yoga 101

Lululemon – crazy good yoga gear

I first came across Lululemon at Kaliyoga in Spain. ‘Ooh, look…Lululemon,’ said the woman next to me on the mat in the yoga shala. I followed her gaze and checked out the three women in the row in front of us.
‘Lululemon?’ A particular posture maybe, or some enlightened state of mind?
‘Yoga gear. Very smart…very London…very expensive…very cultish,’ she hissed.
‘Oh, how ridiculous,’ I said.
It hadn’t occurred to me before that yoga leggings could be expensive or cultish (great word that, eh?). Up until then I’d always worn any old thing for yoga – mainly my trusty Reebok leggings that were in their tenth year then (and still going strong, btw). To be honest, I didn’t see what all the fuss was about – yes, they looked nice enough, but…well…so what?Groove pantWell, so deliciously comfortable is what’s what. This summer I finally got to try out some Lululemon and, hands up, I’ve fallen in love. I took them on my trip to Mongolia with Reclaim Your Self and they held my hand/hips/everything all the way.  Since coming back, I’ve pretty well lived in the long black yoga pants. Keep them just for yoga? No chance. The fabric is the perfect weight and holds you like a hug. The colour is superb – a really deep black black, that doesn’t fade when washed (and I have washed and washed these beauties). Amazingly, incredibly, they are actually long enough for me – I have stupidly long legs and usually have to stick with capris or crops because, frankly, there is nothing less elegant than a yoga pant spinning around the ankle. Note to shorter souls – Lululemon will hem them to your requirements.LW3J81S_011547_1

As you know, I travel a lot and I like to travel light – carry-on where possible – so my clothes have to work hard and not just double-up but triple-up or quadruple-up.  So the leggings I wear for yoga also need to work on a flight or long distance bus ride and then cope with being dressed up for dinner out, and not give out on me when I want to curl up on a rock with a book or my wayward thoughts.  Likewise my tops and cover-ups.  I just don’t have the space to take hangers-on.  I also like the simplicity of packing a minimal wardrobe of heardworking, goodlooking clothes.LW9I71S_019084_1

My little Lululemon band has done me proud. The mesh panelled crops are super lightweight -they slide away into nothing when packed yet still look good the other end. Likewise the long-sleeved top (with thumb holes – I do like a thumb-hole) – once again, stupidly comfortable and multi-tasks too (perfect for trekking as the long sleeves keep off the mozzies, but smart enough for general stuff). I’ve also worn the jacket pretty well non-stop – it’s an ideal cover-up post-yoga but also works hard in every area of my life – I slip it on to go to the shops or walk the dog; and, once again, it’s a real gift for travelling. It does crease a bit if you squash it into a rucksack, but the creases swiftly fall out once you hang it up.
Great accessories too.  Okay, so I lose things in the rucksack all the time as there are SO many pockets and compartments – but it’s great quality, comfortable to wear and, yup, once again, perfect for travelling.

Image Richard Pilnick

Image Richard Pilnick

This sounds like a bit of a bright and starey-eyed eulogy and, no, Lululemon aren’t bribing me to write nice things.  That’s so not my style.  I just like to admit when I get things wrong. It’s true, they aren’t cheap (though, to be fair, they’re not much more expensive than a lot of yoga clothing companies out there) but they’re a good investment as, ten to one, you won’t just wear them for yoga and you will keep on wearing them for years. Having said that, they do regular sales (and, on the website there’s a section called We Made Too Much) so, if you’re not worried about getting the very latest styles, you can usually pick up their gear at a decent discount.

Only problem? I’m spoilt now. I put on my old gear (including some pretty major upmarket brands) and they just don’t cut the mustard. Maybe I’m getting cultish now too.