The 2015 Yoga Gift Guide

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 9.12.25 AM It’s that time of year again. The time when everyone goes crazy for Black Friday deals and you get stressed trying to find the perfect gifts for your yogi friends. Well, it’s also that time of year when Yoga Travel Tree releases the annual Gift Guide, jam-packed with awesome deals on yoga gear for the zen-friend who has it all. The best part is that our deals are good through January 1st, so no need to ruin all your good vibes on a single shopping day. Enjoy your family and friends this Thanksgiving weekend and shop from your couch, without a crowd.

Why do we do this? We want you to enjoy your holidays and have a little less stress during this sometimes maddening time of year. We’ve worked to get you some sweet deals from 16 sweet companies with similar missions and ideals to those of Yoga Travel Tree. Featured products are sustainably made, many companies donate to charities when you make a purchase, and everything is high quality and built to last, so your hard-earned money is well spent.

We hope you enjoy this year’s Gift Guide,


The Yoga Travel Tree Team


Finding ZEN

Finding Zen

1 & 2 Grizzy Love has been a staple in the Instagram Yoga Scene for years now, and it’s easy to see why. Her styles are unique, flattering to every body-type (including guys!!) and are a sure-fire hit with the yogi on your mind. Pictured above are the OM Dotwork Mandala Hot Short, and the Chakras Unisex Tank. With their meditative designs, they’re sure to help focus your thoughts and calm your mind. Use the code BLESSED for 15% off your entire order.

3 & 4 Yvwi Yoga offers high-quality, hand-made upon order yoga and meditation props and apparel. They’ve partnered with several organizations that help those in need, and a percentage of their profits is donated. The Eye Pillow above is filled with both organic flax seed and organic lavender, perfect for meditation in savasana.  The Bolster is the perfect height and support for seated meditation or breathwork, helping to keep the spine long and the lungs open. Use the code Holiday20 and recieve 20% your entire purchase.

5. Hot Chakras Yoga is an apparel and accessories company born and raised in San Francisco. All items are made by hand, and the high quality of the products is a statement to the time and love that go into the creation of each piece. The Mala beads above have 108 faceted agate beads, which slowly bring out inner strength, self-acceptance and self-confidence, perfect for morning meditation sessions. Use the code YOGATT for $10 off Mala Beads, shorts, leggings, capris and bras.



Starter Kit1. Fractal 9 is another instagram yoga staple. They sponsor challenges left and right, making them one of the most widely worn yoga pants in the insta-scene, and for good reason! Their bright colors and unique patterns make them the perfect addition to any yoga-wardrobe, and the fabric is lightweight and moisture wicking for the hottest of hot yogas. This year, this wonder-brand released a plus-size collection that focuses on the idea that yoga is for every body, and any practitioner should feel comfortable, confident and classy while in any pose. Receive 15% off your order by using the code GIFT15 at checkout.

2. Infinity Strap has been making waves in the yoga community lately with their unique and extremely useful yoga straps. Unlike traditional straps, there’s no extra material to get tangled up with while you’re in an already challenging posture. Our personal favorite is the Infinity Strap Stretch, which is made of heavy-duty elastic with just enough stretch to still feel stable, but let you access poses where a little extra wiggle room might be needed, perfect for newbies! Use the code TREE20 and receive 20% off your next order.  

3. Every yogi needs a yoga mat, and the Hugger Mugger Earth Elements Eco Yoga Mat is perfect for any yogi! It’s sticky texture, and lightweight design make it great for all yogis, from just beginning to advanced. Plus, it’s two-toned reversibility gives it just a pinch of sass, but doesn’t draw a ton of attention to your mat, or your poses. Hugger Mugger donates a percentage of your purchase to various charities, currently, they’re supporting The Family Place, a charity helping to build strong families with healthy children.

4. Mat bags are super useful for getting your gear to and from your yoga class and essential for keeping organized on the move. Good Marvin is a small team of yoga loving sewing masters who create beautiful and unique bags for yoga mats out of Pennsylvania. With many different styles, colors and patterns, every yogi is guaranteed to find the perfect mat bag. The bag pictured above is one of a kind, so don’t wait!  Use the code YOGATT20 for 20% off your order.

5. Devi Deva Yoga Blocks are made with love in Canada by a couple Canadian yogis and from local wood. Each piece is hand-printed, and ecologically created to give you an awesome yoga experience. Blocks are screened with a variety of designs, the block pictured above features Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. Practitioners new to yoga will love the feel of stability gained from a wooden block, as well as the ability to access more challenging postures. Use code loveyogalove for 10% off and a surprise gift with every order.


