gift guide

10 Great Reads for Yoga Teachers

I love to learn and am addicted to books which is lucky for me since there is so much to learn as a teacher and student of yoga. Piled up on my desk, book shelves and even on my floor is my large collection of yoga, Ayurveda and healing books. Each book has taught me something invaluable and has shaped my yoga teaching and my practice on and off of the mat.
I know there are countless numbers of inspiring, informative and life-changing books out there that yoga teachers would benefit from reading. This list is not meant to be comprehensive by any means but is a list of my most well-loved books with the most dog-eared pages. Enjoy!

The Yoga Sutra’s by Patanjali translated by Sri Swami Satchitananda

If your a yoga teacher or serious student of yoga there is a really good chance that you have already read this book. Reading the Sutras is required by nearly every yoga teacher training program and for good reason it is the foundational text on the eight-limbed path of yoga most of us practice and teach.
I have four different Sutra translations on my self but this is the one I use most often.

Path of the Yoga Sutras by Nicolai Bachman

This book is a perfect companion to any Yoga Sutras book you choose. It is easily digestible and mindfully explains the key concepts presented in the Sutras in a way that is practical and engaging. After reading this book I felt connected to the Sutras on a much deeper level and begin living them with purpose on a daily basis.

The Yamas and Niyamas by Deborah Adele

This is without a doubt my most favorite and heavily dog-eared yoga book. If you're looking for a great guide to help take yours and your students practice beyond the mat, look no further. I use this book in my daily life and teach from it often.

Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar

For many this books is considered the bible when it comes to learning and teaching asana (poses). In this epic text BKS Iyengar, details over 200 poses, with descriptions that include how to do the pose, the benefits of the pose, contraindications and desired sensation.
I used this book a lot when I first started practicing, forgot about it for a while then re-discovered it recently. Bottom line is its a great reference that no yogi should be without.

Yoga Anatomy - by Lesile Kaminoff or Functional Anatomy of Yoga by David Keil

Every yoga teacher should have at least a few good yoga specific anatomy books. These are the two I reference the most.

Wheels of Life by Anodea Judith

This book is the perfect guide for understanding the energy body and diving deeper into the chakras. It provides detailed information for each chakra including how to optimize your chakras for better health, greater personal power and expanded awareness. My favorite bits of the book are the mediations at start of each the chapter.

Prakriti by Dr. Robert Svoboda

As a yoga teacher students often come to you with their health questions and concerns. This book is a good place to begin to build a foundation in Ayurveda. Having a basic understanding of Ayurveda not only helps you to support your students on a deeper level but can help you to better understand your students.

Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison

I have a few daily meditation and affirmation type books on the floor of my meditation space. After my morning meditation I’ll pick one up, open to a random page and soak in the the wisdom for that day. This book offers simple ways to integrate mindfulness and yoga teachings into your everyday. It also provides great inspiration for teaching and class themes.

Teaching Yoga by Dona Farhi

As a yoga teachers we are called on to fill many roles - more than just facilitating a safe and affective asana class. This book covers a range of subjects other yoga texts do not including, how to create appropriate boundaries, dealing with difficult students, creating a safe environment, charging fair prices and teaching with integrity.

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda

This is one of the first yoga books I ever read. Like most yogis I found it deeply inspiring and moving. It’s simply a great story. I bought the audio version and listen to on long flights, including my last trek to India. I have not seen the movie detailing Yogananda’s life but look forward to it.
As I said this list is by no means comprehensive but should give you a great place to start expanding your collection of yoga books. Please share your favorites!

What You Don't Know about Yoga Clothes...but Should!

Yoga as a practice has soared in popularity over the last few years, and so has the demand for yoga apparel. Some surveys even point to ‘yoga wear’ outpacing the growth of the practice itself. This essentially means that there are more people who wear yoga clothes than the number of people actually doing yoga! However, awareness needs to be raised throughout the global yoga community about clothing that is increasingly made out of plastic. While the serious yoga practitioner is conscious about their food, their carbon footprint, their holistic lifestyle and their connection with the universe, many are unaware or have been kept in the dark about the presence of plastic in yoga wear. We estimate that nine out of 10 yoga pants are made from plastic or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fabrics such as polyester, nylon and acrylic, and that is very alarming.

