Last night was a little challenging. It’s only Day 5 for God’s sake. I had the worst day and ended up at midnight yoga. And I ended up next to Yoga Barbie. A beautiful, tan in the dead of winter, perfectly toned, blond in perfect pink yoga clothes. And of course, she was super sweet. I left feeling calm but a little sad and discouraged. When I got home, I had a Frauline Maria moment and started thinking about some of my favorite things. I started feeling better. For a long time I have been wanting to write my about a few of my favorite things. My recommendations, or thoughts maybe is a better word, on certain items I feel make the practice of yoga that much better. I am a shopper through and through. I have been accused of starting new sports just so I can purchase new super cute gear. That may in fact be true. However, with running it was easy. I’m a Nike girl through and through.
Yoga is a little trickier than running when it comes to “gear”. I have gotten past the wearing running shorts and a tank top to yoga phase. We all go through it. “ I’m a runner, not a yoga person.” “I’m just here to help my running.” “ I’ll never wear my underwear to class and I’m embarrassed for all these people who are here in their underwear.” I also understand that no matter how bad ass of a runner you are, you are miserably uncomfortable in running apparel after about 5 minutes. The sweat pours off of them. And really, why do that to your cute running shorts? I am also over worrying about my bare midriff in the mirror. No one in the room cares. They just don’t. And I don’t care. And it in fact helps me with my postures to see myself as I really am. And, here’s a little secret, it is inspiring when after a few days, or more like after 25 days, you start to see definition in your abs when there wasn’t any before. It keeps you coming back.
Plus, you will be surprised to learn that I am uniquely qualified to comment on yoga apparel. Before law school, I spent 2 years of my life selling bikinis to tourists in Lake Tahoe and actually know a thing or two about the way to make itsy bitty clothes work for almost everyone. I probably should have kept selling bikinis in hindsight. I found it very rewarding to know I was sending women off to zephyr cove in the best bikini possible. Making the world a cuter place one bikini at a time. Therefore, I find shopping for yoga clothes to be an intellectual pursuit rather than purely recreational. In short, I know my shopping here in this category.
As a not so small yogi, I find have some trouble finding yoga gear that is cute and yet functional. What looks amazing on my yoga fashion gurus Susana and Lauren, have sadly not looked so amazing on me. This lesson was brought home very harshly when I went to one hot yoga short site only to discover that they only made shorts in size x-small (0) and small (2-4). If you were larger than that their products were “not recommended”. Very, very discouraging. And I’m a size 6 for God’s sake. Equally discouraging were the reviews for various tops which were clear that anything larger than a B cup would not be able to pour themselves into this particular adorable top with the cute sparkling crystal accents. Again…very sad for someone who, though no fault of her own, is significantly more than a B cup. What is a stylish size 6 on a good day, significantly larger than B cup yogi to do to remain stylish and pg-13 rated in yoga class. I have experimented to no end and feel compelled to share my picks with all of you. I am also excited to say that all my picks come from companies that I believe in and are actually, like the bikini shop I worked at, committed to making the world a happier and cuter place.
My first pick will probably surprise you as much as it surprises me. I recently purchased a pair of K.Deer shorts thinking I would have to return them because there is no way they would cover my butt. I had to try though because they are just so cute and have the best prints. Well, guess what? They fit really well! Maybe it’s just my weird butt but they provide great coverage and no muffin top whatsoever. They also come in sizes from small to x-large so I think they have the average, non pixie yogi in mind. They are also out of very light swimsuit like material so they are so comfy even when drenched in sweat. I am pleasantly surprised.
Also, K.Deer Haute Yoga Wear is a small company owned by a woman who is a fashion designer/yogi, so I am thrilled to be able to write about them. My envelope containing my shorts and tank top that I purchased from their website, www.kdeerhauteyogawear.com, was decorated with hand drawn hearts and xoxos. I can’t wait to order more and am so happy to find short other than Shakti (not that there is anything wrong with Shakti as they are my other favorite shorts and the front-runner until today) to wear and not be ashamed. Speaking of Shakti’s you really can’t go wrong with them. They look great on everyone. No muffin tops and as much or little coverage as you are comfortable with due to the cute drawstring. However, due to my support of small, women owned companies with positive purpose, it is K. Deer for the win!
Tops are a little harder. My picks for tops for those of us more endowed are any of the Lululemon sports bra tops. Lululemon has received a lot of press in business blogs lately because it is one of the most successful and fasted growing retail companies around. In this horrible economy they are making bocu bucks and their stock is soaring through the roof. This is in part because their clothes are great quality and super cute. Plus their corporate culture is revolutionary. They have yoga classes on site, encourage goal setting, have an inspirational blog and all around positive message. You can only find an actual Lululemon store in certain cities. Reno, of course, is not one of them. But they have a decent website if you catch it on the right day. My recommendation for shopping the website is to buy it when you see it. They sell out really quickly on-line and that cute tank top may not be there tomorrow and that would be a shame.