WORLD Travel

World Travel

1. Buddha Pants are the only yoga pants that pack into their pockets, making them perfect for backpacking, road trips and adventuring in general! Made from 100% organic cotton, these pants are soft, stay cool in heat, easy to care for, unisex, and come in tons of fun colors and patterns. The two styles pictured are the Savannah Winter, and Savana Flair. Use the code YogaTravelTree at checkout and recieve $20 off your order!

2. The Yoga Travel Tree Gift Card is the perfect gift for the travel-loving yogi in your life. With yoga retreats and teacher trainings all over the globe, a Yoga Travel Tree gift card is a great way to help your loved one see the world. Upcoming retreats include Thailand, India, Bali, Italy, Kilimanjaro and Peru! Gift cards are available in any amount, so give the gift of adventure this holiday season, and help someone have the experience of a lifetime!

3. An Audible Yoga Membership includes hundreds of yoga classes at your fingertips, anytime, anywhere. Audible Yoga is an online database of audio yoga classes, from different instructors, in styles from restorative to power. Classes can be done anywhere there’s room to unroll a mat, making this membership a great gift for travelers who love their yoga. Use the code YTT2016 for a discount on their one-year of unlimited yoga plan.

4. The YOGO Yoga Mat might be the best thing that happened to traveling yogis since Yoga Travel Tree… But really. The YOGO mat is super lightweight and foldable to about the size of a newspaper, so it takes up only a fraction of the space a traditional mat does. They’re also made with eco-friendly materials so your mat doesn’t ruin the planet that you love exploring. Bonus: for every Restoration series mat sold, YOGO plants one tree in Central America through their sustainability partner, Sustainable Harvest International. Use the code TRAVELTREE and get 15% off your order!



Mat to Street

1. Yoga isn't just for chicks anymore… Well, it never really was, but no one told the media that. Yoga for Men is a small but mighty company based out of St. Petersburg Florida that aims to help guys feel more comfortable on the mat. Everyone should be able to reap the benefits of yoga, men included. The Bhujang Style Cobra Yoga Pants (pictured above) have a relaxed fit and jean-like appearance, so you can seamlessly transition from the mat to a coffee shop or out on the town.

2. GrizzyLove makes men's clothing too, and it's just as stylin as the lady versions! Her materials are super soft, and with trendy styles like crop-tops and high-waisted shorts you can flow from the mat to the club with ease. Use code BLESSED at checkout and recieve 15% off your order.

3. Anything LVR is an amazing addition to your yoga-wardrobe. They use Eco-friendly organic materials and their process is just as earth friendly. The soft fabric of the Dip Dyed Organic Scarf will keep you warm from Savasana to wherever your feet might take you, and you’ll look oh so chic carrying your mat around town. Use the code YOGATRAVELTREE25 for 25% off your order.

4 & 5 If you're a regular follower of the Yoga Travel Tree Blog, you’ll know that we freaking love Onzie. They basically rock our socks right off. Their styles never cease to impress, and their latest line, the Electric Light Collection, features sweet new patterns that will look just as cute on your mat as they would with a pair of pumps. Above, the Triangle Bra and Motopant in Black Mesh are all the rage. Use the code TRAVELTREE20 for 20% off your order.



Yoga Badass

1. Sankalpa Yoga Mats are one part yoga mat, one part work of art, and two parts freaking awesome. These Eco-friendly mats are sure to inspire your downward facing dog, and help you find your inner calm. This isn't your run of the mill yoga mat company either. Each mat is designed by an individual artist to represent an individual yogi, making each design an actual piece of art. Best of all, every purchase of a mat supports the yoga community directly by benefiting both the yogi the mat represents, and the artist who created the design. How cool is that?! Use the code TravelTree25 for 25% off all products on the website.

2. LVR’s Fold Over Yoga Capris are definitely the next step in yoga pants. Far from the see-through synthetic counterparts, these organic gems out-perform and out-style the completion with far less of an impact on planet earth. They’re super soft, and sure to stay in place through the toughest of flows. Use the code YOGATRAVELTREE25 for 25% off your order.

3. Keeping the ladies in place while inverted is a challenge. Seriously, it can be harder than titibasana. Thankfully, Hot Chakras Yoga Tops are both cute, functional and flattering. Use the code YOGATT for 10$ off all bras, leggings, capris, shorts and mala beads.

4. Yoga for Men has done it again with their Bhujang Style Slim Yoga Pants. A far cry from the ‘meggings’ of late, these pants are high-functioning, without being constraining. They’re both flattering and comfortable. In these, you’ll be ready for a day on your mat, and a night on the town.

