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Pirates and yoga...interesting...(photo: tropicyoga.com)

Pirates and yoga...interesting...(photo: tropicyoga.com)

Being a New Englander…one of my favorite midsummer activities is sailing….well, that’s a stretch. I like watching other people sail who know what they are actually doing, while I just wait to be given a simple task, like skirting the mainsail in a lazy Saturday race, or making sure everyone’s beers are full.

my friend, Brian's boat, Blitzen, before a race...i think I may ave more than a liability than help in this one

before a race...I think I may be more of a liability than help in this one

the high side

the high side

I have some friends that are fantastic sailors, and who’s lives consist of  living aboard ships, small and large, and are therefore at the whim of mother nature and their own instincts.

Sailing 'Nirvana' to Nantucket last Summer overnight my friend dave up there)...dawn...perfect time for some yoga

Sailing 'Nirvana' to Nantucket last Summer overnight (my friend Dave up there)...dawn...perfect time for some yoga

When racing, core strength, leg strength, balance, and arm strength are essentials. You must be quick on your feet, perceptive, completely aware of what’s around you at all times, calm in times of utter stress, and you must be able to think extremely quickly in dire situations. Sailing well depends on your understanding the environment, your relationship with the elements of wind and water, and letting go of the idea that you can control the outcomes of your endeavors.

As an activity, it is environmentally friendly, if you don’t use the motor at all, and can humble your entire being.

although it doesn't look liek it here, my brother, Andre, is a much better sailor than I would ever be

although it doesn't look like it here, my brother, Andre, is a much better sailor than I would ever be

love those cold mornings on the water...my friend James (left) surveying the sea...

love those cold mornings on the water...my friend James (left) surveying the sea...

Yoga can help calm a sailor’s mind, get him/her in tune with elements that determine his/her course, and prepare his/her body for a race, or a casual sail.

My main fear when sailing, especially racing, is going overboard because I am so awkwardly tall and clumsy. Also, I know many of you get nauseous just at the thought of boats in the water, but I may have a few curing poses.

Even for the casual sailor, or guest on a boat, I have a few poses in mind that may be great for before, during and/or after your sail!

Wheel is great on a boat!

Wheel is great on a boat!

1. Chakrasana (wheel)strengthens legs, arms, core and increases balance and clarity of mind. Learn more from my previous post on wheel, here…

probably one of my favorite spinnakers I've seen, well at least the one that related to my life the most...saw it at a race outof boston two summers ago

probably one of my favorite spinnakers I've seen, well at least the one that related to my life the most...saw it at a race outof boston two summers ago...

2. Adho Mukha Savasana (Downward Dog)…great for the core and arm strength. Also reduces nausea and increases clarity of mind. Learn more here.

3. Balasana (Child’s pose)…calms the nerves, rejuvenates and reduces nausea. Learn more here.

4. Bakasana (crane pose)…fantastic pose for arm and core strength! Make’s you feel like you can conquer the world after conquering this pose.  Learn more here.

Tree by land or by sea!

Tree by land or by sea!

5. Vrksasana (Tree pose)…my balancing favorite…great on board! Learn more here.

Warrior III is great for balance and core strength

Warrior III is great for balance and core strength

6. Virabhandrasana (Warrior III)…also great for balance, leg, and core strength. Learn more here.

7. Ardha Chandrasana (half moon pose)…increases balance, hip strength, core strength and leg strength. Learn more here.

Walk the Plank!

Walk the Plank!

8. Plank…one of the best for core and all over body strength. Helps energize the entire body and get you centered for a long sail! Also try side plank. Learn more here.

9. Matsyasana (fish pose)…just because of the name….learn more here.

Boat pose

Boat pose

10. Boat…see Monday’s post here!

11. Malasana: Yogic squat

I also like the idea of using some recycled products while sailing and reusing ripped and old sails that typically would go straight to the landfill after use.

