Altar Ego Apparel: Yoga Clothing for Real People
I love finding great yoga products. I was recently connected with Altar Ego Apparel. They are a company out of the United States run all by women. They have lots of great products (clothing and accessories) for yogis. I am officially an Ambassador for Altar Ego Apparel, not only because I love what they do and how they run their company but also because their clothing is really comfortable for yoga practice and beyond.
I seem to experience two big problems when looking at yoga clothing companies. The first one is that I check them out on social media and their feed is full of super skinny women wearing their clothes in the most extreme conditions (on a snow covered mountain or deep in the jungle but still looking beautiful and fresh). Where are all the regular sized women doing regular yoga in regular sized pants? This was not the case when I went to check out Altar Ego Apparel on Instagram. They embrace and encourage everyone to be active and healthy and share their yoga pictures. Then I usually end up checking their sizing chart. I am average. I have hips and thighs and a booty that needs a little extra fabric. I don't like it when I look at the sizing chart and I have to buy an XXL in order to get enough fabric to cover my caboose. It seems extreme that there are more and more yoga companies that have so many XXS and XXXS but they don't get larger than L!! What about all of us regular women? What about the XXL ladies out there who do yoga like a boss and need cute leggings to wear? I'm sorry but I have such a hard time supporting those companies.
Ladies, I can assure you that Altar Ego Apparel is not like those other companies. I looked at the size chart and ordered a medium and when it arrived.... it fit perfectly! It made me feel so happy to order a size from their size chart based on my current measurements and they fit. Some of you might read this and think wow, she is really passionate about this. Truth is that I am. I am a medium so I ordered a medium and when they arrived, the medium FIT my medium body! How hard is that for so many other yoga companies to figure out? I am loving these ombre pants from Altar Ego Apparel.
Please check them out. They are a great company with a group of wonderful women running everything behind the scenes. If you aren't sure of sizing, email them. They will help you out. And don't forget to use coupon code YOGASLOTH at checkout to get 15% off your order!!!!!
Painted Leggings: Try just buying one pair. You will fail. I promise.
Have you heard of them? Have you seen them? I really like my Painted Leggings. First off, I have to say that I love supporting Canadian companies, partially because I have one myself and partially because I feel like there are not a lot of Canadian companies out there offering great yoga products for us. When I find a good one, I tend to latch on. I first met Nicki from Painted Leggings probably a couple of years ago. She actually used to live near my place of work so I went over to her place one day to see what she had. I came home with a bag full of stuff (and had to try and cut the tags off and throw them in my yoga pant draw before my husband noticed - are you guilty of that too?). She has two sizes, regular and plus size and the pants have lots of stretch in them so they really are accommodating. I do have to say that these have a different, very soft feel to them. They are not like the sweat wicking pants I get from other companies. The cool to the touch sweat wicking kind definitely have their place in my yoga drawer but these are different. These are like wearing warm butter. Is that even possible? Yes, yes it is. These don't have that chilled feeling and are great for wearing all year round. Now that I wear yoga pants all the time (because who wants to wear anything else), these give me some affordable options to change things up a bit. Retailing for $25 Canadian, you can't go wrong with buying one in every style! They have many fun styles to choose from. I dare you to go and check them out and see what you find.
The Manduka Pro is my main practicing yoga mat at this time. I got it last year at the Yoga Show in Toronto. I did all this research and was content on paying the high cost to get this mat. I read absolutely everything on the internet about Manduka and their mats. I knew about the cost, the lifetime warranty and the film that is on the mat when you buy it. Finally, the Yoga Show came and there was a retailer with Manduka mats. I must have stood there touching them for about an hour, maybe more. I'm sure people thought I was nuts. They had some broken in mats there and they felt amazing, but would they be enough to provide a safe and grippy practice for me? I don't know. After an hour, I walked away and touched the other mats from other vendors. Then I came back yet again to the Manduka retailer. There was something about that periwinkle mat that I couldn't quite turn away from. It had been sitting there when I arrived and I kept being drawn to it. After asking some questions, it turns out that it was in fact the Manduka Pro. I didn't want to get the Pro lite version or some other cheaper, smaller or less amazing mat. I wanted a mat that would last me for years and that would make me happy. I was looking for a partnership with a yoga mat.
I ended up buying it and it's been about 11 or 12 months now. I don't use it all the time for teaching because sometimes I have to travel a bit with it and it can get heavy. I do, however, use it all the time at home and I've started bringing it to my local studio when I teach hot yoga as well. I would call what I do moderate use. I sweat on it and I practice on it frequently throughout the week. So far, it's still a bit slippery but I can slowly feel that the coating is wearing off. It doesn't have quite the same shine on it that it did when I first got it. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE the colour. I don't want to practice on a black mat or on a mat that makes me feel like I'm going to fall down or hurt my knees when I'm kneeling.
