Style and Self Care: Bribing Ourselves with Back-to-school Yoga Swag-- Basic Supplies

A very important part of back-to-school season for me is Treats. As in, Bribes. Treatbribes. For myself.

To put in it in more grown-person speak, I find it easier to do unpleasant things (like sending EIGHT HOURS worth of emails) if I offer myself some incentives. A big part of this program is currently The West Wing and Ben and Jerry's Banana Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt, but I'm looking to diversify my self-bribing options. On the list of Rejunvenatory Activities: cook something yummy, take some photos, practice yoga.

I really love what Ros has to say in her at-home yoga tips about making yoga a precious indulgence in daily life. I was struck by her suggestion to make yoga special by indulging in a nice lotion, a beautifully curated practicing space (even it's just between the bed and the wall) or special clothing. Of course, you can practice yoga anywhere and with anything-- the body is all you need-- but it's always a relief to be reassured that yoga as a philosophy is not fundamentally austere-- it's about celebrating the body as an extension of the self!

In the sprit of self-care and bribery, I asked Ros, along with another of my very favorite yogis, Minnesota-based yoga instructor Lisa Bevevino, to share the yoga swag that enriches their practice, and then added a few of my own faves. The products I feature here are all hand-made or ethically-made when possible-- Etsy is a rad source for yoga treats!

Yoga Swag 1

Here's what we love:

Ros: A Jade yoga mat. It's made of natural rubber, which has a texture that reminds me of sharkskin- nice and grippy! Plus, the natural rubber is a renewable resource, the mats contain no PVC and Jade plants a tree for every mat sold. It's fairly expensive (over $60), and it certainly wasn't my first mat, in the era when I was just starting to go to classes, but I'm so glad I finally made the investment.

Anna adds: Second on the Jade mat. I have very sweaty hands and normally need towels under my palms during a down dog, but not with Jade mats. They also seem incredibly durable-- I've seen years-old mats with little signs of wear-- and they are made in PA!

Ros: One cork block, which I like because it's heavy and dense without being hard or poke-y.

Anna adds: I use this in place of meditation cushion, in a pinch.

Ros: One blanket, which I use in savasana, for meditation, and for hanumanasana (on the rare occasion I feel like doing the splits at home).

Anna adds: Splits. You have got to be kidding me. No.

Ros: One strap, which I'm mainly using in back-bends right now.

Anna adds: I am far less bendy than Ros, so I use a strap a lot more often-- especially for hip and hamstring stretches. This one, handmade in CA, doubles as a carrying strap for your mat!.

Ros: One meditation cushion, which I use to elevate my seat in meditation.

Anna adds: Having butt support with a cushion like this makes sitting in meditation feel so much better for me! I like handmade buckwheat pillows like this, because you can add or remove stuff to adjust the height.

Ros: One lavender eye pillow, which my grandmother gave me years ago.

Anna adds: As for smelly things, I also really like Aura Cacia Panic Button essential oil blend. It has lavender in it, and also neroli which is kind of like orange? I put some on my wrists and behind my ears before I practice.

Ros: I've also used Jivamukti lavender lotion and China Gel in class, and would love to keep them at home. The china gel is fantastic- it's an icy-hot gel that you can apply to your low back or shoulders before practice, and helps to keep those muscles warm and loose. The lavender lotion just smells lovely and comforting. :)

Anna adds: When I have to stay out in The World after a yoga class (and therefor can't go home to shower) I have been enjoying Leap Organics body powder --which is basically like Gold Bond for hippies--to cut sweatiness It's talc-free (better for your lungs) and smells like lemongrass, but it still has that tingly feeling.

Ros: I also like to have eucalyptus oil, lavender oil and tea tree oil around. The latter two can both be mixed into a spray bottle with a 3:1 mixture of water and white vinegar for a mat-cleaning solution, plus they're both antiseptic. The eucalyptus oil I just find soothing.

Anna: Ros has been reminding me to do crucial things like CLEAN YOGA MAT for more than a decade now. She's the best, and I'm a lucky lady. Stay tuned next week for our recommendations re: Yoga clothing! Happy Weekend! May all beings bribe themselves within reason!

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