review

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.

 

 

Explore Turkey and Get Your Yoga On Along the Way!

Image credit: Matthias Rhomberg


 

Located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey offers a unique spiritual journey for yoga enthusiasts.  I, along with a group of almost 30 individuals, experienced that unique spiritual journey first-hand on a yoga retreat organized last summer by Sun & Moon Yoga Studio in Arlington, Virginia.

Infused with centuries-old history, diverse cultural heritage and a beautiful landscape, our more than 1,600-mile journey took us to several amazing places, but I’ve listed below the top 6 destinations as a sample itinerary so you can explore Turkey for your next yoga adventure.

Image: Filip Knežić

1.  Start your journey in Istanbul

A natural bridge between East and West, Istanbul has been home to many civilizations, from Romans to Byzantines to Ottomans. Imprints of these diverse civilizations makes the Istanbul skyline an ideal backdrop for outdoor yoga sessions. When arriving in Istanbul, don’t forget to cruise the Bosphorus, a great way to adjust to a new time zone. After a morning yoga session, start your day with a visit to Spice Bazaar and awaken your senses further with hundreds of colorful flavors from all over the world. Complete your cultural immersion by visiting one of the many historical mosques.

2.  Gallipoli

Gallipoli is right at the Dardanelles Straits, which is also an important site for Australians and New Zealanders whose family members fought there during the First World War. Surrounded by ancient and contemporary history, our group held a sunset meditation for world peace and harmony atop remnants of a Turkish bunker at the tip of Eastern Europe right where the Dardanelles meet the Aegean Sea. 2015 is the 100th year Anniversary of Gallipoli Campaign, a perfect opportunity to wish for peace and harmony through yoga.

Once you are in Gallipoli, cross the Dardanelles by ferry to Asia and check out the site of the legendary city of Troy, an ideal location to have another yoga session on the soil on which Helen once lived!

Photo Credit: Lincoln McCurdy

3.  Temple of Athena

Assos, home of the Temple of Athena is just an hour drive from Troy. Our group visited the Temple of Athena right before the sunset. We held a meditation near the Temple of Athena, overlooking Edremit Bay and the Greek Island of Lesbos. Following our yoga session, we swam in the enchanting waters of the Aegean Sea.

4.  Hot springs in Pamukkale

Translating to “Cotton Castle” in Turkish, Pamukkale is one of the most fascinating destinations in Turkey with its white terraces filled with thermal water. Together with the nearby ancient city of Hierapolis, Pamukkale is a World Heritage Site. The ancient Roman baths in Pamukkale, where Cleopatra is

Image: Lincoln McCurdy

reputed to have swum, turned out to be the perfect spot for our group to experience how the thermal hot springs provide buoyancy to the body and ease the stretches of some favorite yoga poses.

5.  Cappadocia

Our group continued from the Aegean Coast to the mystical lunar landscape in Cappadocia in central Anatolia after passing through Konya, where 13th century poet and Sufi mystic Rumi’s tomb is located. Our meditation sessions throughout central Anatolia embraced Rumi’s peaceful poetry and philosophy, and we were able to squeeze in a live performance of whirling dervishes.

6.  Back to Istanbul

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 11.32.53 AM

To recover from the last bus ride, start your day in Istanbul with a restorative yoga session facing the beautiful skyline view of old Istanbul from a rooftop near the Golden Horn.

Continue your Istanbul tour at the magnificent Hagia Sophia, a true fusion of East and West. The symbols of Christianity and Islam adorn the walls of Hagia Sophia, which is now a museum. Topkapi Palace is another must see before departing Istanbul. Check out the living quarters occupied by Ottoman Sultans for nearly 400 years. Then experience centuries-old Ottoman culture at the Blue Mosque through the bright blue tiles that give the historic structure its name. After tasting Ottoman cuisine in Nar Restaurant, shop your way through Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s largest and oldest covered markets with 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops. Before relaxing with an afternoon yoga session, visit the Basilica Cistern from the 6th century and wonder how and why one of the Medusa pillars was placed upside down. End your day with a rooftop meditation listening to the night-time sounds of Istanbul. On the day of your departure, relax in a Turkish bath and enjoy a massage.