Here is why I love Lululemon for their tops. They actually fit and provide coverage for large women who are, for better or worse, more than a B cup. They have good straps that don’t cut into your shoulders and cups that shape those of us who are reaching the national geographic stage of life and just haven’t quite found the time or the extra cash to make it in to the plastic surgeon yet. I love the “Hot and Sweaty” bra, the “Energy bra” and the “Flow Y Bra”. All come in amazing colors.
Lululemon also has great “fat hot yoga shorts” for those days when you just aren’t feeling the hip hugging thing. Now, running shorts are very similar and are a good fat day alternative but the Lululemon shorts are made out of the fabric that absorbs the sweat rather than just gets wet and are more “moveable” than your Nike running shorts. And that is not easy for me to say because there is nothing I love more than my Nike running shorts…all 46 pairs of them. The “Hot Move Short” and the “Strenth and Tone Short” are both great alternatives for your fat yoga days.
Finally, and this is why I really love Lululemon, they have great after yoga clothes. They have tank tops that I have worn out on dates to shi shi restaurants under cute jackets and sweaters. They go from the yoga room to happy hour seamlessly. Also, the ”Wunder Under Crop” pants. I have worn to physical therapy with a sweatshirt at 7:30 am and then straight to the office. At 11 am that same day, I am often still wearing those same Wunder Under Crop pants with a long tunic and shi shi boots in a partner meeting. Tip: If you wear boots with your Capri work out pants, no one knows they are Capri work out pants. Lululemon is pricy but for those of us with a yoga lifestyle that has to fit in to the rest of our lives too, it is worth it. And their quality really is great. Their tank tops far outlast any old navy tank top and I have found worth the extra money. www.lululemon.com if you aren’t fortunate enough to have an actual store front in your city. They also have inspirational blogs.
And back to the tops for a moment. I was also pleasantly surprised that when I tried the Phat Buddha bandeau it actually stayed up despite my national geographic situation. These adorable strap less tops really seem to fit well for almost everyone and are super cute to boot. Like the K. Deer shorts I was not sure I could pull off a strap less yoga top. Most of my personal experience with strap less has not ended well. Although those have all been strap less cocktail dresses. And the problem there may have been more the lemon drops and my unique and enthusiastic dancing after said lemon drops…and I’ve said too much. Anyway, I have a tye dyed one and stare longingly after the ones with the crystals and sparkles. And again, Phat Buddha is another small female owned company that I am all about supporting. So check them out at www.phatbuddhawear.com.
I should note that if you are local, Phat Buddha, and K.Deer can be found at Bikram Yoga Sierra as well.
Now, turning to some of my other favorite yoga things I can’t live without everyone needs a good lip blam or chapstick or lip gloss. Your skin and lips get very dried out in the daily heat of the yoga room. I have written before about the importance of lip gloss and how it is truly underestimated in today’s society. Lush lip balms, lip tints and lip scrubs are the best. They are understated, vegan and have just the enough tint to not be obvious. And they have one that is champagne flavored. I haven’t quite figured out how they make champagne flavored vegan lip gloss. They must be geniuses. Their products, as well as their amazing bath bombs, can be found at www.lush.com. Again, like Lululemon, Lush can only be found in certain cities but have a great website.
Finally, for fun and to complete your yoga lifestyle style, you must have mala beads for your mediations. I have been trying to meditate. It is not easy. I thought it was just scheduled day dreaming and would be no big deal. It is much harder than expected. It is much more than picturing myself with Ryan Reynolds at a serene waterfall. You actually have to clear your mind and look inward for like 10 minutes. I feel like Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love when she looks at the clock, sees she has been meditating for 1 minute and says “kill me now.” I have found my mala beads give me something to focus on while I am trying to find peace in my mind. What I mean by that is they are a tactile thing to hold on to which actually helps you focus. There is a lot of information about mala beads. They have been used since ancient times in cultures around the world for meditation. They are kind of fascinating really.
Check out www.tinydevotions.com for super cute and stylish mala beads. Again, I use mine to try to keep my mind on my breath instead of Ryan Reynolds. And, as a bonus, they are gorgeous. I wear mine out, to concerts, and to work. Tiny Devotions is a small company with a lot of heart positive energy and promise. In fact, after I recent order, I received an email describing the company as follows: “Our goal as a company is to inspire as many people as possible to create goals, set intentions and manifest their dreams.” They are great gifts for yourself or the yogis in your life. I also recommend the Tiffany peace sign charms but I can’t in good conscience figure out a way to justify them.
Finally, my yoga practice is complete and is what it is due to my amazing Aunt who made my amazing bag. Many have asked about my amazing bag. It is handmade. It is knit then felted. She does not use a pattern and I am trying to convince her to sell them. More information on this later but her hand knit and felted bags are the best. Love you Aunt Susan!
So, when the dog bites, when the bees, stings, (when you stand next to yoga Barbie) when you’re feeling sad, simply remember your favorite things and then you won’t feel so bad.