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.
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. For women, their sports bra and skinny leggings 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.
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 triclosan-free and provides long-lasting antibacterial protection — without toxic chemicals.
Feature image courtesy of Jon Fife. Note: We updated broken links in this article in August 2020.