Yoga for me has always functioned as a vehicle of escape; a means of liberating my mind and body from the often gloomy prospects attached to the human condition; that inner self-constructed critic that seems at once both a separate and yet frighteningly inherent aspect of the self is momentarily freed from its psychological confines. The waves of self doubt retreat, becoming replaced by the steady mindful rhythms of oojai breathing, an empowering reaffirmation of one’s own inner capacity to regain control of their thoughts through the simple act of breath, of spirit. I reclaim command of my too often auto tuned vessel, sailing into vinyasa flows with an ease and grace that runs contrary to the staccato like movements of everyday existence; the interminable sense of indecisiveness, of not ever knowing quite sure where one is going; of as the talking heads once described it “making up as we go along”.
My body inherits an alternative function. It is no longer a fragmented object subject for the male gaze nor is it an flawed collection of shapes to be ridiculed, but rather operates as one moving integrated whole, whose value lies in not in its capacity to fit into a certain socially constructed ideal of feminine perfection, but rather in its very ability to function; of moving in a way that enables one to become reacquainted with the most fundamental defining aspect of the self; that which grants them life, and that which we so invariably take for granted in foolishly assuming that something so finite, so temporal as life and the beating of ones heart will never cease.
This is one of the many reasons why yoga is so important to me and why I feel compelled to share some of my most cherished ethical clothing sites which cater for yogis of every shape and size. The key tenets of empathy and non-violence or peace channeled through one’s yoga practice ought to necessarily be applied to other aspects of our lives. We can use the tools of yoga not only to do yoga but also as a guide for leading a more compassionate existence. And what better way to begin in this effort than by considering the very garments we wear during our practice and what they represent; in other words by considering investing in yoga clothing that epitomizes some of the core messages of yoga, namely love and ahimsa; clothing manufactured in a sustainable, and ethical manner by workers treated with fairness and compassion; clothing that makes for a better planet defined by the core values of fairness, equality and non-violence towards both human and non-human animals.
Below I have comprised a list of some of my favorite ethical clothing sites that specialize in ethical yoga and workout clothing.*
- Californian Company based in Carlsbad
- Seek out materials from sustainable sources (Organic Cotton, Hemp, Recycled Polyester)
- Fair Trade certified.
- Clothing made from sustainable fabrics-Organic cotton and beechwood fibre
- Made in East Sussex by small team of dedicated craftspeople
Zen By Sen
- Sustainable, stylish, sporty, colorful clothing
- Born out of passion for sustainable fashion and passion for yoga
- High-fashion products from Dutch soil.
- Made of organic cotton and recycled polyamide from old abandoned fishing net.
Carrot Banana Peach
All plant based materials minus the “milk” clothing
- Organic plant based clothing brand
- Use sustainable fabrics (organic cotton, soybean, bamboo and Aloe Vera )
- Fabrics made from organic cotton and bamboo
- Sweatshop-free clothing produced by a small team of about 50 individuals in southern Turkey.
- Ethical worker treatment (9-5 working hours; fair wages; paid holidays)
- Sustainable production methods and practices
*Please note however that not all of these sites contain only vegan clothing