vancouver Island from 100% pure, ethically sourced merino wool from Australia.  These pieces are machine washable, luxurious and because merino wool is a natural moisture wicker you stay warm when it’s cool out, but also cool when it’s warm. Merino wools “anti-bacterial properties make it odour resistant AND environmentally friendly!  As well, at the end of its use, merino biodegrades safely” (Desprez). Now, this is fantastic!  Plus, the clothing is truly gorgeous.

From a yogic perspective and on the week leading up to Earth Day as I consider my role as a caretaker of this planet (wanting to “do no harm”) I feel strongly that this is the kind of product that I can stand behind.  The versatile styles allow me to teach and have a social life and even get dressed up with the same pieces.  Pieces that will last many many years and that I will not need to throw away.  That will not pollute the planet.  I like this!

So where can I get High Road in Ladysmith, where can I try it on, how do I find it, you ask me?

After an in-depth conversation with Jeanine Peters, the owner of Forget Me Not, she and I both realized that she has many similar sentiments about the planet and ethically sourced, environmentally friendly items.  She herself has a code similar to “ahimsa” and one that she lives and orders by in her retail shop.  She is proud to carry the High Road line and loved my idea to run a cross promotion around Earth Day.  We are both delighted to share this with you:

The Promotion:

Right now until June 30th, 2017 Bliss Yoga Studio Customers will receive 20% off any piece of the High Road collection at FORGET ME NOT  539 First Ave (250-924-5452)!

(For the record, my personal favorites include:  the Sara Serape, the Mary Tunic and the Kari dress and the Valerie top – but honestly I would like to own 4 of every single piece of the line! You will see me wearing these in the Studio!)

The Sara Serape

When you purchase one or more of these items at FORGET ME NOT, new or existing customers will also receive 20% off of an Indian Head Massage or a free drop in class at Bliss Yoga Studio.

For me, there are so many great things about this cross promotion.  On a personal level I get to work with a local designer and a local business person who share my passion for environmentally sustainable, ethical clothing that are multi-functional.  I can practice “ahimsa” and honour the earth that I walk on with the clothing that I wear.  Finally, I can support other locals in their quest to make a living here in Ladysmith, but also in their quest to make this planet a cleaner, better and sustainable place for us and for future generations to live.


~Namaste~ Alison

The Mary Tunic                  The Valerie Top



Peters, Jeanine:  Forget Me Not Clothing – 539 First Ave, Ladysmith.  250-924-5452

Desprez, Mary; High Road Clothing

Jaspers, Brett: Trusted Clothes;; May, 2016.

Luz, Claudio: “Waste Couture: Environmental Impact of the Clothing Industry”; September, 2007.

Messinger, Leah: “How your Clothes are Poisoning our Oceans and Food Supply”.; June, 2016.


About the Author:

Alison Strom truly and passionately believes that yoga allows us to create an intimate connection to our bodies through breath and movement that can lead to a higher understanding of Self and, ultimately, a path to Joy. She is also a certified Pilates teacher trained through the Physical Mind Institute of Canada in Fundamentals, Mat and Standing Pilates.
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