[bctt tweet="Nine out of 10 yoga pants are made from plastic or polyethylene terephthalate (PET)"]

Wearing certified organic clothing made from natural materials has huge benefits for the body, mind and spirit, as well as the environment. And that is what’s missing in the larger yoga apparel market. We made that our vision when we started Proyog, a certified organic brand focused on the serious yoga practitioner with styles inspired by 3,000-year-old ancient Indian designs.

During the two-year design process, we consulted hundreds of yogis across the globe. Ninety-eight percent of those we surveyed said they prefer to wear natural materials. This overwhelming fact motivated us to create a line that resonated with their core philosophy and was conducive to the practice of yoga. As a yoga practitioner myself, I believe yoga asanas should be done wearing naturally breathable clothes that allow the body to move freely and are gentle on the skin. Yoga clothes should not be constraining in any way.

Breathable fabrics let air in and out, keeping the body cooler and drier. Clothing made from all natural fibers and materials like cotton, bamboo, or hemp are best suited for this purpose. Another great benefit of natural fibers like cotton is that they harbor fewer bacteria types, thereby causing ‘less’ odor. In addition, cotton is naturally hypoallergenic and gentle on the skin. In fact, Proyog’s trademarked HyperBreath fabrics are made from naturally breathable materials, unlike the synthetic fibers used by many global brands. Our textile engineers and production processes have been pushed to the limits to help translate core-spun technology into yoga friendly fabrics - based on our mandate that plastic should not come in contact with the skin.

Additionally, the use of organic materials also ensures that we are not polluting the earth with harmful chemicals. When the conscientious and the serious practice yoga in organic clothing, they actually feel the difference in body and mind.

So the next time you go step into your yoga class, we’d like to remind you to test the difference between synthetic and natural. Make sure to check the garment labels in your yoga wear to see if they belong to the PET category. The simple choice in selecting clothing made from natural fibers will go a long way to enhancing the joys of a wholesome yoga practice. Remember that yoga is not just about getting your body in shape; it is about being free to be absolutely one with the universe.

[bctt tweet="Yoga is not just about getting your body in shape; it is about being free to be one with the universe."]


Autor Bio

Malika Baruah

Product Head and Co-founder, Proyog

From her early days of pattern-making under Pierre Cardin, to heading design at Levi Strauss India, Malika Baruah has been in the fashion retail business for over 20 years. As a design head, Malika has conceptualized and successfully launched nine brands in the India. Her experience is nothing if not remarkably diverse. Drawn toward natural and sustainable design, her Indian roots seem to find a quiet expression in everything she does. She believes that design in the fashion realm unites beauty with form and comfort, eventually reflecting one’s personality. Over the last few years, Malika has had her sights set on the online world. She runs Binary Bulb, her own a digital design agency in Bangalore. She is also a partner at Fisheye Creative Solutions, a specialized marketing communications company. Her love for yoga began in 2001, and she has been practicing ever since. Proyog is the inevitable realization of her personal and professional passions.

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,

Namaste,

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 Kit

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

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.

 

The Yoga BADASS

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!

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The Secret of the Perfect Yoga Outfit

  When practicing yoga, getting your yoga outfit right is just as important as getting your asanas correct! So, here we are trying to help you pick up the perfect yoga outfit for a productive yoga session. The best yoga outfits are those which let you forget all about them and there is nothing better than organic yoga clothing for this. The whole purpose of having separate yoga clothing for your practice is so that you can meditate without having to tug at your clothes every two minutes!

For those of you who think that the perfect pair of yoga clothes is not so important; try doing some upside down or sideway moves and see how imperfect clothing falls off you or all over you! Yoga enthusiasts out there already know that it is different from any other workout practice and we love and recommend banana clothing. It is comfortable, makes you feel confident, gracious and beautiful. Believe me, try it out and see the difference for yourself!

While we are at it, we also realize how it’s even more important for women to have the perfect clothing for yoga. Firstly, you need to make sure to get clothes that are comfortable and give you coverage. We stress on the importance of coverage because tugging at your clothes is not exactly the best thing to do while practicing yoga. Yoga clothes in stretchable material should work well but take care to avoid anything too loose with a plunging neckline. It is smart to pick up clothes with an inbuilt yoga bra within the yoga top for that much needed support.

As far as yoga pants are considered, pick up the ones with an elastic waist in natural fibers like organic cotton, banana or bamboo in light earthy colours. And, while picking up your yoga pants, make sure they are not loose and are perfect for your body shape. Going for Capri style pants is a great option because shorts can bunch up at your waist during upside down positions and become uncomfortable.