Go local to find recycled sail products in Gloucester, MA with Second Wind Sails…

Love this recycled sail wine bag from Secon Wind Sails...who doesnt love a great glass of organic pinot on the deck at dusk...

Love this recycled sail wine bag from Second Wind Sails...who doesn't love a great glass of organic pinot on the deck at dusk...

thats a baby in a sail bag...who does their marketing? they should get a raise...

that's a baby in a sail bag...who does their marketing? they should get a raise...

The Gloucester company, Second Wind Sails,  makes everything from Christmas stockings, to dog collars, to shower curtains, to wine bags, to pillows, to duffel bags using recycled sails.

Recycled sail yoga bad from seafevergear.com for only $19.95!

Recycled sail yoga bag from seafevergear.com for only $19.95!

Seafevergear.com also has great recycled sail products including a yoga bag for only $19.95 and is located both in San Diego and Cape Cod…

ReSail doesnt just make the typical tote-they make everything from duffels, to garment backs, to change purses and can customize any bag with your company or boat logo

ReSail (predecessor to the popular Sea Bags) doesn't just make the typical tote...they make everything from duffels, to garment backs, to change purses and can customize any bag with your company or boat logo

Although I posted earlier about “Sea Bags” recycled sails into bags…ReSail, of Newport,RI, claims to be its predecessor in style and purpose, has much more variety and is actually cheaper!…The line began with using recycled sails, and now includes any recycled material from a working sail loft (Dacron, Kevlar, etc.) using sail stitching techniques. They even make recycled Kevlar dog collars, recycled sail bean bag chairs, and recycled sail sailing jackets/vests! Check the website out here.

Yoga Onboard

Yoga Onboard

In the, why didn’t I think of this? category:

Kim Hess of Miami has created a book called “Yoga Onboard”. Kim, an avid sailor and yoga teacher, created a system of poses she believes would work well for sailors and live aboard’s. She also charters sailing yoga retreats and vacations for small groups! Find out more here.

Kim Hess, of Yoga Onboard doing some downward dog action

Kim Hess, of Yoga Onboard doing some downward dog action

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Give back and get stylish for summer with LaLESSOs designs

Give back and get stylish for summer with LaLESSO's designs

One thing that I loved about being abroad was the fashion! So many clothes…so little time…and SOOO much cheaper than the U.S.

I received a few e-mails asking where I got the skirt I was wearing on my post about Newburyport’s Farmer’s Market the other day (here)…so here is a little piece about that skirt…my oh-so-favorite skirt!

sadly, my version of this skirt did not come with a pet a camel...

sadly, my version of this skirt did not come with a pet camel...

In a boutique store in Rondebosch, just outside of Cape Town, I discovered these fabulous  printed garments, that were all hand-made and gorgeously African.

A closer look brought me to realize that all of the fabrics were hand painted and contained traditional Indian and Kenyan “handkerchief” patterns and even incorporated Swahili sayings on the prints.

The prints are then hand sewn by local Kenyan women into these wonderfully unique dress, skirts…even bathing suits and ballet flats!!

ballet flats by laLESSO

ballet flats by laLESSO

Because the fabric is hand painted, every piece of clothing is 100% unique! The company was started by two young, fresh out of University women (one from Kenya and one from South Africa) who wanted to bring African style to the fashion forward world while giving back!

The company helps support the Eastern African cotton industries and local women financially.

They have been featured in every major fashion magazine, including Elle and Vogue…

Runway show: laLESSO

Runway show: laLESSO

Here are some pics from a fashion show on the British Vogue website of LalESSO…

For an interview with the owners on their design and style philosophy…click here

IMG_3882

wearing my favorite skirt...over one year old, and after tens of washes and wears...it's still as good as new!

I walked away the first day with this wonderful Kenyan skirt (above) that is soooo comfortable.My friend Lucy, and some other friends, also fell in love with their printed dresses and splurged as well!

