What to Look for In a Pair of Yoga Pants

Yogis, I'm sure you've been there before: you're at your favorite studio, five minutes into class, and you realize... "Sh*t. These yoga pants suck!"

Or maybe you're new to yoga and trying to decide where to shop.

Well, let me help you out a little bit :)

What makes a pair of yoga pants awesome?

To me, finding a wonderful pair of leggings to wear to yoga is about three things:

1. Comfort. I like my yoga pants to fit snugly, but not so snug that they're uncomfortable. Yoga pants should be comfy enough that I can wear them for half the day, or more. 

2. Performance. Do the yoga pants move around too much while I'm practicing, or do they stay put? Do I feel hot when I wear them, or is the material breathable, so if I start to sweat I don't feel stuffy or overheated? Consider how well your yoga wear will perform as you practice, especially if there's heat involved.

3. Fun design. Let's be honest-- the new trends in yoga wear offer a variety of fun, creative print designs. Long gone are the days of boring yoga pants!

My new favorite yoga pants? Ginger Orange. I've been wearing my awesome purple leggings a lot lately and I've noticed that they are super comfortable and they stay put when I practice. Plus, they're gorgeous!

On the Ginger Orange website it says that their brand offers "activewear for rebel yogis, urban nomads and barefoot hippies." Now that's an awesome approach for yoga pants, if you ask me!

Photos in this post by Ken Johnson of CKCImage.com, featuring classic royal purple Ginger Orange leggings.

PS Regardless of what yoga pants you're wearing, I think you're beautiful.

Summer Sun Salutation (Yogi Surprise July Review)

Are you enjoying your summer, yogis?

I can't believe July is already halfway over! Hope you're enjoying slow, sunny days whenever you can. The summer season is one of my favorites, and I've been especially grateful for cooler weather on the coast lately.

I made a trip to visit friends and family in the Sacramento area last week and it was over 100 degrees-- too hot for me! When we returned to the green forests and cool breezes up here in Humboldt County, I felt quite relieved :)

I love that summer encourages us to celebrate. To be outdoors. To invigorate our hearts, be creative, and strengthen our determination!

I believe with all the heat and passion of summer, it's also important to find ease and balance even in this active time of year.

What are some of your favorite ways to wind down on warm summer nights?

I absolutely love my new Yogi Surprise July box, which was filled with summer essentials to help me relax and unwind.

These are my three favorite products from the box:

Shea Radiance whipped shea butter with apricot oil. Oh. My. Goodness. This stuff is incredible! I've been using it on my feet at bedtime and it feels so luxurious. It's also great for moisturizing my feet, especially the area around my heels which has been dry and a little cracked lately from walking around barefoot and going to the beach. I'll definitely be buying a new stash of this amazing butter after I run out.

Gypsy Soul Organics sun salutation salve. This little guy is my new favorite lip balm. It's now at home in the easiest-to-reach-pouch of my purse -- 'nuff said :)
Manduka Equa yoga hand towel. This super-soft microfiber towel absorbs sweat quickly, and is now an essential in my gym bag or whenever I take a sweaty hot yoga class. It's perfect for someone like me, because as you know, I sweat a lot! :) I'm grateful that Yogi Surprise has partnered with Manduka because I believe they're one of the best brands out there for yoga gear (you can read my review of their lightweight travel mat, or check out how much the Sponsored Yogis team loved their cushy, supportive eKo mats.)

Cheers to keeping cool, calm, and refreshed all weekend, and throughout the rest of summer, too! Namaste.

Fun, Funky Shoes for Summer

Summer is here!

Well, not officially... but it sure feels like summer here in northern California :) 

Which for me means it's time to be barefoot or wearing comfortable, lightweight shoes. Recently I found the perfect pair from Iguaneye -- these little slip-ons are perfect for around the house, walking, hanging out on the beach, and kayaking (my favorite!).

I also like to wear them to and from the yoga studio, since they're perfect for on-the-go since they slip on. 

The other thing about Iguaneye that's rad is that these little shoes were inspired by the Amazonians. As the Iguaneye website reads, "Amazon Indians dipped their feet in the latex from hevea tree and smoked them in a fire to coagulate the rubber first tennis shoes...”

