One of the central tenets of the ancient Indian practice is Ahimsa, or “do no harm.” So the makers of yoga garments and gear—particularly the smaller labels—are more likely to think about the impact of their clothing production, and what happens to that mat or tank top after you’re done using it.
Small But Mighty
Restore is one of the most innovative brands in the active-wear industry: from coconut carbon-based moisture-wicking bras and liners that biodegrade when they’ve outlived their wearability, to jackets and pants in recycled nylon and organic cotton. The pieces are colorful and cut for an active person’s body, and they are all made in New York City, guaranteeing a fair wage to workers.
Blue Canoe’s motto is “Get dressed once and go through the day.” The company keeps it simple with a wide selection of solid-colored pants, tanks, capris and leggings, all made from a combination of 90% organic cotton and 10% spandex. Attention is paid to small details that make a big difference with yoga clothes, like waist bands that can roll down for a fetching post-class look or up for full coverage during chair pose or headstands.
Mainstream, but Still Mindful
Of course, some popular active clothing companies make great gear for asana-ing, too. PrAna has long specialized in making yoga togs for women and men that combine comfort with paisley and tribal patterns and prints. They also make the only organic cotton stretch headbands I’ve found. While not all their clothes are made from eco-friendly fabrics, PrAna says that “the more that we learn, the more that we are moving toward sustainable practices.”
After thousands of requests over the years, yoga staple Lululemon has been making more clothes in eco fabrics, too, including men’s organic cotton hoodies. Lulu’s pieces are also well-made and durable, so they last for years. They can be cleaned simply—just rinsed in cold water and hung to dry, and have anti-stink properties (which means less washing in my world), all of which saves energy.
High Style Yoga
Yoga wear for guys from Prancing Leopard includes harem pants that give him plenty of room to practice crow while still providing privacy with snug hems at the knee. Women’s garments have a stylish edge—from roomy sweaters and shrugs to jumpsuits and one-shoulder tops. All of their pieces are made from ubersoft sueded organic cotton jersey.
Creem has perfected the yoga-to-street style with trim, interesting tanks, creatively cut cardigans, below-the-knee-hugging drawstring pants and summer-ready tunics, all made from materials like soy, bamboo and organic cotton in muted teal, heather and graphite.
While yoga can be practiced almost anywhere sans equipment, mats, props and bags can be helpful for keeping it cool, fresh and organized. A Lot to Say makes all their T-shirts, towels and totes from recycled bottle-based material and each is printed with a fun inspirational saying related to yoga, pets or saving the planet. “Our hope is that every time someone reads one of our messages, they sit up and think, ‘Wow, I didn’t know that, that’s an amazing fact,’” says the company’s cofounder, Alison Stanich. Their line of absorbent yoga towels are ideal for those who really work up a sweat in class. And roomy yoga bags from Bean Products are made from sturdy organic cotton in vibrant colors like tomato, hibiscus and cobalt blue.