Air travel for the entire group was made on Turkish Airlines, which has been voted as the number one airline in Europe. Turkish Airlines offers direct flights from several points in the U.S. to Istanbul.

 

Amir Tahami and Annie Moyer, directors/instructors at Sun & Moon Studio, in collaboration with Lincoln McCurdy, a dedicated yogi and president of the Turkish Coalition of America, organized the spiritual trip through Turkey in the Summer of 2014.

[wp_ad_camp_2]

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 - www.YogaTravelTree.com 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

[wp_ad_camp_2]

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!

 

 

IMG_207i3

 

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

[wp_ad_camp_2]

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!

[wp_ad_camp_1]

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!

[wp_ad_camp_2]

All images via Onzie

 

Stuff We Love: Fractal9

Gracing the rubbery figures of insta-yogis like @LauraSykora and @RivkaYoga, Fractal9 yoga leggings have been gaining popularity for some time now, and for good reason! Known for their crazy-colorful fabric patterns, superb fit, flex, high quality, and high-waisted goodness, these leggings are taking Instagram by storm, and no doubt you’ll see a pair walking the streets sometime in the near future. [wp_ad_camp_1] Along with making extremely cute yoga pants, Fractal9 also makes a difference. Currently, 10% of sales of the Navy Polka Dot print goes to Save a Warrior, an organization that helps veterans readjust to civilian life using yoga. (more info below)

We got lucky enough to have the inside scoop on your new favorite leggings from the mastermind, designer and seamstress, Christine Ravel.

 

The Interview

Where did the name “Fractal 9” come from?

Fractals are patterns that occur in nature (snowflakes, leaves, etc) and since the majority of the fabrics I use have bright, bold patterns, I thought it fit well. My husband had the idea to add a number and we both liked 9.

Where are you based out of?

I live in Westminster, CO, moved here in April from Greensboro, NC

What was your driving passion, the big idea behind creating Fractal 9?

I've always had a very supportive family and group of friends who would encourage me to start my own business making clothing, or window treatments, specialize in wedding gowns, etc. but I could never fully commit to one single aspect of sewing because I love it all! But then I found yoga and fell in love with it so much that I knew this was my niche! I finally found something that would allow me to merge my two passions together, sewing and yoga!

We love small business, we’re one too! What are some challenges you face as a small business in the clothing industry?

One of the biggest challenges I face as a small business in the clothing industry is staying ahead of the game and anticipating the next trend. I would say half of the hours I put into my business is actually sewing, the other half is research and design!

Where do you see your company in 5-10 years? What are your hopes and dreams?

In 5-10 years I see my company growing and expanding into something I never imagined! It's been less than a year since I started Fractal 9 and already I've been able to quit my other job (sewing teacher) and focus on this full time, something I never could have predicted! I would love to one day own a small studio and hire a few people to work with me in expanding into greater things!

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

I think the biggest aspect of my company that sets me apart from others is my customer service. I have open communication with every customer and listen to their wants and needs. Every item in my shop is custom made, I have no stock on hand. That means each piece is completely customizable to your specifications, at no extra charge! After transactions have been completed I still ensure a strong communication with customers and even offer alteration services if need be. Plus since I am still working on a small scale with no employees other than myself, I think my customers love knowing that when they contact me, they're contacting the shop owner, designer, and seamstress!

Tell me about the Save a Warrior Project, and how you came to be involved?

Save A Warrior is an organization that provides a "war detox" for military men and women (active, veterans, and their families) struggling with the effects of Post Traumatic Stress. With a solid foundation in meditation and the experience of mindful awareness, SAW provides a narrative for how to live a fully realized life. My younger brother just recently left the Marine Corps after serving 8 years (3 tours in Afghanistan) and this program saved his life. He has a wife and baby girl so adjusting to home life again after being overseas for so long was extremely stressful. Panic attacks and depression/suicidal thoughts were a part of his everyday life until he had the a,aging opportunity to participate in Save A Warrior. I wanted to help support this wonderful organization so I released a special print (navy polka-dot) and 10% of all its sales go to Save A Warrior.