So cool!

Last weekend I wore these on our little kayak trip and was grateful to be comfortable during our walk on the trail down to the water.

These seamless slip-on shoes are lovely, and you can customize your order to pick any color combo for the sole and outer part of the shoe.

Plus, Iguaneye shoes feature little slits on the side for ventilation which means they don't get stinky and they dry out quickly. You can even opt to leave the sole part out.

Apparently the shoes are a big hit among minimalist runners, too, and are made from all recyclable material. 

I love my Iguaneye shoes and will definitely be rocking them all summer long!
What fun, funky summer shoes are you wearing?

Inspired Intention (Yogi Surprise January Review)

What intentions have you set for this new year?

Or, perhaps a better question, what is your intention today? This hour? This moment?

I find that it's a beautiful practice to center myself on a quality that I want to bring into my experience: inviting grace, allowing imperfection, releasing negativity, surrendering fear, or welcoming love.

I love that this month's Yogi Surprise box -- the box that's launching us into 2016! -- is themed around intention inspired. From their love note inside the box:

Whether it's cleaning out the old, aligning yourself with positive opportunities, or expressing more gratitude, setting new intentions invoke actions toward the attainment of measurable goals. By setting these liberating intentions, we can also begin to love without holding back.

Isn't that a beautiful thought? Liberating intentions. Not intentions that are so rigid or fixed that we become attached to them, or attached to the outcome of whether we follow through on them... but rather, freeing intentions that help encourage us and bring our dreams to life!

Here are my favorite three items from the January 2016 Yogi Surprise subscription box. I'll be using them to help inspire my intentions and stay mindful and present, moment by moment.

  • Valentina's home brewed 'Protection' perfume oil: I love the handy roller and the lovely blend of frankincense, myrrh, and patchouli in this oil. It's perfect for wearing as I recover from being sick and need protection from energy around me throughout my day.
  • 21 Drops natural aromatherapy 'sleep' oil: here's another beautiful essential oil that I'm going to be using constantly! I keep it next to my bed and use it in the minutes leading up to sleep. There's Palmarosa (to help diminish anxiety), Sandalwood (to quiet the mind), Vetiver (to help with relaxation) and Ylang Ylang (to encourage peace). Amazing!

As always, a big thanks to the team at Yogi Surprise for sharing such wonderful products. Be sure to check out my reviews of their December and November boxes for more awesome ideas! Namaste.

The 2015 Alive in the Fire Yogi Holiday Gift Guide, Part 1

Photo via MyOm Yoga.

Happy holidays, yogis!

Do you participate in the Christmas gift-giving tradition?

I'm doing my best to shift away from raw consumerism (buying pointless stuff) to creating heartfelt, personalized gifts for people I love. With that in mind, I'd like to kick off the Alive in the Fire 2015 Holiday Gift Guide!

May these ideas inspire you to be generous and creative. Namaste.

Alive in the Fire Holiday Gift Guide: Part 1
Gift Ideas for 'The Yogi Who Has Everything'
It's hard to find good yoga apps, and I was so happy when I discovered MY OM. You can use this app to learn about yogic philosophy, Sanskrit, chakras, and asana alignment. The app is set up with quizzes that help you explore, stay curious, and learn new information. Whether you’re a seasoned yogi, are in the midst of certification, or have been teaching for years and are looking to refresh and challenge your knowledge, MY OM is a fun and approachable learning tool.

 Photos via Four Athletics.

How often do you hear about high-quality yoga wear that's comfortable, functional and affordable? And made in the United States?! I've been blogging about yoga for over 5 years and I've never heard of a brand like this until now! 

Most of us are tired of spending $75+ on a single piece of yoga wear. I'm so happy to see the Four Athletics brand emerging through their Kickstarter campaign. Keep an eye out - they're going to be doing big things in the yoga and fitness world! PS The diagram below shows how they are using crowdfunding instead of a traditional retail model. Amazing!

I love DIY beauty treatments. This deck of cards has a great variety of homemade skincare recipes that can be used for any skin concern... cleansers, exfoliators, moisturizers, masks, sunscreens... you name it! This is a perfect gift for any yogi in your life who loves to sweat and wants their skin to stay happy and healthy before and after yoga class.
Photo via Uncommon Goods.

