27 Aug The Essential Gear Guide Every Yogi Needs To Know About (MindBodyGreen Feature!)
Original Piece Featured on MindBodyGreen.com 8/26/17 edited by Senior Editor, Leigh Weingus.
The holidays might still be a few months away, but showing gratitude is a big topic in the yoga world—and expressing how grateful you are to someone can come in many forms. Saying thank you and giving big hugs are two beautiful ways to show someone you care. Other times, a physical gift is a bit more appropriate—whether it’s your loved one’s birthday or you feel like giving them a “just because” gift.
As a lifelong athlete, yogi, and wellness guide, I love trying out and on a variety of different brands and products. And at this point, I’ve tried a lot of them! Softness, wearability, affordability, usability, and appeal are a few of my main criteria, so rest assured—there’s solid thought that goes into this selection process.
Since yoga is all about feeling good, how you feel in the clothes you wear and with the products you use is incredibly important. So in order to surprise, delight, and show just how grateful you are, here are some gift ideas for the yoga enthusiast in your life. And if that yoga enthusiast is you, hey—no judgment. Treat yourself!
1. For the Yogi Who Needs to Hydrate
My personal favorite water bottle is a S’well bottle. For one, S’well’s eco-conscious mission to rid the world of plastic bottles is incredibly inspiring. Second, it has the ability to hold both hot and cold beverages. The company also offers an array of designs to choose from and reliable durability.
Each S’well bottle is made of 18/8 stainless steel that keeps your drinks cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours. Plus, they come in dozens of colors and prints so you can carry your water, coffee, and even wine in style. I’m also a huge fan of filter water bottles like Brita’s colorful set of filtered water bottles.
2. For the Yoga Guy in Your Life
Finding the perfect set of men’s yoga clothing can be tough, but I’m personally a huge fan of Lululemon’s metal vent tech tank, which is my prime pick for getting the “stink” out of your sweat on those days you just don’t have time for laundry and you need to get your yoga on.
Bunch it up, ball it away, or get double use out of them with back-to-back sweat sessions, and you can still guarantee you won’t offend your nearest neighbors in your hot yoga class. Yep, these tanks are that good.
If you’re on the hunt for a solid set of bottoms, there’s been a huge uptick in choices recently. For the best all-around short, I’d go for The North Face “Better Than Naked” 3-inch short, which has an inner mesh liner for coverage with a light-as-feather fabric, making it perfect for the well-rounded athlete.
Manduka also hosts an impressive line of men’s products. For a slightly longer-fitting bottom, the Kaze Short is a favorite with lightweight and breathable fabric, a comfortable elastic waistband, an 11-inch inseam, and a slightly tapered leg for added fit and style.
3. For the Yoga-Loving Lady
With so many fresh women’s clothing lines out on the market, finding the best women’s yoga apparel is tough. Aside from the bigger brands out there, two of my more recent favorites in this collection are based purely on comfort, softness, and feeling. After all, that’s yoga, right?
In my opinion, the best yoga pants are the Outdoor Voices 7/8 Spring Legging, which has a perfect contour design that fits the leg perfectly, along with a variety of flattering, soft colors. Featuring a comfortable waistband and mid-rise cut, this pant trims and complements every body. There is also a variety of matching tops to mix and match to choose from.
A sweet surprise I was gifted is the CocoOnTheGo Canopy Mesh Legging, which honestly felt like slipping into silk. At first sight, I thought I would never fit into these (they look tiny!), but I quickly discovered that this was the beauty of these pants—they stretch, fit, and form to every curve of your waist, hip, and inseam line, creating some of the comfiest, most form-fitting pants I’ve ever worn. Add some breathable mesh, and you’ve got a pant that is stylish, functional, sexy, and fresh!
When it comes to buying your gal pal something fitted for up top, my recommendation is to go with a tank or find a bra top that comes in bra sizing that offers straight sizes like small, medium, or large instead of doing the cup-size guessing game. After all, sports bras can be tricky to purchase for someone else unless you know the person’s exact size in a brand.
The Warrior Athletic Bra by Spiritual Gangster is also a personal favorite—it’s classic and fierce. With a new line of activewear to choose from, Spiritual Gangster is stepping up their cotton game and now offering just as comfy activewear as they have for years in their tanks, hoodies, and bottoms.
For the eco-conscious yogi, having a luxurious layering piece can be a perfect addition to any yogi’s wardrobe. Port De Bras is a cutting-edge style in eco-friendly fashion, and The Naomi Bra is a personal favorite—it has a sexy high neckline that can comfortably take you from the yoga studio to brunch.
