It’s true: All anyone needs to practice yoga is a willing mind and some kind of accommodating space. But let’s face it—some decent fitting yoga leggings and a well-made yoga mat can make a huge difference in the practice experience.
The other thing is, who wants to buy clothing or props by lame-o companies that pollute without care and outsource their manufacturing to sweatshops? Not this gal here. And I’m guessing you don’t, either. A friend of mine recently asked me to send her a list of my favorite practice tools and accessories, and I thought, Hey, why not share them with you too?
My list of the best yoga wear and gear you can find is based on these criteria: it must be sustainably produced, last for a long time and made locally and/or not in a sweatshop.
Yoga Mats + Mat Accessories
Manduka PRO Mat: I roll out a Manduka for my everyday yoga practice. It’s a heavy-duty must: it’s nice and grippy, and it’s guaranteed for life. Plus, the lusciously thick cushioning protects the knees like no other (and it’s so, so comfy in savasana!)
Manduka eKO Lite: Sustainably produced with tree rubber, Manduka’s Lite mat offers the same super-grip as the PRO. When teaching and traveling, this is the mat I have in tow.
PrAna mat bag: The light-weight, silky yoga mat bags made by prAna come in tons of fun colors. The front pocket and key ring hold the essentials—you can dash off to yoga class without the bulk of a wallet or purse. I’m a PrAna bag loyalist (I’m on my fourth bag). You can often pick up one of these sweet bags for just $5-$10 during a PrAna sale.
Manduka eQua towel: You’re bound to sweat during a strong ashtanga or vinyasa-based class, and this soft towel, designed for the Manduka PRO mat, beautifully prevents slipping and sliding.
Earthlite bolsters: Earthlite’s supportive, fluffy bolster is a wonder for restorative poses. Place one of these bolsters under your knees or neck and you’ll feel your body releasing strain. Besides helping my yoga students settle into restful postures, the Earthlite comes in handy when I’m working with my bodywork clients too.
Hugger Mugger blocks: Not all yoga blocks are created equal. Some just don’t offer enough stability. These blocks do. And, there’s the sustainability factor—choose among cork, recycled foam, wood, or bamboo. I prefer the cork blocks for their light but sturdy weight.
Mexican blankets: In both my teaching and personal practice sessions, I’ve used all sorts of blankets. Nothing beats the Mexican blanket. The weight, durability and washability of the material is by far the best.
SPRI Stability Ball: Any soft ball will help open up the back, yet this ball happens to be just the right size to massage/roll up and down my back, and it allows my heart and front body to find freedom as well. I often recline on a SPRI Stability ball right before my yoga practice, as it warms up the core and attunes my sense of balance.
Teeki pants: I love my daisy-printed Teeki pants with a capital “L.” They’re fun, totally sassy and they fit great (no wedgies, hallelujah)! Teeki stands by sustainability principles, and makes their clothing from recycled plastic bottles.
Beyond Yoga tops: The durability and fit of all Beyond Yoga clothes is unparalleled, but the tops truly ring my bell. The dynamite colors can be worn mix-and-match with just about anything else in your closet, street wear included. All us women can relate to their company statement that “Beauty is not a size, it’s a state of mind.”
Satva: I’m happy to buy from clothing brands like Satva that commit to quality and keep ethical standards that are friendly to both people and planet. I’m a huge fan of the organic cotton pants.
Third Eye Threads: Based in my lovely home town of Encinitas, CA, Third Eye creates socially responsible and eco-conscious apparel. Chad, the founder, always gives great service. For all the reasons above, I chose Third Eye to produce our White Peacock yoga tanks (more on those soon!).
Oils + Body Care
Nama products: I don’t go anywhere without Nama’s hand and mat sanitizer. Their Calming Meditation Cream puts me and my students into a pepperminty bliss.
Blue glass bottles: Make your own custom aromatherapy blends and store them in these handy 2- and 4-oz spray bottles.
Floracopeia essential oils: Pure essential oils, free of chemical junk and phony fragrances, are truly “essential” for your savasana moments and custom sprays.
I’m always inspired by gear, apparel and products that are made with love and a sustainable focus. So please do share your faves in the comments below.