A 'Namaste' pillow. Boom. ;)
Yogi Surprise is hands-down my favorite brand I discovered through my blog. Their subscription boxes are filled with fun goodies -- yoga props, healthy snacks, all-natural bath and body products, posture sequence cards, books, and sometimes jewelry. It's like a little retreat every time it comes in the mail. See some recent box reviews from Yogi Surprise November and Yogi Surprise February.

Stay tuned for the next part of the holiday gift guide... gifts to take your asana practice to the next level!


Photos by Todd Petrik. 
Do you wear glasses?

Finding awesome frames at reasonable prices can be hard. My absolute favorite place to shop online for glasses is Firmoo.com. Have you guys ever tried the site?

Glasses photos via Firmoo.

It's easy-to-use, very well organized, and offers a huge variety of eyeglasses and sunglasses. Working with their team has been a breeze-- their customer service is great and they're happy to answer any questions right away.

I also love that they have a little online tool where you can try on frames before you buy them to see how they'd look on your own face :) Really fun!

PS Check out these awesome sunglasses from Firmoo I tried over the summer, and another great pair of sunglasses from a few years ago. Thank you, Team Firmoo!

Gratitude (Yogi Surprise November)

Photo by Tra Huynh of Two Twenty Photography.

My lovely yogis, how's November going for you? Are you staying grounded in gratitude?

I've been keeping the gratitude theme going around here at Alive in the Fire, and was excited to see that the team over at Yogi Surprise is doing the same :)

My box arrived this week and I did a little happy dance when I opened it up to find such amazing goodies. This box is my favorite box yet -- I loved absolutely every item in there. :) Thank you, Yogi Surprise team!

  • Yogi Surprise yoga sequence series card. Loved the poses focused on self-acceptance, generosity, and serenity.
  • Sibu Beauty sea buckthorn age defying eye cream. This stuff works great and helps make me feel pretty. Jess says, you're already pretty! haha ;)

Photo via Yuni.
  • Yuni Beauty instant shower sheets. These things are genius...they're not standard size wipes - they're big! So it's actually like having a little mini shower. Highly recommend for any other yoga teachers who sweat a lot and need to run from class to class. Also, they're very reasonably priced if you need to buy more after the Yogi Surprise ones run out :)

Feeling very grateful for the Yogi Surprise team for continually finding the best brands the health and wellness community has to offer!

If you haven't signed up yet, go get yourself set up for a mini vacation once a month. And if you need a gift idea for friends or family (or your favorite yoga teacher), this is the way to go!


Eco-Friendly Yoga Wear

Photo via Balini Sportswear on Kickstarter.

As a yoga blogger, I'm always grateful to connect with other yogis who share an entrepreneurial spirit, and a giving heart.

Ada from Balini Sports is one such yogini. When she emailed me about her yoga wear company, I was immediately impressed by her passion for yoga and her generosity in sending me some sports bras to try out. It's a gift to be able to connect with people like Ada, and that's why today I'd love for you to check out her Kickstarter video. She's raising money so that she can continue to grow her business and generate awareness around the importance of creating environmentally friendly yoga wear.

Photos via Balini Sportswear.

The Balini Sports collection of yoga wear is incredibly comfortable, functional, and stylish, and made by a team who truly care about what they're doing. Ada is truly a gem, and I couldn't be happier for her and the incredible impact she's making in the yoga wear community. I hope you'll support her Kickstarter and check out the awesome clothes, too! Thanks, Ada, for all you do. Namaste.

PS The video features some incredible underwater yoga photography... and if you're into hot yoga, these clothes are perfect for you!

Holiday Gift Guide 2014, Continued

Photo via Pinterest.
Hi, yogis!

Today I’m bringing you more goodies for the 2014 Alive inthe Fire Holiday Gift Guide. I keep finding awesome gift ideas… and, maybe you’re like me, and you’re having trouble figuring out what to get for those few hard-to-buy-for people on your list :) Hope you enjoy these!

