I’ve been practicing Ashtanga yoga for nearly a year and a half now. While I go on hiatus every once in a while (looking at you, Kansas City and New York Fashion Weeks), I’m typically a devoted Tuesday-and-Thursday practitioner at the best yoga studio in my lovely city.
Yoga is something I truly believes keeps me balanced on so many levels. In addition to the physical benefits of the difficult Ashtanga practice (this ain’t your “lay around and breathe peacefully practice,” y’all), Ashtanga has been instrumental in keeping me emotionally sane.
Knowing I have a little bit of time — three hours a week — to be completely unplugged and focused on my own well-being keeps me happy. As much as an exaggeration as it may seem, I also feel that Ashtanga has helped with my acne. Sweating out toxins in an 85-degree room twice a week has done wonders for my skin.
But as with any activity that causes you to sweat it all out, you want to be proactive about cleaning it up! Today I’m giving you a peek into my yoga bag, with an emphasis on the products I use to make sure my face and mat stay clean post-workout.
Once I decided Ashtanga yoga and I were in it for the long haul, I decided to upgrade from my mass retailer mat to the Manduka PROLite Mat. It took a bit of researching and back and forth (there’s a big debate between Manduka and Jade mats), but I opted for Manduka because 1) it’s the mat my instructors, who I adore, use and 2) it has a lifetime guarantee.
I’ve loved Yellow Box shoes since I was in high school. I don’t know what that says about me, nearly 10 years post-graduation, but if you like something, you like something! I’m partial to my Yellow Box flippies because of the squishy texture that awaits my well-stretched toes after class. I keep my polka dotted ones in my bag so I’m never left stranded barefoot or worse, in high heels and yoga pants (Yeap, that has happened before. Lesson learned.)
3. Beach Towel
Instead of buying a special yoga mat towel, I tote a beach towel with me during warm-weather workouts to provide an additional sweat barrier to my mat. In the cooler months, I just carry a hand towel in my bag for face blotting, but in Kansas City summers, no mat is safe from sweat. I use my beach towel in the back 1/3 of my mat for back bends, shoulder stands and other instances when my sweaty body has to lay on my mat.
Speaking of a sweaty mat, I’ve made it a best practice to clean mine immediately after class. One thing I keep in my bag at all times is a homemade concoction of lavender oil, tea tree oil, vodka and water. After class, I head to the bathroom to wash up, and am sure to spray down my mat with this natural antifungal cocktail.
I picked up this headband at Lululemon back when my hair was longer. It hasn’t worked as well with my shorter mop for some reason, but with longer hair, it helped keep my strands in place throughout class. I will say, though, that every once in a while it would pop off (though it has little gripper things on the inside), but I preferred this flat headband especially for head-to-the-floor poses such as Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C and D, where a traditional headband can hurt the head too much.
Though a traditional headband doesn’t work in Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C and D (I remove it in these poses), it’s still the best bet for keeping short hair in its place during the rest of practice. I find it a bit funny to wear such a girlish headband (yes, mine has a flat bow and is a dusty rose color) during class, but it’s just something I had laying around, so might as well put it to good use!
7. Yogi Wipes
Aw, my dear Yogi Wipes! While I’m not too keen on well-marketed “yoga wipes,” (see the DIY above), I did enjoy my small sample of Yogi Wipes I received (about five individually packets) — but not for my face. These are intended as face wipes, but I found them to be a bit drying and sting my face upon application. The wipe size is huge, though, and makes for a wonderful mat wipe, which is how I used the rest of my samples. I wouldn’t buy these on my own mostly because a DIY mat cleaning solution is a no-brainer, but if you’re looking for convenience, you may want to check them out.
Instead of bringing a separate facial cleanser with me for post-class, when it’s a bit crowded in the bathroom, I instead opt for these Kaia bamboo cleansing clothes. They’re extremely gentle and offer a refreshing cleanse thanks to citrus oils. Yes, I know that citrus oils are a no-no for daytime because of photosensitivity issues, but these cloths are perfectly fine for 7:30 p.m. and a quick jaunt home. I’ve never had any issues and love the quick, no-nonsense cleanse these offer post-workout. I received these as a sample from Fresh Faced, which seems to no longer carry the line, but you can easily find them at Kaia’s on website, too.
9. Assorted Deodorants
I’m not offering any specific deodorant review here as most of you are likely familiar with my search for a great natural deodorant. That said, I keep a stash of several random deodorants in my bag so that I know I’m never without it (that’s happened before pre-class and it was awful!). One of the many tests that all natural deodorants I review go through is the Ashtanga test, so at some point in time, any deodorant I’m using ends up in the bag!
Do you practice yoga? If so, what staples — beauty or otherwise — are in your yoga bag? Share with me in the comments section!