So by now you've realized that I'm quite the shopper, I love my shoes, my bags, my funky yoga clothing it's a part of me, my personality, my style. I LOVE yoga and I love the yogi-lifestyle but at heart I'm a fashionista always on the hunt for the coolest, most unusual, beautiful things. Over the years I've realized that like my practice my shopping habits have transformed/evolved as well. Where practicing every day, twice a day with just anyone over time, became being more mindful of my daily practice, who I learn from and listening to my body and not my ego. With shopping it became less about the stuff and more about the quality, what my money was actually supporting and who it was going to.
Living a mindful life introduces you to a whole new world of having things of value, caring about who makes it and wanting to genuinely support those just trying to live their truth, express their art and share with the world something beautiful. This goes for yoga teachers just as much as crafters, bag makers and artist.
This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Toronto Yoga Conference, a HUGE event that happens once a year. Featuring over 55 hours of yoga education and 100s of vendors selling everything from protein powders to glass jewelry, yoga mats to high end yoga mat bags - some of it beautiful, most of it not so much. I have to admit, I'm a little bias - after spending nearly decade in the specialty food business and now nearly 20 years in some form of the fashion industry I've had the pleasure of working with and befriending some of the most talented artist out there. I feel like I have a pretty good grip on what is in and as a society I feel we have an opportunity and an obligation to kick it up a notch - it's time we fully step up and start supporting the small businesses, the local crafters, the talented designers that find a unique way to turn what others consider waste or scrap into GOLD.
As You Were Yoga
On this trip I met Anissa and Marisa - an absolutely beautiful mother -daughter duo who have set out to create equally beautiful yoga mat bags. It's funny, I've said for years to the hundreds of yoga students that have come my way - when you're ready to really make yoga a part of your life that's when you make the investment in a great mat! props! and a fantastic mat carrier!! Anissa agreed and stated that was the premise around her starting this company. Your mat is a sacred space it should be treated as such. All of their bags are carefully designed and created with love, thought and care - using materials that will prove to be not only sustainable but durable especially if you're the kind that tends to beat up your mats. From colorful textiles to pure leather and vegan materials, As You Were Yoga mat bags will quickly become your new favorite item to sport around town. To learn more about AYW check out their site, these bags make excellent gifts for others or a very nice treat for yourself.
So for years I have been advocating MANDUKA- in fact shouting it from the rooftops that this is the mat to buy, to invest in, to practice and grow on. Well sit down, prepare yourself, I'm about to introduce something new in the mat world. Yoloha Yoga! My new favorite mat. This mat is amazing, made of cork and backed by recycled rubber tire sheets, this mat is durable, non-slip and beyond eco-friendly! Created by Chris Willey an advent yogi and surfboard/paddle board builder, Chris who was tired of slipping out of downward dog and feeling unsafe in warrior poses realized there had to be another way. Working out of his garage with the help of his mother and father they created Yoloha Yoga Mats. If you're a hot yoga enthusiast or heavy sweater, or just looking for a super eco-conscious mat, check out Yoloha, they will not disappoint!
At the end of the day your yoga practice really does infiltrate your entire life - you'd be surprised how much more yoga is aside from just the asana. From your practice to your closet, from your work to your world be mindful of what you fill your life with, the things are not as important as what they mean, make what you invest in about quality and less about consuming.