If you’re a yogi living in northern California, this is an awesome deal to check out. For only $40, you can visit over 30 different yoga studios in the area, from downtown Sac all the way up to Auburn, Grass Valley and Placerville. The pass gets you a single drop-in at every participating studio between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015. That’s an incredible deal, when you do the math! I just bought a pass and will be gifting some this year as well.

These handy cards feature simple, delicious raw food recipes. I love that they’re easy to carry and include information about the benefits of a raw food diet. Great stocking stuffer or gift for friends who are looking to be healthy in the new year!

This project carries a simple message: You are beautiful! What a great reminder to have on a fun little silver sticker, t-shirt or mirror. I was lucky enough to receive the t-shirt from a friend, and it’s super comfy.

Kari Gran Skincare
Be kind to your skin: that’s the idea behind this lovely brand of beauty products. Love it! Their Starter Kit is amazing, and features a two-week supply of the Kari Gran skin care system. It includes essential serum, rose hydrating tonic, and cleansing oil in lovely little travel-size containers.

Nothing says ‘Let’s celebrate’ like this cute bottle opener!

Wouldn’t this little guy look adorable in your kitchen, or even on the front desk at the yoga studio?

Yoga Mats, Blocks and Props
Every yogi knows the value of a great yoga block and a comfortable yoga mat. I am a fan of JBN WoodCraft and Manduka, which are fairly pricey, and if you're looking to shop for a wide variety of mats and props, try IYoga Props! The brand carries a wide variety of yoga mats, props, and yoga videos to help  you stay supported in your practice. I also love their blog as a wonderful resource on all things yoga!

Because it comes in dosha-specific flavors, and is the yummiest version of chapstick I’ve ever had.

I know I mentioned YMX in the previous gift guide post, but wanted to include a quick update… YMX is featuring a wonderful holiday sale right now, featuring a free gift with purchase and free returns and exchanges! If you’d like to save an additional 35%, use my ambassador discount code at checkout: XMAS5. Cheers!

PS Here's the first part of the 2014 Yogi Holiday Gift Guide.

Weekend Announcements + Giveaway Winners!

Photo by Jobi Otso.

Happy Friday, lovely yogis! I have some exciting things going on around here at Alive in the Fire... first off, I'd like to announce the winners from the Black Friday week giveaways! :)

Congrats to Beth, the winner of the yoga and meditation apps, Jose, the winner of the yoga book, and Caro, the winner of the Yoga Download subscription. Please email me at aliveinthefire at gmail dot com to claim your lovely prizes!

I'm also excited to present the launch of my new blog design. I collaborated with the talented Rebecca Hawkes on the gorgeous watercolor-style header and absolutely love her work! I highly recommend her if you're in need of any graphic design :)

I'd love to hear your feedback, and as always, thank you so much for following along.

Finally, I'd like to invite you to stay tuned for an upcoming announcement about Sponsored Yogis 2015! I'll be accepting applications starting later this month, and I hope you'll check out the program.

Have a kick-ass weekend, and much love to you :)

PS If you missed it, the 2014 Yogi Holiday Gift Guide has some cool ideas for Christmas gifts.

Alive in the Fire’s 2014 Yogi Holiday Gift Guide

Photo via Pinterest.

Welcome to the 2014 Yogi Holiday Gift Guide! This year’s list features some of my favorite yoga wear, books, and other goodies. Enjoy...

The Zen Habits Book by Leo Babauta
Leo’s blog is an ongoing source of inspiration for me. He writes in a beautiful, effortless way, and his book is sure to be full of motivation and encouragement. As he says, “Zen Habits is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness.” For more info, you can check out my post about the book project, too.


Workout Gear from YMX
YMX makes high-performance clothing with badass style, perfect for wearing during yoga class, a mountain bike ride, a ski or snowboard run, or even as a layer in your everyday outfit. I’m lucky to be one of their newest ambassadors for the brand.

Scents by The Goddess Line
The Goddess Line fragrances are so lovely! In their shop, you can find roll-on oils, candles, lip balm, soap, lotion and yoga mat wash, and more. My favorites are Parvati and Lakshmi.

Custom Yoga Wear from Couture Tee
Tristan’s incredible, custom-made yoga pants are the most comfortable yoga wear I own. Every time I wear my tie-dyed pair to the studio, I get compliments about their fun, funky design! I love that this brand fuses stylish cuts with incredible cultural art. The pants are made of organic, sustainable cotton, spandex and Lycra blends, and every pair is hand made in the US.