4. For the Traveling Yogi
Yogis with a heart full of wanderlust, rejoice! Slippin’ on the butter-soft Happiest Tee tanks can be a sweet reminder of their travels. Made in the United States with eco-friendly materials and featuring all of the top city destinations to choose from, the hardest part when purchasing is deciding on just one destination. My passport couldn’t decide, so I got three.
Another must-have for the traveling yogi is a yoga travel mat from Manduka. In all my travels and mat trials, this one really does top any other thin mat I’ve tried. You can fold it up without worrying about damage to the recycled rubber, fit it in your carry-on, use it in the airport, at a hotel, on a beach, or up in the mountains. It’s super light yet still grippy enough to allow you to hold a handstand and downward-facing dog in any location.
5. For the Yoga Kid
Kiddos are getting into the yoga scene more and more these days, which is amazing news—and finding the right kids yoga gear is crucial. The YOGI FUN yoga cards will keep kids (ahem, and adults) intrigued with flip-and-play cards featuring a variety of yoga posture to emulate. My favorite add-in to this package is the roll-and-pose dice for all levels, ages, and bodies to play.
For activewear, Under Amour features a full kids activewear line. It’s not the cheapest on the block, but it’s definitely reasonably priced and can double as a great back-to-school gift as well for your little yogi to wear in the classroom, to sports practice, or on the yoga mat.
6. For the Yoga Techie
While yoga is a mind/body practice, technology still plays a vital and inspirational role in our Zen time. Insight Timer is my go-to meditation app, featuring full-length meditations, timers for personal practice, and the ability to connect you globally with others practicing meditation around the world. The best part? It’s free! Sometimes a recommendation is worth more than a price tag. Talk about peace of mind.
7. For the Experimental Yogi
For the experimental yogi, a ClassPass gift card can be perfect for someone looking to try out different studios in their area or even to try a new style of yoga. Don’t know if you prefer power yoga or restorative yoga? Never tried yin yoga? Well, the best way to find out your preferred yoga style is to sample different ones through ClassPass without the pressure of committing to a monthly package.
8. For the Yogi Who Needs an Accessory Update
Two of my favorite yoga mat accessories include music and body healing. Verizon sent me the Bose SoundSport wireless headphones to test out, and they are perfect for a home practice when you need a few tunes to get you going or when you want to listen to practice with an online video. Why do I love these? For one, they’re wireless, so no cords get in your way in downward-facing dog or during your headstand and other inversions.
The Bose SoundSport also comes with both wireless and wireless noise-canceling headphones, each offering two peaceful, pain-free, and cord-free options.
A less expensive option is the Yoga Tune-Up Therapy Balls, designed to restore, rejuvenate, and heal all fascial parts of the body. Designed by Jill Miller, these balls get into the small areas of my back, hips, neck, and even soles of the feet that yoga stretching just can’t target. Myofascial therapy is all the rage right now, but its scientific backing proves that it is here to stay, keeping any body fluid, healthy, and flexible.
And of course, don’t underestimate the power of a good yoga towel—even more restorative yoga classes can get sweaty from time to time! My personal favorite yoga towel is the Jade Yoga microfiber yoga towel. Put it directly on top of your mat during hot yoga, or keep it nearby during your yin class.
9. For the Yogi Who Is In Search of the Perfect Mat
In my expert opinion, the Manduka ProLite is hands down the best yoga mat for any practitioner. Made of recycled, eco-friendly material and designed to last for years, this mat is sticky and grippy yet still lightweight enough that it is portable heading to and from the yoga studio. It comes in a multitude of colors, and you can choose from basic blue and black to almost any iridescent or vibrant tone you can dream up.
10. For the Yogi Who Who Needs a New Bag
Lululemon makes some of the bags for toting any of your yoga gear (or personal gear) around town. I have been depending on Lululemon for all of my travel and tote bags for years—I look to it for comfort, style, and a plethora of creative and useful pockets, making it one of the most functional brands for bags out there. Portability meets functionality: Check out the stylish All-Set Hobo for a multitude of uses (including carrying a yoga mat).
If your thing is simplicity, the Lululemon essential mat carrier tosses out the bells and whistles and has full functionality to easily transport a yoga mat and small personals along to a yoga studio.
Remember, there’s no time like the present to express your gratitude to the yogi in your life. Happy shopping!