I literally have worn that skirt at least once a week (minus the winter) since i bought it last Spring, and it has survived TONS of washes and being bleached by the African sun on an outdoor line while abroad…

I actually have the dress on the right and in a similarly colored pattern...the Salama dress...its the perfect beach coverup or dress for evening cocktails on the ocean/beach! I wear it ALL the time!

I actually have the dress on the right and in a similarly colored pattern...the Salama dress...it's the perfect beach cover-up or dress for evening cocktails on the ocean/beach! I wear it ALL the time!

I also purchased a short, kind of sassy darker colored skirt that is black and purple, while I purchased a a halter dress that is purple, cream and black. I actually wore the dress yesterday to Rockport, MA with my family for lunch, and received a bunch of compliments on it!

They even make these adorable terry cloth beach shorts!

They even make these adorable terry cloth beach shorts!

mix and match LaLESSO bikinis (for women and babies!) with other African inspired sustainable style items...

mix and match LaLESSO bikinis and dresses (for women and babies!) with other African inspired sustainable style items...

Here’s a little blurb about the company from their web page…

All Lalesso clothing is manufactured under strict and extremely conscious ethical conditions in our self owned workshop in Kenya, East Africa. All our employees are paid well above the average wage and are already benefiting not only their lives but the lives of their families and have been able to increase their standard of living considerably. Each ‘lesso’ or ‘khanga’ is hand washed in the Indian Ocean before being transformed into a Lalesso creation; this is an age old method of aiding the stay fastness of the dyes.

Please note that the colours and pattern designs on the ‘khanga’ or ‘lesso’ are all unique, the manufacturers produce five designs each week and after that the design is never produced again. What this means is that each piece of fabric in it’s respective print will most likely never be found in the same garment twice so please understand that if you like a certain print but it’s in the wrong size, I’m afraid it is not possible to order it in your size. The colours/designs shown are ONLY available in the sizes given.”

read more about laLESSO or purchase their garments at the link below...

read more about laLESSO or purchase their garments at the link below...

Buy clothes from laLESSO here

Note: shipping to the U.S. will probably take about 4-10 days, so practice a little patience! Of course buying clothing in South Africa for me was much less expensive and I even got my Salama dress on sale for the equivalent of $30. However, the dresses and other clothing usually run from about $40 to around $100, which still isn’t too bad considering it is handmade and goes to a good a cause…I suggest waiting for a sale, though!

Update: LaLESSO is actually launching at TOP SHOP in the Oxford Circus… hopefully they will be here soon!..check out their Facebook group here

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This Saturday is obviously our country’s independence day…and hopefully New England weather will cooperate in the spirit of what we are celebrating…if it does…here are some ideas on how to wake your July 4th party eco-friendly…including cocktails and wardrobe!

Your wardrobe for July Fourth can be a way to do your part in aiding the planet…try checking out Urban Outfitters Urban Renewal Line which recycles old clothes into new ones!

Urban Outfitters Cotton floral skirt from the Urban Renewal line

Urban Outfitter's Cotton floral skirt from the Urban Renewal line

I love this red and white skirt from the Urban Renewal line ($48)…its patriotic in color…yet feminine in pattern  and style…pair it with a simple white organic tank.

Urban OUtfitters Urban Renewal denim Jacket is eco-conscious...yet a bit pricey at $148

Urban Outfitter's Urban Renewal denim Jacket is eco-conscious...yet a bit pricey at $148

Add this Urban Renewal Denim Jacket to an organic cotton white tank or dress for a true Americana look. It will keep you warm as you hang out at a cookout or on a rooftop in Boston watching the fireworks!

White organic cotton skirt from Indigenousdesigns.com

White organic cotton skirt from Indigenousdesigns.com

Pair the denim jacket with the above white skirt frmo IdigenousDesigns organic clothing.

Adina top from Eco Skin

Adina top from Eco Skin

Another adorable eco-friendly Adina top from Eco Skin. Pair with light colored jeans or a skirt, and some sandals from ecosandals.com (below)

The Safi sandle from ecosandals.com...great for the entire summer

The Safi sandal from ecosandals.com...versatile and great for the entire summer

Ecosandals.com is a non-profit e-business derived out of Nairobi, Kenya and is completely run by volunteers dedicated to reusing waste in a city that’s being over run with pollution. Buying a pair of sandals helps!