5. Good Marvin’s large style yoga bag is perfect for the seasoned yogi: it's big enough to fit all your props, and stylish enough to carry around town. With a ton of styles and patterns, every yogi can find the perfect mat bag from Good Mavin. Use the code YOGATT20 for 20% off your order.


Want more ideas? Check out the 2014 and 2013 versions of the Gift Guide!


Stuff We Love: the Dharma Yoga Wheel Review

FullSizeRender 17If you're at all involved in the Instagram yoga scene, you've probably seen the Dharma Yoga Wheel. It's the new prop on the block, and it's already one of the most popular yoga-objects seen on the social media platform. For good reason. It's versatility is helping with the boom. It comes in a variety of sizes, and is being used by newbie yogis, and experienced practitioners alike to deepen backbends and loosen up the spine. The PVC version is sturdy, made of PVC composite and covered in yoga-mat material for optimum traction and stability.


The Backstory

The following is the history of the Dharma Yoga Wheel according to the company's homepage.DYW4

The company was founded by Dov Vargas and Raquel Vamos in August 2014.  The wheel is manufactured in the U.S and is now being sent around the world.  When the company first began Raquel and Dov never imagined it would grow the way that it has.  This revolutionary wheel is specifically designed to match the contour of the spine and help aide in back bending for all athletes and house holders.  [Dov and Raquel] have worked hard to keep improving the wheel and now the company is going toward an environmentally friendly product.  The new Eco wheel will be released in November and the team couldn’t be more excited for the growth and expansion of the Wheel.  You can find sequence charts on the website and a poster including 108 poses created by the founders of the company and a soon to be release DVD.  Dharma Yoga Wheel is the original and first wheel of it’s kind.  They have paved the way to be a new sector in the yoga industry.


Why the Dharma Yoga Wheel Rocks

As evidenced by the photos included in this article, my upper vertebrae seem to be fuzed and made of iron. Meaning: I have ZERO flexibility in my upper back. The Dharma Yoga Wheel allows me to focus on increasing flexibility in my iron-spine, and lets me access poses that would otherwise be completely off-limits to me in my yoga practice. Is this dangerous? Not at all if you know how to listen to your body. The Wheel provides a stable base for deep backbends, letting you relax into the postures rather than flighting against feeling like you're going to collapse.

[bctt tweet="The Dharma Yoga Wheel allows me to focus on increasing flexibility in my iron-spine."]


Why it's probably better than a block

At least for some postures.DYW6

The Wheel is round (duh) which enables it to better fit the curves of your body. Whether you're using it under your leg, or under your sternum, it's going to be more comfortable that a rectangular block. It's also textured like a yoga mat, so when you're using it on your sticky mat, ultimate stability occurs, letting you push/pull yourself a little bit deeper into your challenging pose.


It's also extremely versatile. It's equally valuable in balance postures as backbends, and you can get creative and use it in any number of other ways.



Meet the Reviewer:


Sarah Monk

Sarah’s Activities: An all around athlete and cardioholic, Sarah’s workouts DYW2include swimming, spinning/cycling, running, yoga, CrossFit, weightlifting and anything else that’s difficult. You can expect that her workout apparel get’s put through the ringer.


The Review:


First Impression:

Holy crap this thing is STURDY, and much heavier than I expected. It's made of heavy-duty PVC and covered in yoga mat material for traction. I'm pretty sure my dad could safely use this thing, and he's a real big guy.




This is by far the best yoga prop I've ever used. No lie.DYW5

I'll start by saying that I freaking LOVE backbends. They're my jam. The only problem area I have is my iron upper back, and the Yoga Wheel is amazing at targeting any area of your spine that might feel a little tight. You've probably noticed that throughout this article there are images of poses with and without the Wheel's assistance. Consistently, the poses with the Wheel gave me a deeper stretch without straining to keep balance or break form. I was actually able to relax into Hanumanasana and stretch my hamstrings safely rather than feeling like my groin was going to give out. I could focus on opening up my upper back in Fish Pose without risking damage to my wrists and forearms.

[bctt tweet="Poses with the Wheel gave me a deeper stretch without straining to balance."]

I think the Dharma Yoga Wheel has a place in every yogi's practice, either as a the focus of your practice or as aDYW3 supplemental tool. Because of it's versatility, it can be used for many directions of movement, not only backbends. I've seen it used in arm balances and I've seen it stood on in balancing postures. I tested it in seated forward bend and it behaved exactly like a yoga strap, but with more rigidity and strength.

There are hundreds of ways to use this prop, and with so many creative yogis using it and posting their poses on Instagram, the options are pretty much limitless.

Score: 10 out of 10



Interested in learning more, learning how to use or ordering a Dharma Yoga Wheel? Watch the video below for a short tutorial to get you started, and be sure to check out the company website and all of your wildest dreams might come true.


