Early morning yoga at Bondi Beach via tarotastic @ flickr.
If you've ever done a kick-ass Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga class, you already know that yoga is not necessarily a low-key, low-effort workout. And while it doesn't require specialized work-out gear, you do need comfortable tops and pants that neither get in the way of movement or pinch or tug in all the wrong places. So it's nice to know there are a couple of choices available in earth-friendlier fabrics such as organic cotton and bamboo, and that you can choose to sweat in sweatshop-free duds. Hit the jump to see our recent finds.
These clothes are handmade in Canada out of hemp, organic cotton, soy and bamboo textiles. The whimsical 3/4 length Pixie pants are fun, priced at $70, while the basic black Yoga Pants for $66 are a great and well-cut basic with a doubled waistband. The 3/4 version of the Yoga Pants is currently on special for $40. The Sleeveless Tunic, in pale green and with a leaf motif, is also comfy and flattering, though lacks the built in shelf bra that some yoginis like. Maha Devi also has menswear for yoga, including hoodies, 3/4 length pants and a tank.
American Apparel, which makes all of its basics in Downtown LA, isn't going to have some New Age-y soft-focus yoga section for you to peruse. You can easily put together yoga clothes here that are sweatshop-free, if not always of organic materials. The Unisex California Fleece Track pant in organic cotton is a great choice, however, and priced at only $36. Plain but practical organic t-shirts and tanks for under $20 each are also available.
There's a minimum of fancy marketing at Lotus Organics, and right now the prices are 50% off - hard to beat. Capri leggings, good for yoga workouts, are made with 90% organic cotton and 10% Lycra for stretch, and are currently $21. The DragonFly sport camisole has a built-in shelf bra and is currently just $16. Earth Creations Crop Contour pant is also organic cotton with 4% Lycra and is currently $25.
Rawganique Has Hemp
Rawganique trumpets the fact that its clothing is sweatshop-free and made from organic hemp, and though the items are usually pricey, they are also handsome and well-made. For yoga, Rawganique has a Yoga Bra in organic cotton and Lycra for $34; Jane's Tank Top for $42 and unisex Hemp Yoga pants ($84) are also great.
Lululemon Yogini pants
Lululemon is a Vancouver, B.C.-based company that inspires fanatic love among some of its followers. The jury is still out on exactly what percentage of Lululemon attire can be considered sweatshop-free - manufacturing was once local but now international. The company says it is committed to nearing zero waste (95%) by 2012. On the site all the clothing is described as "yoga inspired" - but you must check individual items for their organic/sustainable fabrics. The Yogini pant is made from organic cotton, and has flat seams to prevent chafing while you are in Down Dog. Retail for around $74.
PrAna Fall/Winter collection
PrAna does not claim to be sweatshop-free in any of its web site prose. However, the company says that it is "grounded in ideals of sustainability." The 2009 Fall/Winter collection includes 18 different pieces of yoga gear for women - most made from a fabric that blends "micropoly and spandex" with some added bamboo fiber in some styles for a soft feel. Plenty of organic choices for yoga available on the PrAna site, including Mahdia Divine Capri pants for $66. Mens styles, too, including the organic cotton Momentum pant for $48.