 

 

The 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 products!

 

Our Reviewer: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. Visit her Instagram page to see gear in action!

 

 

The Long LeggingsLong Legging

First Impression:  These are probably the brightest things I’ve ever seen in person! Brighter than when my brother tricked me into looking at the sun when I was 5. Ok, maybe not THAT bright, but pretty damn close!

Fit: MMMM… They make my butt look GOOD. These puppies hug the curves in all the right places, and they’re long enough to wrap around my heel to give that never-ending-leg look all yogis love.

Performance: They stay put! The high waist doesn’t allow for any mishaps like whale tails or plumbers cracks. The fabric is lightweight, moisture wicking (great for hot classes!) and doesn’t rub or bunch. The slick nature of the fabric make some arm balance poses a little tougher if you’re relying on the skin-on-skin stick.

Score: 10 out of 10

 

 

Sweet Cheeks ShortsSweet Cheeks Shorts

First Impression:  Call me old fashioned, but I love high-wasted shorts. The pattern is so fun and funky, and the drawstrings add a little extra flare!

Fit: Perfect! The drawstring let you adjust the length, so if you're feeling more modest they stay at about a 3" inseam. The waistband is also really wide, so if you don't love high-wasted shorts like I do, fold it over! They might be a little short for conventional yoga classes depending on your body, but I can see them fitting right in at a Bikram class.

Performance:  I was right, these are perfect for hot or Bikram yoga! The material stays dry even if you're soaking in your own sweat, and they're extremely light and breathable so you don't feel like you're suffocating wearing a ton of clothing.

Score: 9 out of 10

 

Braided HeadbandBraided Headband

First Impression:  CUTE! I love the patterns, you can get them to match your favorite yoga pants!

Fit: Actually I was really surprised that it fit really well! I have many problems with headbands: they give me headaches, they fall off, they slide up, you name it. This though, because of the braid in the back actually was really comfy! It didn't push my ears out, bunch funny or cause a migraine.

Performance: Awesome! This is officially the only headband I've ever used that doesn't slide backward during a workout. It's incredible!

Score: 10 out of 10

 

For more cute styles, including pedal pushers and all kinds of crazy-awesome prints, check out Fractal9 on Etsy!

[wp_ad_camp_2]

Best Yoga Books: Top Picks from 10 Amazing Yoga Teachers

With a plethora of astute literature by a gazillion teachers, gurus and yogis out there on the shelves, it can be daunting to know where to start your education into the language and intellectual depth of yoga. Here, I have collected a list of favorites from some of my yoga teacher peers from all over the world for you to peruse and enjoy! [wp_ad_camp_1]  

1. Ely Ruales

Instructor of Hatha and Therapy teacher training programs in Varkala, Kerala, India recommends, A systematic course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya published by the Bihar School of Yoga. She says it is “suited for those looking to deepen their spiritual journey and prepare the five bodies and pranas for the experience.” A couple of her favorites for meditation are The art of meditation by Joel Goldsmith and The Book of Secrets by Osho. On the topic of Ayurveda, she likes Ayurveda: A Life of Balance by Maya Tiwari and Pharmacy for the Soul, also by Osho.

2. Mahesh Chandra

YTT instructor at Ashtanga and Hatha Yoga Mysore Kerala in India specializes in Ashtanga Yoga and recommends Ashtanga Yoga: the Practice Manual by David Swenson. On the topic of Pranayama, he suggests Prana and Pranayama by Swami Niranjananda Saraswati. For Anatomy, Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff, and for more advanced practices of yoga, he likes The path of fire and light volume I & II by Swami Rama.