Yoga In The News: Current Events in the Yoga World

In addition to bringing you some killer yoga excursions, travel opportunities, and ways to amp up your asana, we at Yoga Travel Tree like to keep you in the loop of whats going on in the Yoga world.  Here are some headlines you may have missed:

Silent Disco Yoga

Picture this.  You walk into a studio, crazy black light and neon surround you.  You’re given a pair of wireless headphones that are not only going to have your teacher on the other end, whispering the flow for your upcoming vinyasa flow class.  Theres also an in-house DJ about to drop some serious beat in your ears while you rock your asana off in one of the coolest contemporary yoga classes to date.  The company behind the magic is Sound Off, and they are bringing this new style of Yoga across the country.  From a pop up inflatable studio in Manhattan, they’ll be visiting cities like Chicago and Las Vegas in the near future.  Check their website out here.

Huffington Post’s Dickipedia:  Bikram Choudhury 

We recently did an article on this extravaganza, you can find it here!  Long story short, Bikram Choudhury, founder of Bikram Yoga has earned his spot in Huffington Post’s new “Dickipedia” series, a video encyclopedia of people around the world making waves in their industries.  The wrong waves, obviously.

Yoga In The Big Leagues:

Yoga has been rising in popularity among many sports teams, and now some stadiums across the country are starting to host enormous yoga classes to give yogis and yoginis a chance to practice where the pros play.  Instructors from YogaWorks in LA launched a class in Dodger Stadium that included entry to the field after a ball game and your very own Dodger Yoga mat.  Other cities have been following suit, with Ralph Wilson Stadium (The Buffalo Bills) hosting Namastadium, a similar event that serves to raise money for a new Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, New York.

Fat Yoga? 

A studio in Portland, Oregon is trying to combat the stereotypes of modern day yoga by creating a venue where people of all body types can practice and reap the benefits of yoga.  Yoga For Abundant Bodies, MegaYoga and Buddha Body Yoga are the names of a few studios in New York focused on breaking the yoga image that’s ever so apparent on our instagram feeds these days.  In Nashville you’ll find Curvy Yoga, Heavyweight Yoga in Austin, and Big Yoga in Buckingham, VA.  Instructors at these studios aim to customize the practice for their clientele, something that a lot of teachers don’t know how to do in most traditional yoga studios.

International Day Of Yoga

The world's first International Day Of Yoga took place this past Sunday, June 21st.  The inaugural event took place months after the U.N. General Assembly officially approved the holiday which had been approved by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  Yogis from all over the world brought their practice outdoors to celebrate with one another at many of the worlds most recognizable venues.  These include Times Square in New York City, underneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and along Rajpath in New Delhi.

Transcending The Greek Debt Crisis Through Yoga

In Thessaloniki, Greece, hundreds of yoga enthusiasts have taken to this ancient practice in order to try and relieve the stress caused by the countries economic crisis.  It's common knowledge that yoga is quite possibly one of the greatest stress relievers of all time, but to see this implemented as a strategy to calm the people of Greece's second largest city is a first.

That’s it for now!  Be sure to follow the site for updates on what’s happening in the world of Yoga!


Feature Image Credit:  Jagrap


Namastadium 2015

  What happens when you have hundreds of eager yogis, yearning for the opportunity to practice together in one ginormous sweaty array?  You put them in a stadium.  On Saturday, June 6th, yogis and yoginis from all over Western New York filled Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the Buffalo Bills, and flowed in support of raising money for the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital of Buffalo.  Six teachers and 24 assistants led the class, all hailing from in or around Buffalo.  Last week I had the opportunity to speak with one of the brains behind the operation, Steven Procknal.  Based in Buffalo, Steve is a Baptiste-certified instructor who teaches everything from free outdoor classes in the heart of Buffalo’s Elmwood village, as well as Vinyasa Flow at Power Yoga Buffalo.

Yoga Travel Tree:  Congrats on Namastadium!  It sounded like an absolutely epic event with a huge turnout!  What was the timeline like for putting something like this together?

Steven Procknal:  The local Lululemon handled a lot of the events planning.  We paired up with Children’s Hospital, which is highly connected to the Bills.  This gave the event some pull, allowing the stadium fee of $25,000 to be waved.  It took about seven months to put together.

YTT:  How did you promote the event?

SP:  Promoting worked by the store [Lululemon], Facebook, and having 24 assistants and 6 teachers for the class.  That’s a lot of people you can reach.

YTT:  Would you ever do it again?

SP:  I would definitely do it again.  You need a team, dedication, and hard work as well as a little luck!  It went really well.