Finally, for those who need to run from the yoga class to office, we understand your plight but there is a solution for you too! Yoga pants can double up as business casual office wear quite easily these days! Especially when they can easily pass off as leggings. It is easy to keep your yoga pants discreet - make the transition easily by wearing them with tunics. Just be careful and pick your yoga pants in thicker fabrics like tweeds or knits in stretchable material for the best fit and look. We don’t need to tell you that accessorizing your look will definitely enhance the tunic legging look at office.

The prime objective of wearing appropriate clothes for your yoga is so that you can forget all about it and concentrate on what’s most important - the practice. So whatever you choose, ensure that it does not affect your postures and in fact, enhances them. So, happy yoga hours to all the yoga practitioners out there!

[bctt tweet="Forget all about your clothes and concentrate on what’s most important - the practice."]

Author Bio:

Tom Gartside - Founder, Creative Director of Carrot, Banana & Peach

Our legendary name and authentic yoga clothes and have inspired many people, yogis and athletes on and off the mat to stretch out, get fit and remain healthy in an eco-friendly world. Since we began in 1999 all our products have been crafted from natural based materials. We have pioneered our own blended formulas of bamboo, modal and organic cotton fabrics to provide performance or leisure benefits, which have gained the support of a world strong yoga community in the UK, Asia, Europe and parts of America as people have valued and changed from synthetic based products to renewable and natural based products.


 

Image: carrot banana & peach

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.

 

 

Performance:

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.

 

Stuff We Love: Onzie Etherial Collection Review

  We've been big fans of  Onzie for a while now, so of course we said yes when they asked us to review their latest collection!  The Etherial Collection is dark, stormy and sexy, with flattering patterns and fits to boot. They've succeeded in taking yoga style to the next level by introducing all new and innovative styles, but have stuck to their roots by giving the classics an updated twist. We suggest checking out Onzie's line of activewear, you won't be disappointed.

Watch the video below to see Onzie's gear in action as 26 LA yogis X-press themselves in Onzie's new video piece The A to Z of Yoga.

Yoga Poses: A-Z from The Onzie Crew on Vimeo.

Onzie products are always sustainable, durable, versatile and made in L.A. They’re designed to keep you dry though the most intense spin class, stay put during all those crazy arm balances, and hang in there with you though every mile. Read on for the Onzie Etherial Collection review!

At YTT, we like to keep it real. We’re not yogis who sugar coat our feedback, so what you read is what you can expect from these Onzie products!

[bctt tweet="Onzie has succeeded in taking yoga style to the next level."]

Our Reviewers:

Sarah MonkSarah Tree Pose

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.

  

 

Sarah's Reviews

 

The Dolman JacketScreen Shot 2015-10-01 at 9.43.24 AM

First Impression: Super cute and I love the color. It's heavier than I was expecting too!

Fit: Loose, cozy and warm. I would definitely pair it with a tighter-fitting bottom because of it's boxiness. But I have to admit to wearing this all day long as soon as I put it on. I felt super chic as I was lounging around my house...

Performance: This is what you want to wear during like, every Savasana ever. It's not so much for wearing during class than for wearing to and from the studio, and that it does with impeccable style and attitude.

Score: 10/10

 

 

Capri Pant - PinstripeScreen Shot 2015-10-01 at 9.54.19 AM

First Impression: I love the color! The stripes are a sort of metallic, glittery, shiny stuff. Rad.

Fit: As always, like a glove! They make the booty pop!

Performance: While these would probably be good for yoga, I wouldn't run in them like I would in other capris from Onzie. The glittery, shiny stripes look super badass and classy, but they're raised slightly from the material so they make a swish-swish sound where the legs rub together. Unless you have leg-gap, it's kind of annoying.

Score: 8/10

 

 

Bustier Bra Top

First Impression: The color-blocking is so cool, Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 9.53.51 AMand the colors are vivid and bright.

Fit: Only ok. I was expecting a little bit of shaping from the cups in this sucker, but there really isn't any at all, and apparently my 'ladies' aren't quite the right shape for this bra to fit like the photo.

Performance: Dismal. Leaning forward and inversions are a terrible idea. Yin (floor) yoga might be ok. The straps are super thin, so there's not much support, and the seams make for awkward wear under clothes. I would say only get this for Bikram/Hot yoga, and you might want to avoid if your ta-ta's are larger than B's.

