Lululemon Like Nothing 7/8
I reviewed around a dozen yoga tights for this post and the Like Nothing came out on top for one simple reason: I quite literally felt like I wasn’t wearing any pants. The fabric is extremely light and fitted while retaining flexibility to move with your body. It never bunched or shifted during my practice unlike most of the other tights I tested. The waistband rises all the way to the small of my back, which eliminated the chaffing and digging that often results from the waist seam sitting on the pressure point of the sacrum. I also loved the small, thoughtful design details like the lack of a crotch seam (read: no camel toe), the seamless ankle, and the almost invisible interior waist pocket. $128. lululemon.com.
Patagonia Happy Hike Studio Pants
I’m always on the lookout for versatile gear that can transition between my favorite activities. The Happy Hike Studio pant combines my go-to hiking pant (I’ve been wearing my Happy Hike pants on virtually every hiking trip for the last year) with the stretchy, low profile waistband of a yoga legging. The 50+ UPF water resistant fabric is great for the trail, while the soft elastic waist and loose fit make them equally respectable as a yoga pant. I especially love smart details like the stretchy ankle cuffs, which can be pushed up the calf to give your legs even more mobility. If you’re packing super light, these pants can also serve as excellent camp PJs. The fit is pretty roomy, so you may want to get them a size smaller than normal. $79. patagonia.com.
Yoga Democracy Take the Piste Pant
In my opinion, a yoga legging that could legitimately pass as part of Rainbow Brite’s costume requires little in the way of explanation: I love them because they’re rad and fun and they make me feel like I’m ten years old. The fabric is also super lightweight and flexible, allowing full range of motion with minimal slipping (I did have to hike up the waist occasionally during class). I love that the seams use flat stitching, which reduces discomfort on high-pressure areas like the low back. The functional design is also on point with a high waist and completely opaque fabric. My favorite thing about these leggings (besides feeling like a superhero-slash-rockstar) is actually the company. Yoga Democracy is a small, direct-to-consumer shop committed to combining athletic functionality with eco-friendly fabrics. Their new line this season (which includes the Take the Piste Pant) features recycled nylon and recycled polyester fabrics. $90. yogademocracy.com.
Lululemon Free to Be Bra
There is little that’s more essential to our yoga gear arsenal than a really great bra. I’ve been wearing the Free to Be Bra on a near-daily basis for the last four weeks, so it naturally made the cut for this review. The back straps stayed clear away from my shoulder blades, eliminating rubbing or chaffing while practicing on my back. Likewise, the minimal seams on the shoulder straps reduced digging. I also love that the bra managed to stay neatly in place without the need to yank it back into place in the middle of my trikonasana. Beware, though: this bra really is designed for smaller chests – I can only stand by this statement for B-cups or smaller. And speaking of chest size, the padding is also a nice touch. Although I usually toss the extra padding in my yoga bras ASAP, the removable padding here is tasteful and low-key, and I felt like I could confidently wear it outside the studio without fear of the dreaded uniboob. $48. lululemon.com.
Photo: Devon Balet
Club Ride Double Time Pant
I love it when companies are truly mindful of their active customers who need their clothing to perform double-duty — in this case, yoga and biking. Disclosure: I am not a biker or spinner and have not actually tested these pants on a bike. However, the design is innovative enough to be included on this list. The Double Time pant combines the style/comfort expected from a true yoga tight, with a removable chamois pad for protection on a bike. The 6 mm chamois pad is anti-microbial, sweat-wicking and breathable, and can be easily removed before yoga class. These pants are a great value for those who bike to yoga, or split their routine between yoga and spinning. clubrideapparel.com.
Prana Julien Sweater
Let’s be honest: “post-yoga gear” can be anything, including your old college sweatshirt. But in order to make it onto this list, I was looking for something that combined easy slip-on wear with style that was cute enough to wear to my post-session coffee or errand. I loved the Julien Sweater because of its on-trend details and lazy-Sunday-style comfort. Its open cross back and slightly transparent knit pair equally well with sweaty yoga pants or pressed work slacks. So if you’re like me and feel slightly scandalized at the price of workout gear these days, fear not. This sweater works into your fall wardrobe just as easily as it stuffs into your gym bag. $95. prana.com.
Prana Dreaming Top
It’s all in the details, and Prana always delivers when it comes to fusing gorgeous design with functionality. The super beautiful strappy back, flattering fit, and shelf bra (with removable cups), made this my favorite top not only for the studio, but also for hiking, dog park-ing and grocery shopping. The recycled polyester and spandex fabric looks and feels more like organic cotton, giving it an earthy, cozy vibe. One of my favorite details is the seamless raw-edge hem, which eliminates uncomfortable hem digging during back or stomach poses. Pair it with Prana’s complementary Remy Legging. $69 and $85. prana.com.
Manduka Go Free Yoga Backpack
I tested several backpacks and carriers for this review, and I chose this pack from Manduka because I felt like it was truly designed with the active yogi in mind. Because a good number of people ride their bikes to the studio, I didn’t think that a traditional mat carrier was the best value. The Go Free pack has a deep enough front pocket to securely hold a yoga mat, and I love the adjustable straps to really hold it in place regardless of the mat size. The large main compartment is divided into two sections (think: separation between your sweaty, post-Bikram clothes and the groceries you pick up for dinner after class), and a small front zip pocket is useful for things you need to keep easily accessible, like keys. At just under $100, I think this pack is the best value for those who bike or walk to class and require more than a simple mat carrier. manduka.com.
Lululemon The Reversible Mat 5mm
Choosing a yoga mat was tough. Everyone has different preferences for yoga mats: some like their mats thin and minimal for a closer connection to the floor, while some of us wince in pain at the thought of a thin mat. Ultimately I decided to choose the Reversible 5mm mat because we sensitive yogis have a harder time finding a mat that can sufficiently protect bony hips and knees. This mat has 5mm of cushion, which I found just right to sufficiently reduce discomfort. I also chose it because it was the only mat in the lineup that could transition between regular and hot yoga sessions: one side is designed for grip during sweaty sessions, and the reverse is a standard textured surface designed for low-sweat classes. It is also made with an anti-microbial component that prevents bacterial and mold growth. The obvious downside to this mat is the added weight and bulk that comes with the blessed thickness, but I found that with the proper carrier (such as Lululemon’s The Yoga Bag, or Manduka’s Go Free Yoga Backpack, above) the added mass was not an issue. $68. lululemon.com.
YogaRat Towel and RatPad
When I asked some yoga-crazy friends what gear they love, one enthusiastically recommended YogaRat for towels, blocks, and straps. She raved about their affordability and easy care, and she was right. I personally tested the microfiber Diamond Grip mat towel. It was super absorbent and added grip for sweaty sessions (or for slippery mats), and fit my standard length yoga mat (24” x 72”). I used it for a week straight without washing and it still showed no signs of odor (although that’s probably longer than I would go outside of testing). It’s easily washable, and although I haven’t used it long enough to test its longevity, yogauthority.org used it for a year and praised its durability. I also tested YogaRat’s RatPad, a 1-inch thick cushion for poses that require balancing on knees, elbows, hips or head. I loved it because it was small and super light, and was easily washable in the sink. At under $10 this is a boon for those of us with sensitive pointy parts. yogarat.com.
Teaser Photo: Devon Balet