Registration for the event was $30, which included a goody bag and snack.  The teachers included Marina Mukandala, Catherine Cook-Cottone, Steve Procknal, Kathleen Engelhardt, Patrick Moltane, and Joann Wu. Buffalo isn’t the only city embracing the power of Yoga.  On May 17th, Dodger Stadium hosted a group class that included a ticket to a game and voucher for a free Dodger Yoga mat.  Not a bad deal!  Stay up to date on Yoga News with a new article each month featuring all that’s going on around the Yoga world!



Image Credit:  Chris Yunker

Bikram Yoga: Dickipedia Feature

*** Video's audio may be mildly NSFW, or you might want to put some headphones in.

Bikram Choudhury has been making waves on waves in the yoga community.  Now he’s officially been given a feature spot in a Huffington Post’s “Dickipedia”.

The Backstory:

Known for being the founder of Bikram Yoga, this yoga instructor and multi-millionaire businessman is credited for being one of the originators of hot yoga.  His classes are held in rooms with extremely hot conditions and feature a sequence of 26 postures (the same sequences, same order, every class).  In 2002, he attempted to copyright these 26 postures (that have been around for thousands of years), earning him a place in The Huffington Posts Dickipedia.  Aside from comparing himself to Jesus and Buddha, he’s been making waves in the news after several of his former students have made allegations of sexual assault during his teacher trainings.


In addition to these allegations, the video highlights Choudhury’s relentless ego, showcasing the fact that he owns numerous luxury cars, compares his man-parts to atom bombs, and makes women massage him, brush his hair, or else they flunk training.  What are your thoughts on Bikram Choudhury?  The father of modern day yoga, or a dude that simply needs to back down a few notches?




Image Credit:  Sombilon Photography

Announcing Yoga Retreat Giveaway!

We're giving the gift of travel!

One lucky yogi will be going with us to Costa Rica for free, and it could be you! With the help of some marvelous sponsors, we're able to set up an Instagram based loop giveaway that will change someone's life.

That's right, this is for REAL! The winner of this giveaway will enjoy all yoga retreat activities, food, and amazing adventures around Costa Rica, all courtesy of a group of yogis and heart-centered companies.

Enter between June 16th and 18th for a chance to win a Yoga Travel Tree Yoga Adventure Retreat to Costa Rica valued at over $2,000!

This giveaway is open to any yogi with valid passport and who has the ability to travel to Costa Rica!

How it Works, and How to Enter

This is a loop giveaway! What does that mean?

  1. Begin with any sponsor
  2. FOLLOW them on Instagram
  3. FIND the giveaway image on their Instagram account
  4. LIKE this post
  5. TAP on the photo to see where to go next
  6. OPTIONAL: For additional 3 entries under your name, tag 3 REAL friends in the comment section. You can also tag 5 friends for additional 5 entries. (No celeb, giveaway hosts, or fake accounts allowed or your entry will be disqualified.) Once you've made your way back here, you have completed your entry!

Please remember YOU MUST FOLLOW EVERYONE IN THE LOOP TO QUALIFY. We will be triple checking that everyone is followed by the winner!

All entries must be submitted by June 18, 10 PM PST. We ask that PRIVATE accounts are made PUBLIC during the giveaway in order to be entered.

The winner will be announced on June 22, we thank you in advance for your patience while we verify all the entries. Fake or Giveaway-Only accounts will be disqualified. We truly appreciate your support! Good luck!


  • Friends and family of loop hosts/sponsors are not allowed to enter.
  • Accommodation is double occupancy.
  • Giveaway only applies to the September 27-October 4, 2015 Yoga Adventure to Costa Rica.
  • International winner must have a valid passport to travel.
  • Must be 18 to win.
  • Winner may be responsible for additional taxes/fees/non-included meals/other exclusions listed on the Yoga Travel Tree website.
  • Airfare to Costa Rica not included.
  • Per Instagram rules, we must mention this is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm they are 18+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram's term of use.

The Lovely Sponsors

We'd like to say a special thanks to the following sponsors, without them we would never be able to give the gift of travel during this giveaway!


















Trip Details

8 Days, 7 Nights Yoga Adventure Retreat to Costa Rica

With Rima Jomaa & Yoga Travel Tree

September 27-October 4, 2015

Do yoga every day, volunteer with the local community, snorkel with turtles, hike through waterfalls, do SUP yoga in the ocean, relax on serene beaches, and so much more on this Yoga Travel Tree Adventure around beautiful Costa Rica!