Score: 4/10

 

Want to see more Onzie? Check out their latest collection here.

 

 

Stuff We Love: Yoga Clothes for Guys

 


 

Yoga is getting hotter by the minute.  With a 29% increase in participants from 2008 to 2012 and $27 Billion spent on yoga products annually, many yoga teachers around the world think this is only the beginning of the “yoga boom."  A practice that’s been steadily growing in the U.S., the myth that “yoga is for women” is quickly dying out.  More and more professional athletes, sports teams, and all around fitness junkies are giving yoga a try and falling madly in love with it’s benefits.  Due to this growing number of yogis (I’m talking about you guys), there are a few companies to keep an eye out for as they are truly changing the game in mens yoga attire.  Say goodbye to those old swim trunks, basketball shorts, and running T’s.  Say hello to a few next-level companies aiming to bring yoga clothes for guys into the limelight:

1.  Easton-West

Founded in L.A. by the rockstar yogi, hair stylist and entrepreneur Sean Phelps, this company was born as a result of Sean’s journey to finding the perfect pair of shorts.  These “dream” shorts would be the perfect cut, eliminate chaffing, and would be extremely comfortable.  He wanted a pair of shorts you could wear to yoga, during yoga, and after yoga.  Shorts you could live your every day life in.  When the search yielded zero results, Sean took matters into his own hand and launched Easton-West apparel (link website to title words).  Sean was kind enough to let us at YTT interview him and what his new clothing line is all about-take a look below

Yoga Travel Tree:  On your website you have a video talking about how you pick the fabrics out yourself.  Where do you find such beautiful and unique designs?

Sean Phelps:  Everything comes from the Downtown LA Fashion District…I use recycled fabric so we’re not contributing to more waste.  Companies throw out a lot of “scrap” material, so I go through and find fabric that fits the needs of what I’m looking for in a pair of shorts.  Then we make a few pairs, test them out, wash them, check for shrinking/wear and tear.  Once it passes, we typically run about 20 pairs of pants or shorts per fabric until it sells out.  Once it’s gone, it’s gone.  We pride ourselves on selling limited batches of clothing in order to keep the line fresh and different.

YTT:  Whats your process from start to finish when creating a pair of Easton West pants or shorts?

SP:  It’s long!  First we find the fabric.  Then I cut a piece.  I wash it, dry it, make sure it doesn’t shrink or stretch out too much.  Then I make a sample pair, wear it, make sure it doesn’t fall apart.  There’s a big learning curve.  When we first started, we ran into all kinds of issues…The lengths would all end up being the same for all sizes, so shorts were getting wider, not longer as you went up in size…One of my favorite parts of the pants and shorts are the spandex liner…Super soft and stretchy and designed for maximum comfort.

YTT:  Do you plan on releasing any sort of T’s or Hoodies in the future?

SP:  Yeah.  For sure, it’d be stupid not to!

YTT:  What are your plans for the future of Easton West?

SP:  Right now we are starting to merge with local yoga studios, which means slightly increasing the number of clothing we put out in each run.  We’re also planning on doing a style of swim trunks, something super stretchy with zippers thats made to go literally anywhere.

Check out the website for more.

2.  Pure Balance

Pure Balance clothing, founded by Portland-based yogi Patrick Beach, was created to build clothing for the active lifestyle movement.  With an emphasis on minimalist sleek designs, this clothing was created in order to allow anyone to build a style unique to their needs.  The clothing is made with an exclusive “PureMotion” fabric, engineered in the USA for an ultimate movement experience.  The goal of Pure Balance?  To bring a sense of confidence and awareness to all who wear the clothing.

Check out the website for more.

3.  Lululemon Mens

I know, I know.  The company constantly ridiculed for overpriced pants, that whole “see-through” pants episode, and the fact that they are practically monopolizing the yoga clothing industry made it to this list…However, I do need to say that aside from these instances, Lululemon IS trying their best to put out cool, attractive, and well-made apparel for men.  They are even going as far as opening up their own stores solely for guys.  I’ve had the chance to try some of the clothing Lululemon offers for men, and I must say although they seem a bit “overpriced”, the design and comfort is well worth the ticket.

