Short of a solid eight hours of sleep and a hot stone massage, few things leave me feeling as relaxed as a yoga session. I’ve been plagued by back issues since college and the only time I feel pain-free is when I’m in a yoga groove. Keeping up with a regular practice is one of the best ways to protect myself from injury and that nagging back pain. It also gives me a solid energy boost without needing a cup of joe or an ice cold diet soda (remember, yoga is about not judging.)
Between a full-time job with a commute and two kids with busy schedules, making time for yoga is hard, so I’m always looking for ways to persuade myself. One of my main motivators is to treat myself to yoga gear I love. Because if I love it, I’ll want to wear it to yoga—which means I’ll start doing yoga on the regular. It doesn’t hurt that the ongoing boom in athleisure has made it okay to wear yoga pants all day.
In honor of International Yoga Day, we’ve scoped out some of our favorite clothes and gear. Treat yourself to something you love and get on the mat, stat. Shavasana is calling.
The Capri Legging
Capri leggings are my jam in the summer. They’re more flattering than shorts and cooler than full-length pants. Soft and moisture wicking, this pair from Gaiam has fun criss cross accents on the ankles. The pants also have a higher back so you get full solid coverage—no matter what pose you’re in.
The Full-Length Legging
Just about every yoga lover has a basic pair of black pants which is why it’s fun to mix it up on the mat with something more playful. Enter these purple to pink ombre cuties from Flexi Lexi. Besides reminding you of a beautiful sunset, these super soft, silky leggings feel like a second skin.
The Yoga Mat
What should you look for in a yoga mat? For starters you want one that’s free of harmful chemicals. You also want something durable with extra cushioning that’s kind to your knees. And a cute design doesn’t hurt.
The “Inner Peace” reversible mat from Gaiam is all of these things. Besides a pretty pattern on both sides, yoga lovers will appreciate that it’s extra-thick. It’s also “6P free”—meaning it doesn’t contain the six most harmful phthalates.
The Sports Bra
A solid sports bra is a great investment and this Maduka cross strap bra is a favorite among yoga lovers. Made with soft stretch fabric, it gives you full support on the mat. One of my biggest pet peeves is buying a sports bra that is too tight around my rib cage. The Manduka is snug enough around the rib cage while also giving you room to breathe. The criss-cross straps on the back are super cute, too.
The Essential Oil
Ever since my favorite yoga teacher used essential oils in her class during Savasana. I’ve been hooked. Alexa Silvaggio, a yoga instructor and retreat leader based in New York City and Los Angeles, swears by Aetos Essential Oils. On top of being organic (which is hard to find in an essential oil), they’re also non-GMO. Not only does this essential oil last a while but a little goes a long way. Try peppermint as a pick-me-up if you’re feeling sluggish before class or lavender for final resting pose.
The Travel Mat
Yoga retreats are all the rage right now and one day I swear I’ll be doing yoga on a remote Caribbean island. Until then, I’m all about making yoga a part of my vacay routine no matter where we go. My 7-year-old daughter loves doing poses with me when we’re at the beach or in our hotel suite.
Bringing my bulky everyday yoga mat on vacation isn’t an option which is why investing in a lightweight easy-to-pack mat is a no brainer. This mat from Manduka is super light—it weighs less than two pounds and easily folds into a backpack or suitcase. Made from durable natural tree rubber, it also provides an excellent grip.
The Yoga Mat Cleaner
How many of you actually take the time to clean your mat after yoga class?
Umm, eww, that’s what I thought. Here’s the thing: Most yoga teachers recommend wiping down your mat after every yoga class. That’s right, you should be spritzing your mat with a non-toxic cleaner all. Of. The. Time.
This cleaner from Asutra is organic and kills germs, bacteria and fungus with every use. It comes with a microfiber towel you can use after each session or for a deeper clean. Water-based with essential oil infusions, it comes in calming citrus, peaceful lavender, energizing peppermint or uplifting eucalyptus.
Every yogi needs a solid tank that gives you coverage no matter what pose you’re in along with the support of a sports bra. This lightweight top has an open back that feels freeing as you go through your poses. Plus, flattering princess seams make it look like it was tailor made.
For years I’ve used foam blocks but recently tried cork, which is firmer and provides a little more stability than foam. While foam is great when you’re looking to support your back, cork is a solid option when you’re trying to balance yourself in poses like half moon. It’s easy to grip and more eco-friendly since cork is a renewable, sustainable material. And it’s sturdier without being heavier.
Yoga straps are a must to help you deepen your stretches or stay aligned in a tough pose. I’m not that flexible and often have tightness in my shoulders and hamstrings, so a strap helps me get more out of each pose. I use a strap around the ball of my feet to open up my hamstrings—a solid every day stretch.
The OPTP Stretch Out Strap comes with a poster that shows you how to do 20 stretches—perfect for my achy back. When I can’t get to yoga, a few stretches with this strap help ease that lower back tension while improving my flexibility.
I don’t do hot yoga (when a towel is a must), but still love using a towel on my mat during a hatha or vinyasa class. A towel on my mat makes me feel like I’m on more solid ground and less likely to slip. It absorbs sweat and is more hygienic since you can throw your towel in the wash after every class. You can also use it over the mats at your gym or studio without having to worry about germs lurking beneath the surface. This soft yoga towel from Shandali is lightweight with a suede-like feel and comes in a bunch of fun colors.
I’ve always believed a yoga bag should carry more than just your mat. This bag is a workhorse with plenty of pockets. An interior pocket holds your water bottle and a zippered pocket lets you keep your sweaty gear all by its lonesome. Another zippered pocket holds your keys and phone. It also has a wide opening so you don’t have to force your mat into the bag.
BUY FROM: Lululemon, $58
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