When you think of stunning landscapes, lush rainforests, unique wildlife, and pristine sand beaches, Costa Rica should spring to mind. This compact, 7-Day experience allows you to see the natural beauty of this country for yourself, while enjoying invigorating and relaxing yoga practices daily. We guide you from the city of San Jose to the beaches and jungles of Jaco, Montezuma and Santa Teresa, covering a wide variety of local experiences along the way. A guided hike to Montezuma’s waterfalls, learning to cook the local cuisine, and time to laze on private beaches provide the perfect accents for your discovery of Costa Rica’s splendors.

And no Yoga Travel Tree experience is complete without the opportunity to give back to these amazing communities. We’ll spend a day getting our hands dirty during a Seva, or selfless service, project in the town of Santa Teresa.

To learn more about the trip, see the itinerary, meet our lead instructor Rima, and more, click the banner below and visit the Costa Rica Retreat Page!

Costa Rica


Nepal Earthquake Relief: How to Help and What You Need to Know

Image Credit: United Nations Development Programme


Last weekend, Nepal faced one of the most devastating natural disasters in recent years: a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the center of the country near the capital of Kathmandu. At the time of this writing over 5000 people have lost their lives, more than 11,000 people have been injured and 8 million people have been affected, over a quarter of the population. Aftershocks are still causing new damage four days after the massive earthquake. 

Earlier this week the Better Business Bureau released a list of charities and relief organizations that meet all 20 BBB Charity Standards and indicate that they are collecting contributions to assist Nepal relief efforts. We want to help share this list with the world so that help and disaster relief successfully reaches those in need in Nepal and the surrounding region affected by this tragedy.

If you've been considering a donation, now's the time. Aid received within the first few weeks can save the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands of people, but only if it gets there. By giving to one or more of the charities below you can be assured your donation is going where it's needed and where it will do the most good. 

The following list and tips for giving are directly from the Better Business Bureau's website.  


Across the world, relief and development organizations and governments have begun responding to the earthquake in Nepal.  American charities have also begun accepting donations to assist in the region.  Before you choose a charity to give to, take a look at our tips for giving to this type of cause (below) and remember to check out the charity on

BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers donors these tips for disaster relief giving:

Be cautious when giving online.

Be cautious about spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. If you want to give to a charity involved in relief efforts, go directly to the charity’s website.  In response to Katrina and Haiti earthquake , the FBI and others raised concerns about websites and new organizations that were created overnight, allegedly to help victims.

Rely on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating a charity.

Be cautious when relying on third-party recommendations such as bloggers or other websites, as they may not have fully researched the relief organizations they list. The public can go to to research relief organizations and other charities to verify that they are accredited by the BBB which means they meet the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.

Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims. 

Despite what an organization might claim, charities have fund raising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at a minimum, a processing fee. If a charity claims 100 percent of collected funds will be assisting earthquake victims, the truth is that the organization is still probably incurring fund raising and administrative expenses.  It may use some of its other funds to pay these costs, but the expenses will still be incurred.

Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas.

Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly.  See if the charity’s website clearly describes what the charity can do to address immediate needs.

Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. 

Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations.  If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region. Or, at a minimum, check out the ultimate recipients of these donations to see whether they are equipped to provide aid effectively.

Gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations. 

In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need – unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid properly. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.


ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE: BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) is a standards-based charity evaluator that seeks to verify the trustworthiness of nationally-soliciting charities by completing rigorous evaluations based on 20 holistic standards that address charity governance, effectiveness reporting, finances, fund raising, appeal accuracy, and other issues. Learn more about the 20 BBB Charity Standards and about local charity review at local Better Business Bureaus at


Stuff We Love: Nina.B.Roze Heart Butt Yoga Pants

Just in time for Valentines Day, we're bringing you a review of some especially love-filled yoga pants: the Heart Butt™ Capri by Nina.B.Roze. These pants have been around for a couple years now, and for good reason. They're durable, sexy, flattering and funky. A couple months ago I had the pleasure of interviewing the founder, designer and CEO of Nina.B.Roze, Nina Barenboym. As a special treat during this love-themed month, I felt it's the perfect time to release the interview to you, readers. So get a little peek at some of the forces behind Nina.B.Roze, and why we love the Heart Butt™ Capri like every day is Valentines.

The Interview

What was your driving passion behind creating Nina.B.Roze?

Since the age of seven, I always dreamed of having a lifestyle brand. In 2011 when heavily into fitness, gym, yoga/pilates, I noticed women were still working out in their old t-shirts, sheer leggings and then wearing these not so flattering outfits during their daily activities. What happened to being cute when you leave the house? An idea arose to create a fashion forward, unique and feminine collection for women on the go. A core collection of mix-n-match tops and bottoms that are perfect workouts and everyday.