Tops:  The 5-Year Basic V is one of their more affordable offerings.  I wear this shirt constantly, both on and off the mat and I must say it’s probably the most comfortable shirt I own.  What makes this purchase worth it is the fact it’s made to last 5 years.  It’s light, comfy, absorbs sweat, and looks plain great.  These are made in a few different colors that change with the seasons, so pick up a few and be prepared to never buy another shirt for the next few years.

Bottoms:  The On The Mat Pant is one of the slickest pair of pants I’ve owned.  Perfect for practicing in, these also look great on the street, and again are made to last a while.  It’s a toss up whenever you're debating dropping a $100 on a pair of pants, but realize this:  These pants will last a long, long time.  They're perfect for traveling, as they’re very light and are made of a material that won’t distort no matter how many down dogs you drop into on the mat.

4.  H and M

If you’re looking for yoga clothing on a budget that still fit the bill for being stylish, unique, and edgy, look no further.  H and M has recently opened up it’s online shopping experience for North America, and has a wealth of options that will allow you to rock your asana off both on and off the mat.

Tops:  Take this basic tank for example.  You can’t go wrong dropping 20 bucks for three of these 100% cotton tanks that allow you to practice in comfort on the mat, on a stroll on the beach, or when relaxing with friends.  They come in a variety of colors, perfect for grabbing multiple pairs to incorporate in your wardrobe.

Bottoms:  One look at these pants and you’ll notice they’re already styled similar to the open thigh, tapered leg silhouette similar to what you might find with a more expensive brand.  The fast drying, breathable and functional fabric has an elastic drawstring waste band perfect for keeping you comfortable in those inversions and arm balances.  These pants feature a mesh key pocket, side pockets and back pocket so you’re good to rock these before or after class.

Guys, the future is bright for mens yoga gear.  Keep an eye out as more and more well known companies begin the journey in producing top of the line yoga apparel that will keep you stylish, comfortable and inspired to go beyond your perceived limitations.


 

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Feature Image Credit:  Nicholas A. Tonelli

What, Why, Try: 4 Yoga Props to Deepen Your Practice

Image Credit:  Rachel A. K.


Look around any yoga studio, and you’ll find an arsenal of blocks, straps, blankets, bolsters and more. Just like us, yoga props come in all shapes, sizes, colors and forms. Figuring out how, why and when to use them can be a daunting task. Use the guide below to kick start propping your practice.

The Story behind Props

Props make yoga accessible and more achievable to beginners, and give well-seasoned practitioners’ that extra umph needed to take poses to the next level. Props aid us in keeping our practice safe; props allow us to refine our alignment, help us balance, and create space, length and support for us to deepen into poses. We use props to set ourselves up for success in our practice, to lend support while we build strength and flexibility, and to give us the confidence to take our poses to the next level.

1.  YOGA MAT

What it is:

A yoga mat is oftentimes the very first prop we encounter in yoga practice. A mat is a flat piece of non-slip textile, is generally rectangular in shape and is available in a variety of colors, designs, materials, and sizes.

Why We Use it:

We use a mat to keep our hands and feet from slipping out from underneath us as we move through practice. A good yoga mat offers plenty of grip to help keep us in postures until we build enough strength to hold poses without aid.

Try it:

Experiment with a matless practice by taking downward facing dog for a walk. Pop your mat down on a wooden, tile or firm surface of any kind. Settle into downdog in the center of your mat and spend five breaths here.

Walk your dog toward the back of the mat and position toes on back edge. Firm core and thighs, push down through hands, and step both feet off the back of the mat onto the floor. Hold for five breaths, and come to downdog in the center of your mat once more. Now walk your dog toward the top of your mat. Find strength in your shoulders, anchor through legs, firm your belly and place hands in front of mat on bare floor. Hold for five breaths, and release.

Notice what happened? Without a mat under your hands or feet, it might have been much more challenging to hold downdog. You may have noticed new muscles firing up to keep your hands and feet in position. Once you’ve aced hands and feet off your mat, you’re ready to try downward dog with no mat at all!

 2.  BLOCK

What it is:

A yoga block is a high-density cube (usually 9 inch x 6 inch x 4 inch or 3 inch, but more sizes are available) typically made of cork, foam, bamboo or wood.

Why We Use it:

Anytime our hands can’t comfortably touch the ground in lunges or folds is a great time to bring a block into the picture. We use blocks to refine alignment and help us maintain balance.