Joes Jeans is now going green with their popular Socialite jean...now made with organic cotton...

Joe's Jeans is now going green with their popular 'Socialite' jean...now made with organic cotton...

Joe’s Jeans are also taking their Socialite line and using organic cotton for it! check it out here.

Another great chouice from Urban Renewal

Another great chouice from Urban Renewal

I also love this Urban Renewal “Super Lucky Tank Dress” that was sewn together from vintage fabrics. It’s a bit of a splurge at $78 but it still reatins that  pretty and  yet patriotic motif…

Habitude bikini is eco-friendly

This DeuxFm bikini is eco-friendly because it is made from remnant fabrics and organic cotton rope ties!

This red DeuxFm Mystique bikini  is perfect for a July 4th pool/beach party!

People Trees organic waterfall dress

People Tree's organic waterfall dress

For something more formal…check out this gorgeous red dress from Peopletree.com. the site is a UK site, but it offers 20% shipping and its clothes are not that expensive to begin with. They have won numerous awards for their ethical clothing endeavors.

Empress dress from peopletree.com

Empress dress from peopletree.com

Another beautiful dress.the blue empress dress from Peopletree.com

Worldofgood.com

Worldofgood.com

To accessorize try checking of the World Of  Good site on Ebay. I found the above real turquoise necklace with red orchids on it, and the below blue necklace there. Both would be great with a simple organic black or white tank or dress.

Handcrafted beaded necklace from worldofgood.com

Handcrafted beaded necklace from worldofgood.com

I also love these bags made from recycled sails! Great for carrying all your July 4th picnic/barbecue needs! Find them at Seabgas.com.

For a cheaper version, that’s made from organic cotton instead of actual recycled sailcloth, try reiter8.com version.

REcycled sail bags

Recycled sailcloth bags from seabags.com

iWood sunglasses come in a variety of chic styles

iWood sunglasses come in a variety of chic styles

iWood sunglasses are a great sustainable fashion choice for the summer!

ORganic cotton beach towels...lay them out on the grass while you watch the fireworks...

ORganic cotton beach towels...lay them out on the grass while you watch the fireworks...

Don’t forget your organic cotton beach towel…these great and inexpensive patriotic colored towels are from seaglassorganics.com

And for all you men out there….

The Splaff mens sandal

The recycled tire Splaff men's sandal

A pair of Recycled sandals to spend the weekend in comfortably from Splaff.  They are made in California  from recycled tires and inner tubes! They are apparently very slip existent and are much classier than a more casual hemp or Chaco  sandal.

All of Patagonias polos adn t-shirts are made with 100% organic cotton adn are very reasonably priced...and comfy...try a crisp white for the 4th of July!

All of Patagonia's polo's and t-shirts are made with 100% organic cotton and are very reasonably priced...and comfy...try a crisp white for the 4th of July!

Patagonia’s clothing is all made by 100% Organic Cotton. Try their Polo’s or Graphic T-shirts…there’s even a Patagonia outlet nearby in Freeport, Maine.

ORganic cotton AMerican flag t-shirt from cafepress.com

Organic cotton American flag t-shirt from cafepress.com

This simple American Flag t-shirt is also made of organic cotton from cafepress.com

Loomstate organics..some items frmo their new menswear line- the look on the right would be perfect for the fourth

Loomstate organics..some items from their new menswear line- the look on the right would be perfect for the fourth

Some items frmo Loomstates line for Target

Some items from Loomstate's line for Target

For a casual look, try Loomstate‘s new organic cotton  line (above)…click here. Loomstate.org is also now designing their organic clothes for Target! for the Loomstate line at Target click here.

Peopletree.com also makes great menswear!

Peopletree.com also makes great menswear!

