The wise man gathered his three students for one final lesson before they were to embark on their journeys and share their knowledge with the world. It had been twenty six months of reflection at the monastery, beautifully perched high above the valley. Nestled in a quaint village the students called home, it was time for the master’s students to reveal the secrets they learned for purifying their own body. A body they had learned to honor as true as the temple itself.
Looking proudly upon his pupils, the wise man said, “You have proven to me that you have mastered your mind & spirit, but before you spread your messages upon the earth, I wish to know what you have learned of the third layer of our being – the physical body. Our body truly is our temple and without proper care, our mind & spirit are but a fragment of their full potential.”
The first student responded quickly, “Our body requires healthy food and drink and I plan to educate people on how, by implementing a proper diet of fruits, vegetables and lean protein, one can live a longer and healthier life. I will also show them the importance of clean fresh water not tainted by chemicals and biological pollutants. These things are important for the maintenance of a healthy heart and liver.”
“Well done.” said the wise man “And how do you plan to spread the message of physical health to the world?” looking to the second student.
He replied, “I am going to teach the importance of our breath and specifically the fresh air that we require and how with proper care, one can assure their own lungs are protected from dangerous indoor air pollutants in their homes. This way they can avoid unnecessary asthmatic triggers and alleviate allergic symptoms they may have in their environment.”
“This is an excellent piece of wisdom you plan to bestow,” responded the wise man. He then turned to face West towards his third and final student. “Do you plan on offering the same knowledge that your fellow students are revealing to the world my wise pupil?”
“Yes, I do,” she replied. “I also plan to make them aware of how they can protect the largest organ and the first barrier of entry to their entire body, their skin. I am going to impress upon them the importance of only using 100% pure materials direct from nature with minimal processing. I want to make sure people are aware of how they can create a healthy body from the inside and out.”
“My students,” replied the wise man “I am proud of you all and see that you have achieved the enlightenment needed to embark on your long journey ahead. Remember,” the wise man offered his last words as he gazed up into the sky, “as the bee collects nectar and departs without injuring the flower, or its color or scent, so let a sage dwell in the community.” He turned his back to the students and began walking up the mountain. The students were left with a sense of peace and stillness as they watched Buddha return to the monastery and await his next group on students.
We don’t all have a wise man to call on a whim when making our own personal choices for our homes or our families, but we can look to history, science and the medical field for reference on materials and products and how they affect us from a physical perspective. Many people don’t understand that cotton is a crop and is typically treated with pesticides. In fact, cotton uses 25% of the world’s insecticides and accounts for $2.6 billion spent on pesticides each year. Therefore, if products made of cotton are not grown in a certified organic facility, the cotton fabric contains the same pesticides the crops were treated with and hence, these toxins will be absorbed into the pores of their skin. On the contrary, by choosing organic cotton and non-toxic dyes in personal bedding, towels and clothing, one will take precautionary measures against absorbing toxic pesticides and chemical dyes into their body.
A great example of a company that has really found its niche in the use of organic cotton fabric products is Coyuchi. Coyuchi was founded 20 years ago and their line of signature bedding, made from 100% certified organic cotton, has developed a loyal following among people who nurture a connection to the natural world in their lives and in their homes. Organic cotton bedding, bath linens and baby items are still at the heart of their collection, and they have added linen, cashmere and other pure, natural fibers as well. They create with a focus on products designed to comfort and rejuvenate – body, mind and spirit – to help you turn your home into a sanctuary.
Much like our ancestors we can once again enjoy organic cotton clothing and bed linens that are grown by hand from family farms that are free of agricultural chemicals. Coyuchi bed and bath products are made from 100% certified organic fair trade cotton. They take great care in the finishing of their fabrics too. Finishing is the final process in the production of fabrics and it is a hard one to master. Finishing changes the appearance of the fabric, its hand and the performance of the griege fabric (the natural, raw state of the fabric). The finishing process also adds luster, softness and quality to the fabric. Click here to learn more about Coyuchi’s cotton process and products.
To better understand the variety of fabrics offered on the market, it is important to understand how fabric is woven. All woven fabrics use three basic weaves: plain, twill, and satin. The plain weave is the simplest with an over, under, over, under structure. Percale is an example of a plain weave. The twill weave is characterized by its diagonal lines across the fabric. For example, Coyuchi towels are twill weaves. The satin weave is formed by a series of floating yarns tied down intermittently in the weave. This provides different patterns and a sleek, shiny surface. Coyuchi sateen sheets are a good example of the satin weave. All other weaves are a combination of these basic weaves and are classified as complex (or novelty) weaves.
It is also important to understand the dyes that are used on cotton fabric. There are two kinds of dyes – pigment and reactive dyes. Pigment dyeing is the process by which color is held onto the surface of the fabric by a binding agent. Reactive dyeing is the formulation of a chemical bond between the cotton fibers and the color. Coyuchi uses low-impact, fiber-reactive dyeing in all of their products. Their dyes are very safe, environmentally certified, and “low impact” which means the chemical bonding and absorption rate are so high they use less water, less heat, and produce less waste-water runoff than chemical dyeing processes use. Recent advances have created fiber-reactive dyes with colors that are brighter and richer than previously available, and they provide excellent colorfast properties on cotton. They contain no heavy metals or other known toxic substances, and they meet all European Union criteria for being an eco-friendly pigment. But, the actual dyes in almost all low-impact fiber-reactive dyes are still petrochemical based. Fiber-reactive dyes have become the dye choice for many organic clothing manufacturers who want to be able to offer a diverse palette of vibrant colors. Depending upon the nature and degree of their chemical sensitivities, people with mild chemical sensitivities can often wear organic clothing with fiber-reactive dyes. Un-dyed, natural color or color-grown fabrics are the best choice for people who react to fiber-reactive dyes or who want only 100% natural, virgin fabrics on their skin.
In the past, many villages worked within the concept of a community to help satisfy the needs of the individual and the whole. Now we are in a global economy and consumers need to become aware of the links between truly sustainable production, quality of life for farmers, cost of goods and environmental impacts of cotton growing. That is why is so important to choose a Fair Trade certified products over ones that are not. Fair Trade certification, coupled with organic certification, ensures that the organic cotton farmer is protected from price fluctuations in the world market and is paid approximately 30% above the price of conventional cotton, a premium which is almost 20% more than the price of non- Fair Trade certified organic cotton. An additional 15% premium goes to the group itself and is used to further social, economic and environmental development in the farmer’s village. This total Fair Trade premium ensures farmers an enhanced standard of living. Also, in Fair Trade projects women and men are paid equally and child labor is prohibited.
In closing, as another wise man said, “Live Long and Prosper” and by the use of organic cotton bedding, bath linens and baby items for your family you are on better path for achieving that. Coyuchi products are available at HERE.