Try it:

There are a million and one different ways to use blocks. Here are two we’re sure you’ll love:

-Place a block under each hand in forward fold to bear the weight of arms and shoulders.

-Place a block just inside front foot in Triangle. Place bottom hand on block to stabilize your balance and maintain length in both side bodies.

In any pose we feel the need to bring the floor up to meet our hands (since we can’t always make our hands reach the floor), recruit a block or two to lend support. 

3.  STRAP

What it is:

A yoga strap is long, belt-like length of nylon, cotton or blend that has some type of buckle or cinch attached to the end.

Why We Use it:

Use a strap to deepen poses and achieve proper alignment.

Try it:

Hand to foot pose (standing, seated or reclined) is prime candidate for strapping. Practice using a strap in seated with one leg extended. Use buckle at the end of strap to create a loop just big enough to slide over toes. Position the strap on the ball of your extended foot. Firm top of extended thigh, find length in the spine, and gently pull on the long end of the strap to draw toes toward knee. Try in reclined and standing as well, and feel how the strap aids in straightening the spine.

Superhero Warrior II pose by positioning loop around the upper front thigh, tail of strap facing out. Create tension in strap with front hand. Guide strap toward butt to use as leverage to exaggerate external rotation in thigh bone, and feel a deepening into your lunge.

 

4.  BLANKET

What it is:

A yoga blanket is a woven 88 inch x 65 inch blanket made of a variety of materials (typically cotton, wool or synthetics) and is available in a variety of colors and patterns.

Why We Use it:

Yoga blankets are no one-trick ponies. Blankets are used to give us extra padding (think kneeling poses), to relieve pressure on joints, and help us deepen into our poses.

Try it:

Blankets can be folded and rolled nearly every which way. Enjoy blankets in one of three ways during Savasana:

-roll blanket up entirely from shoulder-stand height and place under knees for support,

-fold blanket in three (keep the folded edge long) to place under shoulder blades to create opening in the chest,

-or open blanket up entirely to stay toasty warm by covering your body completely.

Yoga props exist all around us. Walls, chairs, even other people can and are used as props in getting the most from our practice. A well-trained teacher, like the ones you’ll find on Yoga Travel Tree retreats and teacher trainings, can help guide you through the many uses and applications of props. By incorporating props into practice, we can safely support, deepen and refine poses while building strength and flexibility along the way.

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Stuff We Love: Onzie Winter 2014 Collection

While it's no longer 2014, below zero degree weather across the United States tells us that it's definitely still winter! Onzie asked us to review their 2014 Winter line, and we said heck yes! We're in love with their new patterns (chevrons are all the rage!), styles and fits. If you got some extra christmas cash, we suggest checking out Onzie's line of activewear, you won't be disappointed. Onzie products are always sustainable, durable, versatile and made in L.A. They’re designed to keep you dry though the most intense spin class, stay put during all those crazy arm balances, and hang in there with you though every mile. The 2014 Fall Line features new colors, patterns, products and designs, that are sure to wow. Personally, I think this line is the best one yet, so get your glam on during that Ashtanga class!

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At YTT, we like to keep it real. We’re not yogis who sugar coat our feedback, so what you read is what you can expect from these Onzie products!

 

Our Reviewers:sarah

 

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.

 

Katelyn

Katelyn Johnson

Katelyn’s Activities: Primary distance runner, secondary yogi, weightlifter, personal trainer, coach, and recreational athlete.  Katelyn’s workouts include running and weightlifting.  Anything outdoors is ideal.

  

Katelyn's Reviews

Sweatpant2843_zoom_1411258044

First Impression: These pants look super comfy! and you can’t go wrong with black, or have too much black.

Fit: Great! The drawstring ties tight without doing that weird bunchy thing and they stay in place. My one complaint is that ankle cuffs didn’t fit me right, they were slightly too big for my calfs and pulled up to where they fit the material folded over weird.

Performance: Superb, the waistband wasn’t going anywhere. They are really lightweight and great for hot yoga. Too light to lounge around in during the winter.

Score: 9/10

Spin CapriSpin Capri

First Impression: Love the bold, bright blue on black.

Fit: Couldn’t hope for better. The fit right in all the right places, no bunching or gaping along the waistband or around the knees. Waistband sat high enough I wasn’t worried about anything showing but not high enough to be considered “high waisted.”

Performance: These puppies didn’t go anywhere. They are also amazing to run in. Lightweight material kept me from feeling too hot.