3. Joe Kara

Teacher and YTT instructor in Los Angeles, CA at InYoga Center in Sherman Oaks, CA and studio instructor at Yogaworks in Larchmont and West Hollywood, CA recommends Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice by T.K.V. Desikachar. Another favorite is Light on Yoga  by B.K.S. Iyengar

4. Angkana Srikasem

The founder at SAMsara Yoga and teacher of many disciplines including therapy and prenatal yoga at My Peace Yoga in Bangkok, Thailand. She keeps several books close at hand, including Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health by B.K.S. Iyengar,  Yoga for Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond by Francoise Barbira Freedman,  The Yoga of Pregnancy Week by Week: Connect with Your Unborn Child Through the Mind, Body and Breath by Mel Campbell. She also frequently references The Power of Ashtanga Yoga by Kino MacGregor.

5. Jenny Yoczik

Yoga teacher in Los Angeles, CA recommends The Yogi Entrepreneur: A Guide to Earning a Mindful Living Through Yoga by Darren Main. Jenny says, “It talks about everything from how to get a job teaching at a studio to how to create your own workshops, retreats & open your own studio. She also suggests Yoga Adjustments: Philosophy, Principles, and Techniques and Yoga Sequencing: Designing Transformative Yoga Classes, both by Mark Stephens. Jenny says Mark Stephens’ books help her continue to grow as a student & teacher.

6. Helena Mercera

Teacher at Endless Summer Beachhouse in Cape Town, Africa recommends Teaching yoga: Adjusting Asana by Melanie Cooper. She also recommends the Ashtanga Yoga Book – The Yoga of Breath by Lino Miele.

7. Nicole Tiska

Teacher in Wenzhou, China recommends Ashtanga Yoga: a Practice Guide  by Larry Schultz, one she "mainly uses with students and for quick review.” For more spiritual introspection, she suggests Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Thich Nhat Hanh which she finds greatly inspiring, especially on “tricky” days.

8. Lisa Jennings

Restorative teacher in Los Angeles, CA at Mission Chiropractic frequently references Judith Lasater’s book, Relax and Renew. For her favorite translation of the Sutras, she loves Liberating Isolation  by Frans Moors.

9. Maria Weber

Teacher at Seaside Yoga in Seaside, Oregon goes back over and over again to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and the Bagavad Gita. She especially loves The Living Gita: The Complete Bhagavad Gita - A commentary for Modern Readers. For the Sutras, she likes the beautiful text and illustrations in Gary Kissah's The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Illuminations Through Image, Commentary and Design.

10. Kristin Daemon

Owner at Seaside Yoga Studio in Seaside, Oregon (that's me) gets so much from the books her teachers, Ely Ruales, Mahesh Chandra and Joe Kara introduced her to, including Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Swami Muktibodhananda, Asana Pranayama Mudra Banda by Swami Stayananda Saraswati and a now worn copy of the Pocket Edition of Integral Yoga - The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Sri Swami Satchitananda, a great one to travel and journal with.

Several of these books were cross-referenced by multiple teachers on this list. It is a compilation purposefully gathered from teachers all over the world to give you a well-rounded (and yet small) sense of what is out there and a place to start.

 

Image via: Abhi Sharma

[wp_ad_camp_2]

Stuff We Love: Onzie 2014 Fall Collection

The Yoga Travel Tree team has been working with Onzie to get our readers real-live feedback on they're awesome and stylin' products. They shipped us some of their favorite products from the Fall 2014 line, and we test drove them so you'll know what's what, and what's not!  [wp_ad_camp_1] 

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!

 

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 Reviewer:

Sarah - www.YogaTravelTree.com

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 Reviews

X Back Fitness Bra Top

X Back Fitness Bra Top:

First Impression: Cute! It’s supposed to be Onzie’s higher-impact bra and the elastic definitely feels sturdier than some of their other styles.

Fit: Yep it’s sturdier! I can tell it’s going to keep the girls in line better than other bras. It’s tight, but not too tight, and the cross-back is adorable!