Here’s a great lightweight summer shirt from the aforementioned People tree.com.

Organic jeans from organic-matters.com

Organic jeans from organic-matters.com

For jeans…these Yaletown Jeans are certified organic and look great! Levi’s also makes organic cotton jeans now!

Organic sunscreen from Seaglassorganic.com

Organic sunscreen from Seaglassorganic.com

For some protection from the sun…try this organic sun screen, dubbed “Green Screen“,  from seaglassorganic.com.

Maines Wicked Good Charcoal makes grilling extra green!

Maine's "Wicked Good Charcoal" makes grilling extra green!

Grilling can be green if you use the right ingredients…and that includes CHARCOAL. Try the all natural  “Wicked Good Charcoal” from nearby Maine, and it is available at many local stores…including Whole Foods.

The biodegradable party kit from Branch

The biodegradable party kit from Branch

Branch also makes their party kits in sustainable bamboo

Branch also makes their party kits in sustainable bamboo

For the Party…Branch makes great biodegradable disposable plates and cups that are stylish and sustainable.

REcycled fabrics from previous fourth celebrations, or in patriotic colors are a great way to be sustainable and chic at you fourth of July party...

Recycled fabrics from previous fourth celebrations, or in patriotic colors are a great way to be sustainable and chic at you fourth of July party...

A great use of recycled Mokum textiles i foudn through otto-otto.com

A great use of recycled Mokum textiles i found through otto-otto.com

These recycled outdoor fabrics from Mokum textiles would be great to make a table-clothe or festive pillows for your patio/deck or to bring to the esplanade for a picnic!

Recycled glass votive lanterns from loghome.com

Recycled glass votive lanterns from Westelm.com

For decorations try using these recycled glass votive lanterns….stick some soy tea lights in there as well! Hang them up or leave them on a table for some great atmosphere.

Keep drinks cool in these trendy serveware items from West Elm...

Keep drinks cool in these trendy serve ware items from West Elm...

Also, to chill drinks…try this set from West Elm.

And if you really want to embark on some environmental hedonism

Tru organic vodka comes an array of flavors...maybe not the most holistic stuff to drink...but, everytihng in moderation!

Tru organic vodka comes an array of flavors...maybe not the most holistic stuff to drink...but, everything in moderation!

Tru” makes a line of Organic Vodka’s…not only are they certified USDA organic but they also are one of the world’s most  carbon-negative product! Tru has planted over 50,000 trees in response to the purchase of its products!

Mix with some organic cranberry juice and you have yourself an July fourth appropriate  “Cape-codder“!

And for you Tequila-lovers out there…there’s also Casanoble Tequila

Casanoble tequilas...

Casanoble tequila's...

Recently USDA certified organic, there are no additives in the tequila. Also they operate out of a 200 year old farm distillery in Mexico.

Try a cocktail with some organic tequila, a little organic orange juice and pineapple juice, some lime and ice!

Add some organic grenadine to make it red to be patriotic!…yes they even make organic grenadine at Naturesflavors.comclick here.

Learn more about the plight of the Tibetans by clicking on the links listed below...

Learn more about the plight of the Tibetans by clicking on the links listed below...

Now it is also important to remember this weekend all the countries that are not afforded the same liberties as we are. After living in Dharamsala, the Free Tibet campaign is very close to my heart.

To learn more about freetibet.org...click here. Or for savetibet.orgclick here.

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So in addition to my post on how to create a Moroccan-themed spa day at home…I found some enviable Moroccan inspired bathrooms….take a look…

A Truley Moorish masaic  tiled bathub...le sigh

A Truly Moorish mosaic tiled bathtub...le sigh..designed by Sig Bergamin and featured in an Elle decor book

Those antique moroccan doors make you feel liek you are stepping bakc in time...

