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Prioritization Instead of Sacrifice: Yoga Professional Sinah Diepold on Sustainability

  • Lisa Amenda
  • September 28, 2020
Credits cover image: Susanne Schramke

Sinah Diepold is a yoga teacher and founder - and she is dedicated to sustainability. Our guest author Lisa Amenda talked to her about how to live a more sustainable life, what this has to do with self-love and why sustainability and yoga go together so well. From the initial question "Do I have to stop myself from doing everything now?" to her current understanding of sustainability, the Munich-based author gives a deep insight into her sustainability journey.

Sustainability is one of those things. If you honestly want to make your life more sustainable, you are often dismissed as an unworldly eco-warrior with dreadlocks, Birkenstocks and hemp shirts. Or as an oatmeal-drinking bandwagon jumper, because »That's what you do now.«. Obviously oat milk, Birkenstocks and hemp shirts have arrived in the heart of society. At least in Munich. All three things are also in my wardrobe or refrigerator. But is this already sustainability or just a trend?

I've been dealing with the topic itself for quite a while, sustainability that is. And that's especially true in the context of outdoor sports. Now it was time leave my outdoor sports bubble and talk to someone from a completely different background about the topic.

Sinah Diepold. Yoga teacher, podcaster, author and model with own BodyMindTherapy Studio in Munich. We meet on a Tuesday afternoon, first for a talk and then for outdoor yoga in Munich's largest park: the English Garden.

You should follow these 9 sustainability examples (Part 1)

You should follow these 9 examples of sustainability (Part 2)

Sinah Diepold: "For me, sustainability means that I make conscious decisions about how I can live together with this world in the long term and try to waste as few resources as possible.
Image credit: Susanne Schramke / Susanne Schramke

Where Does Living a More Sustainable Life Begin?

Sinah also started to think about sustainability a few years ago. The catalyst was a trip to Cape Town. The yoga teacher was in South Africa two years ago for the modeling season. When she arrived in Cape Town with her boyfriend, the population was struggling with water shortages and was already close to Day Zero, meaning: the day when no more running water will be available. »The feeling that I can't buy water anymore has really shaken me deeply«says Sinah in our conversation in her studio Kale&Cake.

»I wrote a post about it on my social media channels and suddenly there was a feeling of liberation for me, that I was finally standing up for what was actually within me. I didn't dare before, because you felt guilty and you know you are not behaving correctly. But I experienced this moment as so positive that I decided for myself afterwards, I want to integrate this more into my life now.« Afterwards Sinah started to deal with the different facets of sustainability: plastic consumption, travel, food, etc.

"The more I dealt with it, the more I fell into a phase in which I denied myself everything« Sinah continues. This is probably the point that many people are afraid of? Or just say: »I don't want to know exactly where my meat comes from.« Closing your eyes and moving on is often the easier way, especially when you start with sustainability.

The Middle Is the Solution

But as with many things, the middle is also the solution when it comes to sustainability. I have noticed this often enough in myself. I too had phases in which I felt like Sinah and I questioned everything and everyone. The car ride, skiing, mountain biking. I was no longer sure what else I was allowed to do when I wanted to stand up for sustainability. I also didn't want to completely forbid myself to live my life. But what is the most sustainable alternative?

»That we can't have kids, that we're vegan and plastic-free. No travel, just ride our bikes. If that suits anybody, hey go for it, have fun« Sinah confirms my train of thought. »And I have incredible respect for that. But it's not for everyone. And so for me, sustainability means making conscious decisions about how I can live together with this world in the long term and trying to waste as few resources as possible.«

Doesn't sustainability then automatically have to do with sacrifice? »No, I don't think so at all. I think it's about prioritizing. And quality. Because it's not the throwaway society anymore. Why do I consume things that are of poor quality, that have no story, no substance? I don't want to be seen as a disposable product myself...«explains Sinah.

Sophia Thora and Sinah Diepold have jointly opened the Yoga Studio Kale&Cake.
Image credit: Susanne Schramke / Susanne Schramke

Founding a Company - Sustainably

Sinah does not only live this in her everyday life by changing a lot in her household, for example by doing without small things like kitchen roll, cycling a lot, boycotting fast fashion and palm oil, donating regularly and above all shopping in organic supermarkets. She also wanted to bring this awareness to her BodyMindTherapy Studio Kale&Cake, which she runs together with Sophia Thora.

»Sophia and I have four pillars on which we build Kale&Cake and one of them is sustainability. This includes decisions like where the toilet paper comes from, but we also have plants in the studio and no Hindu gods because Kale&Cake is dedicated to Mother Nature.«

And indeed, the studio doesn't seem like the cliché of a yoga studio. The obligatory golden flower of life on the wall is missing, also small Buddha figures or other deities. Instead, a lot of green plants, a lot of wood and a clean but cosy atmosphere. Even the cloakroom, which is separated from the entrance area by a curtain and in which we are sitting right now, radiates this cosiness.

Sinah and Sophia also try different methods to approach sustainable management: »We donate 5% of our teacher training to Cool Earth, we have a monthly charity event, Greenpeace electricity, and when we were allowed to serve tea, we called on our tribe to bring back some tea that they don't need anymore. This may be marginally small, but it inspires people to rethink. And of course we also bring it into our yoga classes.«

One of the tips for a more sustainable life: Go into nature! Because what we love, we want to protect.
Image credit: Susanne Schramke / Susanne Schramke

Yoga and Sustainability

To be honest, that was my personal reason for signing up with Kale&Cake for my yoga teacher training. First of all, I knew that five percent of my course fee would be donated and that Sinah and Sophia were extremely interested in this topic. I didn't just want to go to a classic studio, I wanted a modern approach, topicality. Not only in terms of asana practice, but also in terms of philosophical issues.

Because in my opinion, yoga, along with outdoor sports, is a perfect medium for raising awareness for sustainability issues. "Absolutely. At Kale&Cake we have the philosophy that there are three important relationships in our lives: The relationship to ourselves, to other people and beings and the relationship to Mother Nature. This means that practicing yoga, listening within, is important to recognize that we are nature," Sinah confirms. "When I practice yoga seriously, I come into contact with myself again. And then I also feel what is not good for me. Because where do we really feel amazing? When we stand on the mountain and take a deep breath. When I walk through the forest. When I play with an animal or a child. These are moments when we reconnect with nature and suddenly we feel good again."

That's why we let the yoga studio be the yoga studio. Take our mats and go for a walk in the English Garden. Not far from the Eisbach Wave at the Kiosk Fräulein Grüneis, are already about 25 other yogis waiting. We roll out our mats on a meadow that hasn't been mowed for a while. From time to time you can still hear the tram. The last sunrays of this afternoon shine in our faces.

Sinah invites us in the initial meditation to reflect on our relationship with nature. An earthworm tries to climb the three millimetres of natural rubber of my mat. The autumn wind blows over the lush green. And afterwards we just lie there. In our Savasana, the final relaxation, with a view into the golden leaves of the tree tops. The city stays behind the park. And we are just there. With us. And the nature.

Sinahs 5 tips for a more sustainable life

  1. Connect with yourself. We must learn once again that we are nature.
  2. Going out into nature. What we love, we want to protect.
  3. Be a rebel. We should start to question and take responsibility for our lives again.
  4. Self-love. If we love ourselves, we don't always have to buy the latest stuff.
  5. Law of giving. If we pay two euros for a T-shirt, who pays the real price?