Performance: While it’ higher impact than other styles, this still isn’t a bra built for running. Yoga, spinning, pilates and lifting maybe, but for activities with a little more bounce I would leave this puppy in the drawer. It’s still got the awesome sweat-wicking power we love from Onzie products, which makes it ideal for heated yoga!

Score: 8 out of 10

 

Track Legging:

First Impression: These are so COOL! I love Track Legging:the contrasting colors.

Fit: Deyyy-um my butt looks good! Their contoured in the right places to flatter the booty, and the contrasting colors are places at just the right levels on the leg to create a flatteringly curvy illusion. They’re also long enough for my tall stature (5’8”) which is a huge bonus! No high-waters here!

Performance: So good! They stay in place, and the waistband is wide enough to keep all the junk in the trunk. They’re sweat wicking so you’ll have no second thoughts about going to any intensity/heat/style of class. And for your cross-sport yogis, they even stay put on runs! No chafing, sagging or adjusting to worry about!

Score: 10 out of 10

 

Graphic Legging:

FiGraphic Leggingrst Impression: The pattern. THE PATTERN. It’s awesome! The graphics are actually really detailed, and flattering where the images lay. The colors are unreal!

Fit: Like an extremely colorful glove! They hug what curves I have, flatter them, and are really comfy in the process of looking good! They’re also chic enough to help you look like you put a lot of work into looking fly, but you really didn’t. #winning

Performance: Unsurprisingly, these rocked my socks off. From the first down dog to the last handstand these puppies stayed put, wicked sweat and looked sick. In case you’re wondering, they don’t cause slippage in arm balances! They’re the perfect combo of breathability, wickability, functionality and high fashion.

Score: 10 out of 10

 

 

There you have it fellow yogis! Get your shop on this summer 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!

All images via: Onzie.com

 [wp_ad_camp_2]

Stuff We Love: Yogasana Yoga Mats

Based out of a suburb of Minneapolis, MN, Yogasana is a little company with a big mission: provide the world with eco-friendly, sustainable, travel-friendly, and durable yoga mats while preserving a centuries-old tradition in the deepest parts of India. Sound like a lot to take on? It is! And the team at Yoga Travel Tree backs up Yogasanas goals 100 percent. [wp_ad_camp_1] That said, our reviews are always honest, so you know what you’re getting into! Read on to see what our testers thought of Yogasana’s yoga mats.

These Mats are Unique.Yogasana Yoga Mat - www.YogaTravelTree.com

First off, Yogasana mats are unlike any we’ve seen before. While uniqueness doesn’t always mean the best experience, (Lady Gaga and the meat-dress, anyone?) in this case, it totally does. These mats are made from 100% cotton, by hand in India, by master weavers. The texture produced is both grippy and soft, offering stability and support in any pose. The more you use the mat, the better it gets. It break’s in with use, and unlike rubber mats, it doesn’t break down over time, stink, or come off on your hands.

The Most Sustainable Mat Probably Ever.

Along with being really freaking durable (these mats were designed to be used in the heat, sand, rocks, grass, sun, and more, and are guaranteed to last 15 years!) they have almost NO carbon footprint. Really, the only impact they have on the environment is the transportation used for shipping. Seriously, thats it.

These mats are made in the same way the first yoga mats were made, near Banaras and the birthplace of yoga. When they’re made, the sustainably harvested cotton is dyed with natural pigments, dried in the sun, woven by hand using looms that are free of electricity and with the same techniques weavers have been using for centuries. Did I mention how cool they are?

They Help Preserve a CultureYogasana Yoga Mat - www.YogaTravelTree.com

Yes, it’s a mat company, but Yogasana has a bigger goal: to preserve the dying art of weaving in India. The tradition of weaving dates back thousands of years, and for centuries it was an essential skill. These days, with the influx of mechanical processes and the overall development of the country, weaving in India is a tradition that’s fading at an exponential rate. Yogasana is trying to change that. By providing well-paying jobs for master weavers, and therefore demand for the training and honing of this skill, this little company is helping to make a difference in preserving one of the oldest traditions in India.