A bathroom at La Sultana in Morocco...those antique Moroccan doors make you feel like you are stepping back in time...

check out this dusty rose bathroom from

check out this dusty rose bathroom from moroccanarchitetcure.wordpress.com

Heres a modern twist on a Moroccan style bathroom

Here's a modern twist on a Moroccan style bathroom by Delpha designs

Moroccan inspired bathroom from designholeonline.com

Moroccan inspired bathroom from designholeonline.com

this abthroom was deisgned by St.Tropez design company using traditional moroccan style tile-making techniques

This bathroom was designed by St.Tropez Boutique design company using traditional Moroccan style tile-making techniques

Some main elements of the moroccan sesign style are moorish tiles and fountains...

Some main elements of the Moroccan design style are Moorish tiles and fountains...

Even just tiling a normal western shower with Moroccan tiles and adding some North AFrican plants create a Moroccan feel...like in this bathroom designed by TimClarke.com

Even just tiling a normal western shower with Moroccan tiles and adding some North African plants create a Moroccan feel...like in this bathroom designed by TimClarke.com

Here’s a little blurb about Moroccan interior design by the writers at moroccanarchitecture.wordpress.com

“The Moroccan home is a unique blend of African, Berber, and Islamic aesthetics…Interior decor is essential to Islamic architecture. Vaults, cupolas, and arched doorways are principle features which serve both functional and aesthetic purposes. In some village homes, recessed walls and benches set in cement stucco offer simple detail.

More elaborate elements may include geometric and floral motifs carved into wood beams or plaster walls. Ceramic tile, known as zellige, is also used, and may be applied to any and all surfaces, and not limited to walls, floors, roofs, and ceilings. Creative and surprising patterns, molded organic materials, and the intriguing lines of Moroccan structural motifs make the Moroccan home an extraordinary visual playground.”

When it comes to Color in Moroccan design..don’t be shy…if there is a spice or north African natural object/vegetable/fruit/flower in that color…go for it.

Also consider the Moroccan landscape when going for color choice…maybe try some golden hues (to reflect the sand) and some blues and greens to reflect the Mediterranean Sea..

A way to get a Moroccan feel, as stated before is to go for Moorish inspired tiles, Islamic-inspired architectural details and colorful fabrics. To get all three in one…try adding a Moroccan fountain or Moroccan inspired mirror to your bathroom’s interior.

Casablancamarket.com has a fair trade selection of Moroccan decor including tiles!

Also Star of Morocco specializes in Moroccan design (one of their fountains pictured below).

Also, at berbertrading.com you can find Berber furniture and decor…even a Berber bathtub! And it’s all fair trade!

HEres a gorgeous moorish style fountain I found at moroccan-furniture-decor.com...definitely a splurge...sigh

Here's a gorgeous Moorish style fountain I found at Moroccan-furniture-decor.com...definitely a splurge...sigh...can you envision listening to its water's run as you sit in the bathtub surrounded by Moroccan lanterns...candles...ahh heaven

To make your Moroccan bathroom even more eco-friendly, try scouring local flea markets for antique Moroccan-inspired wooden doors, room dividers, mirrors,chairs and tables…one’s with even a hint of arch detail can be transformed using a little paint and some fair-trade mosaic tiles added on top!

HEres a gorgrous girly-chic take on a Moroccan bathroom featured in House Beautiful

Here's a gorgeous feminine and chic take on a Moroccan bathroom featured in House Beautiful... even New England inspired paintings..a perfect West meets North Africa combo...

the other side of the above bathroom...featured in Elle Decor

the other side of the above bathroom...featured in Elle Decor

To purchase a fantastic book on Moroccan interior design called  “Moroccan Interiors”  click here.

Moroccan Interiors...available at amazon.com

Moroccan Interiors...available at amazon.com

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Although its more economical to use the mat from the local studio at class, or to buy a cheap mat from Marshall’s or T.J. Maxx, local studio mats can have up to 100,000 bacteria per square inch, and el-cheapo mats can sometimes be made from non eco-friendly materials, and be of el-cheapo quality.