Score: 10/10

 

Sarah's Reviews

Graphic CapriGraphic Capri

First Impression: Awesome pattern! I'm in snowy Colorado and the tropical design makes me feel like I'm on the beach in Hawaii.

Fit: Like a glove! They ride just in the right spot on the hips, so there's no weird bunching or bulges. They also do a fantastic job helping to shape the legs, so there's no need to wear a long tank or cover anything up, the booty looks gooood.

Performance: Stellar! There's no sliding or slipping, and constant readjusting isn't needed so you can stay in your zen through the whole yoga practice. They also dry incredibly quickly, so they're perfect for hot yoga.

Score: 10/10

Chic Bra TopChic Bra Top

First Impression: Cute back! This will never hold the girls in.

Fit: Actually really good! It's a little low cut for any forward bends, but it's comfy and more supportive than I first thought.

Performance: Not bad! Like I mentioned above, it's a little low cut to wear on it's own during anything crazy, but covered up with a higher cut tank or tee it would hang in there just fine. I definitely would not recommend anything high impact like running or hiking, but for yoga, spinning or lifting weights it's totally functional.

Score: 7/10

There you have it fellow yogis! Get your shop on this winter with confidence that the Onzie products you fall in love with, we love too! To keep up with all of their latest product releases, news, and fun stuff, visit the Onzie official FacebookPinterest and Instagram pages!

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All images via Onzie

 

6 Awesome Yoga Clothing Companies that Aren't Lululemon

So we have all heard of Lululemon, but honestly as good as my butt looks in those pants, I am becoming less and less impressed by them as a company. I still can’t believe their founder, Chip Wilson, actually had the audacity to blame the fact that Lulu’s pants rip and tear on the bodies of the women who wear his clothes. COME ON! And really, the material of the pants was defective, which lead to the sheerness of the pants? YA, RIGHT. [wp_ad_camp_1]

So you want to boycott Lulu and all their stand for? Awesome! Now, what brands should we buy if we aren’t going to give Lululemon all our cash? Here is the list:

 

1. Equilibrium Activewear

Equilibrium Activewear is family owned and operated and their goal is to bring the world the best activewear possible so that you look and feel amazing! Clothing that is functional, comfortable, durable and fashionable! All of their clothes are made with the highest quality Supplex ® Lycra ® fibers that is moisture wicking, fast drying, doesn’t wrinkle, shrink or fade. How awesome is that?!

 

2. Green Apple Activewear

The company kicks ass! Their founder Cristofer Smith has created many different brands, such as Avia and Golf Sport. In 2004 he decided to go “Green”and create all organic products that fit an active lifestyle. Thus he created Green Apple. These bras, tops, and bottoms not only fit great but are made of quality materials as well.

 

3. Nina B. Roze

Nina Berenboym, the founder has always had an eye for creativity and the arts, she was born in the Ukraine and when she was seven she created her first hand sewn dress! She has gone on to create her own line of feminine, “Victorian inspired” fitness wear. Each item is designed, created and made in Los Angeles. Their mission is simple: Look radiant while maintaining your balance and energy throughout the day.

 

4. Hot Chakras

Jessica, the founder of Hot Chakras, had the idea to deliver colorful yoga clothing not just to women but men, who were getting stuck with boring grays and blacks in the yoga studio. She now only picks the highest quality and the brightest colors of fabrics for her yoga clothing line. All of her clothing is made in a small factory in her hometown of San Francisco, California. Her goal is to create clothes that are so comfortable, breathable and beautiful that you almost feel naked!

 

5. Lily Lotus

These guys have created a clothing line inspired by a passion for living in full color, being creative and most of all, being comfortable. They believe that everyday can be extraordinary. It first began as a yoga only clothing boutique based out of Hawaii but now they also offer a collection of clothing for a “modern, active woman”.  They love color and want their clothes to reflect the wearer’s inner light and style. Not to mention their clothes are all made in the good ol’ USA! How awesome is that?

 

6. Elisabetta Rogiani

Elisabetta, born in Italy, has always been creative since her time as a design school in Rome. She believes that creativity starts with the fabric and that’s why she uses only the highest quality of material. She has a signature “ER-lux” fabric that has a cotton feel but advanced fiber technologies, such a moisture wicking, fast drying, and four-way stretching. Her life’s pursuit is to create the “Perfect Pant”.

 

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