Ahimsa: Giving Back

One of our biggest values at Yoga Travel Tree is giving back to the communities who’ve touched our lives, and Yogasana shares this goal. Every time they sell a mat, a portion of the proceeds goes directly back to the children and families of the weavers who construct the mats. Learn more about the Yogasana Circle here.

Our Reviewers:

Sarah MonkSarah Monk is Awesome! - www.YogaTravelTree.com

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 gear get’s put through the ringer.

 

 

Katelyn JohnsonKatelyn's a Badass! - www.YogaTravelTree.com

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.

 

Sarah’s Review

First Impression: When I took it out of the box I was really impressed with the texture and the weight of this thing. It’s heavy duty in a good way! The color was stunning. I got the Fire mat, and that’s just what it looked like.

I’m used to mats that don’t like to unroll, but this one was extremely pliable from the get-go. The texture is almost like a rug, so I had no idea what I was getting into as far as my yoga practice goes.

Something else that I thought was just so amazing, was that they included a card that said “Your mat was made by ____” and there was the signature, in probably hindi, of the weaver who hand-made the mat I held in my hands, all the way in Colorado.

 

Performance: Not knowing what to expect and having no expectations made trying out this mat an adventure. From my first vinyasa, I was in love. My hands tend to slip on yoga mats (even my expensive Manduka) and on this mat they were going nowhere! The textured surface was perfect for maintaining grip, and if I did feel a little bit of movement I took a hint from the website and dripped some water on the mat, which increased the grip-factor by like 9000%. Perfect for Bikram or hot yoga.

I’m a pretty boney person. My tailbone sometimes bugs me in savasana, and my hip bones usually bug me in bow pose. Not with this mat. While it’s not much thicker than a regular rubber yoga mat, somehow it has enough cushion that my normal pressure points aren’t a bother at all.

It’s oh-so versatile my friends. I received this mat the day before YTT went to Wanderlust Squaw Valley by car, and the team put this thing through the works! We practiced on the Bonneville Salt Flats, the beaches of Lake Tahoe, the grass and carpeted floors at the festival, and it held up like a champ! The best part is, there’s no fear of tearing, punctures, dirt (you just shake it out or toss it in the wash) or rough surfaces. We even used it as a beach towel at one point.

I used to be a Manduka junkie, but when my 1 1/2 year old, 90$ mat started coming off onto my hands and feet, I’ve been open to change. So far, Yogasana has my vote as the all-time best yoga mat ever.

Score: 10 (out of 10)

 

Katelyns’s Review

First Impression: I was impressed with the color and texture! Opening a new mat without the weird smell was a pleasant change from rubber mats and I was curious to see how the grip would compare.

I really appreciated the personal touch of the card with the Master weaver’s signature.  It was really cool to unroll the mat and realize one person hand wove this.

 

Performance:. This mat is perfect my friends! The grip was wonderful from the first down dog and comfortable in the last savasana.  I’m fairly tall and have a tendency to wind up on one edge of my mat or the other but the few extra inches you get with this Yogasana mat were exactly what I needed.

The durability was very impressive.  In just the few days at Wanderlust we used the mat in the grass, carpet, rocky beaches, sandy beaches and salt flats.  Unlike regular mats that would scratch or stain from that rough terrain this mat shakes out and is ready to go.  If you do get it dirty it’s machine washable and comes with a 15-year guarantee.

As soon as I got home from testing this mat at Wanderlust I got one of my own.  I was curious to see if it would slide on a wood studio floor and, of course, it passed the test and stayed put.

Score:  (10 out of 10)

 

There you have it fellow yogis! Buy with confidence that Yogasana will meet, and/or beat your expectations. To keep up with all of the latest news, visit the Yogasana official Facebook, Pinterest, twitter, and Instagram pages!

 

All images via: Yogasana

[wp_ad_camp_2]