Who needs a yoga mat? (photo courtesy of anneliesrigterphotography.com)

Who needs a yoga mat? (photo courtesy of anneliesrigterphotography.com)

Original yogis, and many to this day, in India didn’t (and still don’t) even use yoga mats…connection to the earth  and stability through bare feet are optimal for a deeper yoga practice. Story goes, that B.K.S. Iyengar was teaching a class in the U.S. when he was slipping all over the place. Suddenly a student handed him a non-slippery rug…hence…the yoga mat was born.

While in India, the ashram I studied at used simple rugs, these yogis are using something a little less conventional... (photo courtesy of incomingindia.com)

While in India, the ashram I studied at used simple rugs. These yogis are using something a little less conventional... (photo courtesy of incomingindia.com)

However, for the average Joe, me, a yoga mat is a great tool to gain stability and to create a non-slippery space for oneself, in a class, or anywhere you “lay your mat”.

Most yoga mats are made with PVC’s  (polyvinyl chloride) which is a highly toxic plastic to prevent slipping. However, there have been some pretty cool advances in yoga technology to make mats eco-friendly, biodegradable, less ‘gross’ (using microban technology), and non toxic ,while new sites are offering services in which you can design your own mat! (and it gets even crazier…further down in the post)

Yogamatic provides a custom design service…

Design your own inspirational mat...even with a photo...at YOGAMATIC.COM (Click here)...a little pricey...but I would love to take some personal time on a space thats personally inspired!

Design your own inspirational mat...even with a photo...at YOGAMATIC.COM (Click here)...a little pricey...but I would love to take some personal time on a space that's personally inspired!

Even celebs have joined the yogamatic craze....

Even celebs have joined the yogamatic craze....

For some sustainable yoga mat purchases…try Jade Yoga mats. They plant a tree when you buy one of their eco-friendly mats! Their Harmony mat is also one of the best around (although they are a splurge at about $60 a pop)! Click here.

Jade Harmony Yoga mats come in an array of colors

Jade Harmony Yoga mats come in an array of colors

These Chakra yoga mats below, are on sale at yogaacessories.com and are so unique! They feature the Chakras (from root to crown) on a variety of corresponding rainbow colors to help focus your energies, mind and spirit. They are also long at 72″ and extra thick at 1/4″! Click here to purchase at only $24.95.

Chakra yoga mat

Chakra yoga mat

To support a local business…for all you Bostonians…try a mat from Lotuspad in Cambridge…and they eve are developing carbon-free shipping solutions for those not in the area, and they do BIKE DELIVERY for those who are local! The mats are wonderful, as well!

Lotuspad yoga mats in Cambridge, MA (click here)

Lotuspad yoga mats in Cambridge, MA (click here)

These all natural yoga mats, below, from 3Guna Ayurveda are more for meditation, but they are super comfy-looking, fair trade and made with organic materials.

3Guna Ayurveda yoga mat

3Guna Ayurveda yoga mat

Some eco friendly yoga mats from bluelotus.com made form natural tree rubbers (click here)

Some eco friendly yoga mats from bluelotus.com made form natural tree rubbers (click here)

treehugger.com makes a wonderful eco mat as well! (click here)

treehugger.com makes a wonderful eco-friendly mat as well! (click here)

You can also personalize your yoga mat with self-adhesive mantras and designs from omtime.com

a variety of mantra designs adn inspirational mats that are PVC-free!  (matsmatsmats.com)

A variety of mantras and designs on inspirational mats that are PVC-free available at (matsmatsmats.com)

For some more cool yoga mat designs…try matsmatsmats.com (above)

Mats that look like grass...the kitchen floor....and even chocolate?

Eco-friendly mats that look like grass...the kitchen floor....and even chocolate?

These Plank Mats (above)make you feel like you’re doing yoga on the grass, shag carpeting,  a plank of wood…or even chocolate, yes…chocolate…not sure how I feel about them for my practice, but if you’re interested click here.