Your clothes feature uniquely feminine aspects, but unlike many other clothing brands, they remain functional for fitness. What brought on this desire for the combination of fashion and function?

Fashion and fitness is a huge staple in our everyday lives. I wanted to create functional femininity for workouts. The signature design, the Heart Butt™ Legging is a great example of what the brand stands for. This favorite design and best seller is created to lift the booty and slim the body. With a technical circular pattern which enhances a beautiful heart shape around the asset, these leggings are flattering on every body type.


In your bio, it’s mentioned that the Victorian Era inspires many of your designs. What about this time period speaks to you?

There's something so elegant and regal about this period. I can spend hours looking at the details on a ruffled dress or corset and thinking how to modernize these details for the woman of today.


Does your time spent in Ukraine/Ukrainian heritage have any impact on your designs?

I believe so. As a young girl, my mom used to dress me in fashionable European outfits. I was her doll she dressed, so I as I got older I decided to dress the world.


You got your design start working for big companies like Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, and Target. What was it like deciding to leave them behind and start your own clothing company?

I worked for different design houses where we created product for these retailers. When it was the right time, I took a chance to start my own brand.


What was the biggest challenge you faced as a business owner, and what advice would you pass on to others who have interest in starting their own business?

One of the biggest challenges is that you have to be everywhere at once, especially in the beginning when you're growing your business. Everything needs your attention. My advice to others who are thinking of starting their own business is be smart, savvy and use the tools you have.


What is your favorite part of your creative process?

I love the design process. Creating a concept, playing with fabrics, trims and integrating this into illustrations/flats. I enjoy working with pattern-makers and seeing the garment come off the sewing machines for the first time. That's when the sketch becomes alive.


Where do you see Nina.B.Roze in 5-10 years?

I see Nina.B.Roze growing into an international lifestyle brand.


What are you doing to set yourself and your business apart from other clothing companies?

I believe in creating one-of-a-kind product that is not seen anywhere else. Also from design to production stage, we manufacture all product locally and ethically in Los Angeles.


What kind of impact would you most like for Nina.B.Roze to have on the world?

To inspire beauty, health and fitness. Our motto is "Sport Your Pretty" wherever you go. I want women to feel empowered to do anything they desire in their lives.


If you could do anything differently, would you?

Not at this point. Everything is where it needs to be.

Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?

I hope everyone is ready for the 2015 Collection :)


Our ReviewerSarah

Sarah Monk

Sarah’s Activities: An all around athlete and cardioholic, Sarah’s workouts include swimming, spinning/cycling, running, yoga, CrossFit, weightlifting and anything else that’s difficult. You can expect that her workout apparel get’s put through the ringer.


The Review

Heart Butt™ Capri

First Impression: The fabric is so soft and light, plus the colorStuff We Love: Nina.B.Roze Heart Butt Capri - is amazing. They have excellent seam construction, so no fear of rippage or splitting in the deepest of forward bends.

Fit: These make the booty pop! (which is saying something coming from my white-girl tushy) The seam that creates the heart shape is incredibly flattering, and the type of fabric does wonders for the legs. They fit exactly to size too, so a small actually fits correctly, and I'm sure all the other sizes are spot on as well.  The waistband rides exactly where low-rise jeans do, so you don't have to get used to a funky position.

Performance: These wick the sweat with the best of them, and the waistband stays in place so you don't have to awkwardly pull your pants up after every pose. In fact, these pants worked so well for vinyasa yoga that I felt comfortable doing an 8 mile run in them with no fear of chaffing, riding up, or riding down. The best part is they're so well made that I'm not afraid of tearing, pilling or distressing the fabric. Bonus: when I wear them I feel like a fashion model.

Score: 10 out of 10

Product images via Nina.B.Roze


If Gandhi Took a Yoga Class...

...He might be a little surprised to find everyone in spandex pants doing yoga in a 105 degree room. Some differences between traditional yoga and western yoga are stark, as comically pointed out by this video from that places the Gandhi of the early 1900's into a contemporary gym-style yoga class and hilarity ensues. "Namas-"


If you want to learn a little more about how we got from Krishna to Lululemon, check out this article on the evolution of yoga!

Stuff We Love: Alo Yoga #BeAGoddess

In the last few years, Alo has transformed itself from a cheaper, less-trendy-more-hipster, version of Lululemon, to it's own powerhouse brand. Alo is becoming known for sassy and out of the box designs that can be worn from the street to the studio with ease. Based in Yogaland USA, (Los Angeles), this company has hit the big time and now frequents the lithe forms of Instayogis like Caitlin Turner (actually, I'm not sure if she owns any other pants), Laura Sykora, Kerri Verna, Kino MacGregor and more. While Alo's clothes are definitely cute and make us drool for want of them, #TeamYTT thought it was time to investigate their functionality and fit. Two reviewers, both yogis and active athletes, put a couple of Alo's styles to the test to help decide if these will be your next yoga pants.




