Drop that Lululemon and kit yourself up with these nearby retailers
YOGA Walking into Bay Area yoga studios can sometimes feel like being subsumed into a cult of Lululemon, Yogitoes, and Gaiam. Yoga means big bucks these days, and most everyone seems to be sporting the same few brands while getting their warrior on. Yogic ideology espouses non-materialism and self-acceptance, yet it's hard not want to fit in. Fortunately, there are lots of options that can get you out of big brand conformity and into stylie yoga gear that supports local vendors and designers. Follow these tips and in no time flat your yoga-related footprint won't extend much farther than the four corners of your mat!
Inspired by a homemade canoe that once sat on the shores of Humboldt County's Benbow Lake, Blue Canoe's name highlights its dedication to homegrown, yet stylish organic clothing. All its clothes are made in San Francisco and most use organic cotton in comfy blends. The company has been in business for more that 16 years and is known for its decidedly "un-granola" pieces that make as much sense in a yoga class as they do on Valencia Street.
Hot item: boot cut pant
Born of designer Margaret Leom's own need for good yoga and dance wear, Leom Designs has been operating out of Santa Cruz for six years. The clothes have a uniquely organic feel to them, taking inspiration from the environment and employing a deliberative creative process. Though initially Leom just made clothes for herself, she was always asked where she got her outfits. So she jumped at the chance to create designs in her vision and hasn't looked back.
Hot item: elfarrow men's yoga top
Since 2000 Swirl Space has been producing movement friendly, hemp-based clothes in San Francisco. As a business that's committed to fair local labor, sustainable business practices, and educating the public about the benefits of Hemp, Swirl Space's lofty ideals are an integral part of its goods.
Hot item: hemp hottie short
Headquartered in Mill Valley, Zobha produces dreamy, high-end yoga wear that rivals Lululemon in fit and durability — yet the two companies' trajectories couldn't be more different. While Vancouver-based Lululemon seems to court controversy at every turn, Zobha directly supports Bay Area community initiatives like Headstand, which teaches yoga to at-risk youth. Bottom line, Zobha makes your butt look good while hitting the sweet spot between transcendent and trendy.
Hot item: Paige tank
Hydration is key while practicing yoga, but not every water bottle is created equal. It goes without saying that conscious yogis should eschew disposable plastic bottles in favor of refillables, and since 2004 Chico-based Klean Kanteen has been preaching the benefits of BPA-free, stainless steel bottles.
Hot item: Klean Kanteen Reflect
Operating out of a warehouse in the Mission District, Yoga Props has been in business for 32 years. It sells a very wide range of items including blocks fashioned in the Props woodshop and locally made bolsters. In addition to online orders, Yoga Props welcomes walk-in customers who call ahead to its Mission HQ.
Hot item: cylindrical bolster
Yoga Mats is another SF-based prop purveyor that's been in town for decades, nearly three to be exact. While it participates in occasional Dogpatch neighborhood trunk sales, the bulk of Yoga Mats' business is done online.
Hot item: kapok-filled zafu crescent
No need to fly to remote spots like Tulum or Bali to get your OM on en masse. Taking place on the beach in Santa Monica, the Tadasana Festival will pair classes by master teachers like Seane Corne and Elena Brower with performances by global music luminaries like Karsh Kale, Cheb i Sabbah, and Vieux Farka Touré. No passport necessary, just gather your yogi posse and carpool to LaLa Land come late-April.
Can't miss: Mandala vinyasa with Shiva Rea and the Touré-Raichel Collective