Some new innovations in yoga mats include…

1. This mat by Yoga Maendy…its 6′ x 6′ Microban square mat, so its ideal for partner yoga, experimenting so you don’t fall of your mat in more difficult poses, and for the extra tall person…like me! For more info…click here.

This giant Maendy Mat is a steal at $49!

This giant Maendy Mat is a steal at $49!

2. Really want a yoga island? Try this ROUND mat from Mandalyogamat.com.

These round yoga mats from mandalayogamat.com make you feel lke you are in your own sacred mandala, or lotus flower...

These round yoga mats from mandalayogamat.com make you feel like you are in your own sacred mandala, or lotus flower...

3. In the “You’ve got to be kidding me” category….Technology and yoga mats? Who would have thought…? These guys did…at Yanko Design some yoga loving techies invented a “Super Yoga Mat” in which the mat ‘unfurls’ from a metal tube that can play music or yoga videos right on the mat…for more info click here.

Yanko Designs Super Yoga mat plays yoga DVDs right on your mat!

Yanko Design's Super Yoga mat plays yoga DVD's right on your mat!

I don’t know about you, but over the years i have accumulated a slew of mats. After about a year of practice they can get a little grimy, and I am the victim of impulse buying when I see a new funky pattern that inspires me. I started keeping mats in emergency places…like they are fire extinguishers or emergency flashlights…one in my car…the corner of my room…by the back door to the porch…the garage…you know, just in case….its getting out of hand.

But what do I do with all the extra/old yoga mats? There is a solution!

The Boulder Mat company has a recycle program where you can donate your old mat and get a $5 discount on purchasing a new one! The company will donate the mat to charity or break it down and make a new one!

Recycle your mat with any of these ideas or at the website above!

Recycle your mat with any of these ideas or at the website above!

Gaiam has a list of 50 ways to reuse your mat here. Tips include sound proofing, tree ornaments, dog/cat food dish no-slip pads, lining kitchen shelves, donating to animal shelters, flower pot drainers, and even bases for a baseball game with the kids!

Some tips on Yoga mat etiquette when in a class or practicing at home…

1. Clean it with a natural cleanser after use! Bacteria and mold thrive on yoga mats… and let it hang out to dry afterward, especially after hot yoga. Wash your yoga rug (blanket) as well after every few uses and cleanse your blocks/straps with some non-toxic wipes/cleanser as well.But be careful to dry after cleansing…sprays can leave your tools slippery and therefore dangerous.

Here are some wonderful cleansers I’ve found and tried…

This Vermont Soap Yoga Mat Wash is great! Its certified organic and is under 10 bucks for 16 oz.! click here...

This Vermont Soap Yoga Mat Wash is great! It's certified organic and is under 10 bucks for 16 oz.! click here...

Stirlen makes a line of all natural cleansers that are biodegradable. Stirlen Chi spray has natural hormonizing scents and is also under $10....click here...

Stirlen makes a line of all natural cleansers that are biodegradable. Stirlen "Chi" spray has natural harmonizing scents and is also under $10....click here...

Happy Yoga Mat wash comes in wipes ad spray! Its organic/vegan, with refreshing citrus and lavender scents, and antifungall tea tree oil...click here...

Happy Yoga Mat wash comes in wipes ad spray! It's organic/vegan, with refreshing citrus and lavender scents, and anti-fungal tea tree oil...click here...

2. Do not step on anyone’s yoga mat but your own (except in couple’s yoga). Feet bring in toxins and dirt from the outside world and its not the nicest thing to step on a neighbor’s “private practice space” they have set up in class. Wash your own feet before practicing…remember you’ll go from Mountain pose at the top of your mat, to face down in the same place while taking a break from Bow.

Summer time...try to feel the sand between your toes...(photo courtesy of livebreatheyoga.com)

The most eco-friendly mat around...(photo courtesy of livebreatheyoga.com)

One more tip…since it is summer…try forgoing the mat altogether for one practice and take a step to be closer to nature by performing some poses in a flat and sturdy patch of grass or sand….its amazing!

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