Our Reviewers:unnamed-1

Alyssa Kuzins

Alyssa's Activities: She's a yogi at heart who especially loves heated Vinyasa yoga, being outside in the sunshine whenever possible (especially in Pittsburgh), and all around fitness. She has dabbled in yoga, Crossfit, HIIT, ballet barre, running, and weight lifting. She is going for her 200 hour YTT from January-June 2015. She expects comfort and quality from her athletic apparel in order to enhance her performance and confidence!





Sarah Monk

Sarah’s Activities: An all around athlete and cardioholic, Sarah’s workouts include swimming, spinning/cycling, running, yoga, CrossFit, weightlifting and anything else that’s difficult. You can expect that her workout apparel get’s put through the ringer.




Alyssa's Reviews:


Gem BraAlo yoga gem bra

First Impression: An intriguing color-block design that will flatter all body types. The mesh adds a little sexy factor, and the crisscross straps are beautiful to show off those toned backs!

Fit: The mentionable longer silhouette on the bralette provided for a comforting, supportive feel/fit; however, despite the sizing chart, I ordered a size too small. As a 34D cup size, I definitely could have used a medium, but was unsure due to the reference of a 34” bust size being a S (this happens a lot to me).

Performance: Aside from the slightly off sizing on my part, this bralette covers nicely with nothing slipping out during your practice. You feel supported and lifted, and it absorbs sweat nicely.

Score: 8.5/10


Goddess Leggings

Alo yoga goddess leggingFirst Impression: WOW! Loving the graceful and sexy look of these danceresque leggings. The bold colors and contrast are fantastic, and the stitching is excellent (yes, I notice the stitching on all of my yoga pants).

Fit: Perhaps a bit tight, but they are performance fabric, so it’s just something to get used to. The option to roll the pants down past the ankle feels and looks GREAT with the scrunch action on the calves too! The fabric definitely slims the inner and outer thighs, and it seriously lifts your booty! Even my boyfriend noticed! However; the only downside was that I did not feel like the slimming factor was the same around the tummy; it felt like it was cutting me off in the wrong spot causing a little spill over, and I would have preferred the band to come up a bit higher for maximum comfort and confidence.

Performance: They don’t budge once they’re on, so no fear of constantly pulling up your pants in down-dog or any other pose. They also wick sweat very nicely. No embarrassing sweat marks either!

 Score: 8.5/10


Sarahs's Reviews:


Gem BraAlo yoga gem bra

First Impression: I really like the color and the mix of materials! The colored patched are more meshy (bye bye boob sweat!) and the grey sections are a wicking, more supportive fabric.

Fit: The larger-than-normal band is awesome support wise, and isn't unflattering to the tummy by highlighting the smallest part of the waist. I'm a 32 B, got a size small and I definitely could've gone with an XS and been a little happier with the amount of support provided.

Performance: As I've noted before, I like a little more support for the gals than many other folks, and this bra, while freaking cute, just doesn't have the strength to get me through my workouts. Or my day to day life for that matter. Granted, it does say "Low Impact" right in the product description. If you like that almost-nude feeling of freedom, you'll love this bra. For me, I need more oomph!

Score: 6/10


Goddess LeggingsAlo yoga goddess legging

First Impression: The color I got is amazeballs! I love the pattern on the top half and the grey ribbed leg-warmer look for the bottom. The upper fabric was actually a lot thicker and sturdier than I was expecting, and the leg-warmer bits not so much. Overall, they look like a really solidly built pair of yoga pants.

Fit: A little bit tight in the waist, but the legs are totally perfect fit. I got a size small, and I'm pretty small, so you might consider sizing up if you want to avoid the dreaded mini-muffin top. I just watched Black Swan, and I'm instantly reminded of the long leg warmers the dancers wear, which makes me feel super graceful no matter how many times I fall out of side plank. I love the length of the pants, I'm tall for a small person (5'8") and often I get the high-water look with pants. These suckers wrap all the way around my heel and I LOVE it.

Performance: I totally understand now why the top half is sturdy and the leg-warmer bits are a little on the thin side: slippage and heat control. These pants stay put! No need to adjust mid yoga class, just keep on flowing. The thinness of the legs allows for more air to circulate, so it actually feels like your almost wearing shorts during a vigorous practice. The sweat wicking properties work like a charm, and I feel like a total badass ballerina whenever I #strikeapose.

Score: 9/10

Product Images via Alo