9 Brands Selling Eco-Friendly Yoga Wear

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credit: Prana

Yoga is a wonderful, empowering, and health-giving practice for many, but it requires stretchy clothing that is usually made from petroleum-based synthetics. While these fabrics do the job, there is growing concern about the effects of microplastics washing off synthetic clothes whenever they're washed, as well as the possibility for absorption of chemicals through the skin. (Greenpeace did some disturbing research on this topic a few years back.) The good news is, there are companies coming up with alternatives. The following slideshow features brands made from naturally-sourced, organic, and recycled fabrics, making them safer for use and after disposal. These beautiful pieces of clothing prove that you can be as kind to the environment as you are to your body while practicing yoga.

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Green Apple

Yoga clothing

credit: Green Apple

What sets Green Apple apart from other eco-friendly apparel companies is its commitment to natural fabrics. Its leggings, sweatpants, and sports bras are made with organic bamboo, which results in a soft, smooth, breathable fabric. Bamboo is hypoallergenic and has natural antibacterial properties that inhibit bad odors. All cotton blended into Green Apple's pieces is also certified organic. Green Apple believes this results in a safer product:

"It's a scientific fact that the chemicals in the fabrics you wear penetrate into your skin and are absorbed by your body when you sweat. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of the chemical side-effects (hormone disruptors and thyroid problems) of the apparel they wear. Especially for athletes who wear form fitting apparel; when they perspire, it opens up their pores and allows these chemicals to enter their bloodstream."
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Groceries Apparel

credit: Groceries Apparel

Groceries Apparel manufactures all its clothing in Los Angeles, CA, to ensure production standards are fully met. From the website:

"Vertically-integrated, local, and traceable production maximizes quality, efficiency, and employee pay, and minimizes redundancy, waste and our carbon footprint."

While not a yoga gear maker specifically, Groceries has a good selection of tanks, crop tops, body suits, leggings, and comfy bras that would be perfect for striking a pose. The pieces are made specifically to avoid the use of polyester, using organic or recycled cotton, eucalyptus, hemp, recycled polyester, and vegetable dyes.

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credit: Vyayama

This yoga-specific clothing company was founded to provide an alternative to unhealthy synthetic fabrics, "with the belief that the products we use should be held to the same standards that we hold for ourselves." Vyayama uses Tencel fabric, made from eucalyptus that's blended to be soft and smooth, slimming and supportive. From the website:

"TENCEL® has rarely been used as a technically supportive fabric. Achieving the perfect balance of softness and compression for our unique yoga separates took us a year of development with our fabric team in Portugal."

The collection is almost entirely black and white, minimalist, and sophisticated. (It's the kind of selection that had me loading up my shopping cart till I realized the subtotal and forced myself to pare down.) Leggings, bralettes, tanks, and long-sleeved cashmere-modal tees make up most of it, made in Portugal and Nepal.

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credit: Teeki

Teeki's yoga gear is made from recycled plastic water bottles that have been shredded, melted down, and reprocessed into polyester fabric. This recycling process, Teeki says, saves up to a half-gallon of gasoline per pound of fabric. While wearing plastic clothing is not ideal, choosing recycled is certainly better than generating demand for raw material. All pieces are manufactured in-house in Los Angeles. Collections are colorful and playful.

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credit: Satva

Made in India, Satva uses organic cotton and recycled polyester to make yoga and gym clothes for women and children. All products are free from chemicals, including bleaches, toxic waxes, sulphur and heavy metals commonly used in the production of clothing. Only natural, non-toxic plant based dyes are used. A portion of all proceeds are donated back to communities that grow cotton for Satva in two categories -- promoting literacy for women by educating young girls and sponsoring livestock immunization and medical assistant livestock programs across 20 rural Indian villages.

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credit: Prana

Anyone familiar with eco-friendly workout gear will recognize this name. Not all of Prana's pieces are created equally (as in, some contain virgin polyester), but many contain recycled polyester and wool, organic cotton, hemp, and responsibly-sourced down. The company does a good job partnering with Bluesign (for clean textile dyeing), Fairtrade, responsible foresting initiatives, and reduction in plastic poly shipping bags. There is an impressive selection of all the tops, bottoms, and gorgeous sports bras you could ever dream of having.

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Yoga bra

credit: Icebreaker

Icebreaker is a New Zealand-based clothing company that specializes in performance gear made from merino wool. The company was founded with the goal of getting away from synthetic fabric and using wool, which is abundant in New Zealand and known for its moisture-wicking and insulating properties. While many vegans will be uncomfortable with the idea of using an animal-sourced fabric, there is an argument to be made that removing the sheep's wool is a necessity and that avoiding synthetics reduces the quantity of microplastics in the environment, which in turn benefits all animals. Regarding the treatment of sheep, Icebreaker says:

"We are the first company to ban the mulesing of sheep [in 2008]. This policy has now been widely adopted by the industry to champion animal welfare."

Icebreaker sells wool sports bras, blended with varying quantities of Tencel and Spandex for stretchiness and support.

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Boody Eco Wear

credit: Boody

This super comfy yoga/lounging brand was referenced by actress Emma Watson last year for its impressive green standards. She posted on Instagram that it is

"a brand that produces underwear made with certified organic bamboo, produced using computerised 3D knitting, so no fabric is wasted. Its factories are zero-waste and have a closed loop system to stop any water being wasted."

makes it clothes from viscose sourced from bamboo because it's such a fast-growing species. The world record for growth in Japan is 3 feet per day, but most canes reach maturity within 3-5 years. Bamboo is a grass and can be harvested without harming its environment. From the website: "Yields of bamboo of up to 150 ton per acre greatly exceed the yield of 25 tons for most trees and only 3-5 ton per acre for cotton." Boody offers collections for women, men, and babies.

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credit: Kooshoo

Kooshoo's gorgeous hair accessories are perfect for keeping your hair out of the way during a long, sweaty yoga session. The name of this Los Angeles-based, family-run company means "feeling good" in Norfuk, a language spoken exclusively by the people of Norfolk Island, a small island in the South Pacific where co-founder Rachel is from. Kooshoo makes plastic-free hair ties and organic cotton headbands that are dyed in a solar-powered factory, and sewn and packaged in L.A. I've used the skinny and twist headbands for years now and they work beautifully.