I love yoga. The practice changed my life about 20 years ago, and it’s been my exercise of choice since then. If I do a few yoga classes a week, my back doesn’t hurt and stress kind of rolls over me, rather than rocking my entire world. And I do get excited about yoga gear—especially when it’s sustainably made, like these essentials. Whether you’re new to yoga or overhauling your practice gear, take a look at these five essentials.
The primary yoga gear essential is a mat. Even if you’re contemplating your first class—bring your own. Studio lenders are usually stinky and slippery, so if it’s your first class you might be tempted to give up on the practice altogether. I love the lightweight Thinksport Yoga Mat, which is free of BPA, PVC, lead, phthalates, dioxins and other baddies. It’s also 50% thicker than most yoga mats, which gives it just the right amount of padding without impeding balance. ($39.99)
You need the right clothes. Although I have seen people practice in jeans, there is nothing worse than wedging your body into crow only to realize the back of your pants has slipped down in the process and the rest of the class has seen more of your derriere than you intended. If you’re a guy, Yogiiza martial arts-inspired yoga pants are flexible enough for serious movement and chic enough to hit the streets. ($68). For women, their organic cotton sports bra ($38.50) and skinny leggings ($92) are made of gorgeous organic cotton from Peru with just a touch of Lycra stretch for wicking comfort. And they do great things for said derriere.
Yoga can be a serious workout, so you need to stay hydrated. Liberty Bottles put the plastic to shame: They’re totally recycled and 100% American made. And instead of BPA, these gorgeous bottles are lined with a ceramic-like glaze that keeps water tasting like water—not metal or plastic. These bottles are also free of BPH and phthalates, and the threadless capping system stops bacteria from building up. If you need a drishdi in class, the Sanskrit Om on this Sweet bottle can provide. ($28)
I always spray or wipe down my mat after class. Especially after a friend told me that she got a skin fungus on her midsection from walking through the studio, stepping on her mat, and practicing where she’d stepped. Ick. I keep a two-ounce bottle of Honest Company’s Hand Sanitizer in my trunk and spritz my mat down when I get out of class. It’s unscented, triclosan-free and provides long-lasting antibacterial protection–without toxic chemicals. ($4)
After class, I’m too spaced out to roll up my mat and fit it into a tidy little holder—I need a bag I can throw everything into quickly and walk out the door. Totes are perfect, and since I’m both an avid reader and a Sir Mix-A-Lot fan, this one makes me laugh every time I see it. Laughing yoga—that’s a practice too, right? ($10)
Featured on “TODAY” and “CNN Headline News,” among others, Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff is a journalist, consultant and sustainability advocate. The former CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World, Rachel was the co-founder of the online magazine EcoStiletto and authored a spinoff book, The Big List of Things That Suck. Today, she publishes MommyGreenest.com, because “you shouldn’t have to be a scientist to raise healthy kids,” where she recently published a free eBook, The Mommy Greenest Guide to Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond.
Feature image courtesy of Jon Fife