I feel that deep down, I need to stick with this mat because of how highly people speak of it. I also had the privilege recently of touching someone else's Manduka Pro mat (thank you so much for touching your yoga mat, you know who you are). Hers was a few years old and it looked fantastic, except for the fact that it was black. I don't like black but for her, the colour was great. Her mat felt textured and grippy like how I want mine to feel like. After asking about hers, it turns out that it took around a year for her to really fall in love with her Manduka Pro too. I found that interesting. What I gather from that is that Manduka Pro mats like to take their time when they court their new owners and that it can take some time to really fall in love; but once you do, you'll fall head over heels. I can't wait. I need this mat to be my life yoga partner.
Have you heard of Ekaminhale? Yea, I know, neither had I, until very recently. I had always wondered what yogi traditionally practiced yoga on. I figured that maybe they just didn't use anything at all. That made sense to me, but it was incorrect. Apparently, many yogis have traditionally practiced yoga on a rug. Yup, you heard me, on a rug. It's funny because this whole time I have been on a mission to find a yoga mat that wouldn't slip and when I found the Ekaminhale yoga rugs, I thought maybe I had been searching for the wrong product. I've done some yoga poses on my carpets at home and never felt very safe so I wasn't sure that this would be anything special or of value to me.
As this product was new to me, I decided to take a closer look to learn more about these yoga rugs and what they were all about. What I have learned is that yoga rugs are very popular to practice on in India. I read a lot of great things about grip once the sweating started. Then some of my research came to Ashtanga yoga and how these are often used over mats in Ashtanga practice in Mysore! It turns out that yoga rugs are quite popular for yoga practice in India. Upon reading this, I knew there had to be something really great about them if so many people were using them. I was a little intrigued at how they don't seem to be used here from what I have seen in my Canadian yoga practice and no one had ever really heard of them. This made it more exciting to find out about them and see if, perhaps this might be the product for me.
The Ekaminhale website is amazing. They even have videos of tours the owner of the company had to India where these rugs are made. They show people using traditional looms to weave the fabric. It's amazing that with all the technology that we have, that there are still companies that value the dying traditions that should be very valuable to us. It is really neat to see the people who make these rugs.
The best part is, they work. I see why people love them. The day it arrived, I was very excited to have a little piece of India and yoga tradition in my home. It felt good to support the people who make these but I was cautiously optimistic that this might be the answer to my slippery when sweaty problems I've been experiencing with every single mat that I own. I unrolled it at home and tried a few poses, almost giddy with the excitement that my mat might even have some (magical) India dirt or dust in it still. I went into a downward dog and whoa, it was slippery. Well, of course it was. I had read that these rugs need to be a little damp to really get good grip so I was not discouraged. I decided to take it to my next hot vinyasa class and really see how it works.
At first, my opening savasana felt really comfortable on the rug. It's so nice to lie down on something other than rubber yoga mat. My rubber mat was underneath so I had some cushion but it was nice to be on something a bit softer. For the first few minutes, I felt like it was slippery but once my hands started sweating, that's when I began to feel the magic of this yoga rug really start to flow. First, it's stiff and heavy so you won't catch it on your body like you do a towel which is one of my biggest complaints about using a towel on my mat for practice. I can't stand the thought of stopping my practice to constantly fix my towel. And the grip, I still have to hold my pose and be strong but this was much less slippery once it got a little sweaty. I have been using my Ekaminhale yoga rug every since....
I have to say that I wouldn't use this in a cooler class without spraying it lightly with some water but it's more in those hot classes that I feel like I need the extra grippiness when wet. This finally solves that problem. It also solves the problem of the rubber mats degrading very quickly because of all the sweat they are exposed to during my yoga practice. The great part about these rugs is that you don't need to wash them after every sweaty practice. Let them dry out and just wash them every few uses. They do dry fairly quickly so it shouldn't be a burden to keep it fairly clean. I've been looking for a solution to my sweaty hands - slipper mat problem for years and I think I finally have it. If you are looking for a way to find more grip and you've tried all the greatest mats out there (which trust me, I have), why not give this one a try? You still need a mat underneath it but you could really get by with a less expensive mat and it will last longer because the rug is there to protect it. The rug is bigger than my yoga mats so you won't run into problems with it being too small. And know what when you buy this from Ekaminhale, you're supporting a family in India who does the for a living. you are encouraging traditional values of handmade items. Know that you are buying a good product that come with a little bit of yoga nostalgia directly from India. What else could we ask for?