The Yoga Shred app by Sadie Nardini
I can’t wait to try this unique mix of yoga and high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. After a while practicing similar yoga routines, I sometimes get bored and uninspired. Sadie’s rockstar personality, energetic approach, and incredible knowledge of asana and the body will make this program a lot of fun—and super effective, I bet! I’ll be starting the 2-week program with a friend later this month. Stay tuned for more posts about it! And you can read more about Sadie here.

Yogi Surprise Subscription Box
A gift box subscription unlike any other… like a little retreat delivered to your doorstep! Yogi Surprise features artisan sellers with healthy foods, organic body products, and relaxing treats so you can pamper yourself. Plus, their website features giveaways for yoga retreats around the world every month! The box would be an awesome gift to a friend, or even to yourself. Read my review of the first box here.

A refreshing, energizing drink made with Hawaiian noni, acai, goji and passion fruit juices. Great for before or after yoga class!

KIND Granola Bars

Kind bars are so delicious, satisfying, and healthy. I consider them the perfect pre- or post-yoga snack! Bonus: their motto is ‘ingredients you can see and pronounce,’ so you know the bars are good for you. The yogurt ones are my fave.

Photo via Pinterest.

Namaste, lovely ones! Feel free to share your gift ideas in the comments below (and you're always welcome to shoot me an email if you'd like to be featured in a post like this!).

PS If you need more ideas, check out last year’s holiday gift guide! Here’s part 1, part 2, and part 3.

PPS If you’re looking for non-traditional gift ideas, the Zen Habits gift list is awesome.

Note: all photos in this post via websites linked above the photo.

Photo via Pinterest.

Yoga in Autumn

Fall is here!

I’m in love with this time of year.

‘Tis the season… for wearing cozy sweaters

…holding the mug in my palms for a minute before I sip my coffee, so I can feel the warmth…

…wearing boots and scarves…

…reading with the window open on rainy days so I can hear the sound of it…


…enjoying fires in the fire pit…

…and of course, turning up the heat a little bit in my yoga practice.

How are you liking fall so far?

PS If you’re looking for lovely, comfy fall styles, try Cozy Orange. The teal pullover sweater and the rad patterned blue and black leggings I’m wearing here are from their shop. Bonus: their clothing is eco-friendly, and the company is taking steps to help end world poverty. Amazing!

Summer Sunglasses from Firmoo (And a Giveaway!)


Who doesn’t want free sunglasses in summer?!

I am grateful that Firmoo reached out and offered me the chance to try a new pair. I picked these awesome purple shades – I could not resist! I love how often getting the chance to write about a product on my blog encourages me to pick something a little more wild than I might normally choose :)

Of course I went with these badass purple shades – they are great for lounging poolside, going for evening walks, and summer hikes with friends!

I highly recommend Firmoo; they have an awesome website with lots of choices for glasses and sunglasses, which you can order with or without a prescription. Their website is easy to use, and they’ve got this handy feature where you can upload a picture of yourself and see what you’d look like wearing a certain pair of frames (it’s called their Virtual Try-On feature).


GIVEAWAY! Firmoo is giving away 5 free sets of frames to Alive in the Fire readers! If you would like a pair, please leave a comment below or send me an email at aliveinthefire at gmail dot com and I'll gift you the code :)

PS Check out this other pair of sunglasses I reviewed for Firmoo a while ago. Happy shopping, yogis!

Using a Block During Yoga

Photo by Justin Kral.

Using a block during yoga class can help you deepen your practice, whether you’re trying a balancing pose you've never done before, or feeling a posture in a new way by finding integrated alignment.

Photo via Boforbesyoga.

A block can also be used to build strength, like if you’re holding one during a warrior pose…

…or even to encourage the body to relax, the joints to open, and the muscles to release and lengthen, like in supported savasana.
Photo via Shop Half Moon.

I love using a block in Warrior III, and Balancing Half Moon.

You can even try standing on a block for Tree pose, to play with improving your balance.

Photo via The Daily Bandha.

Or placing a block under each shoulder during Chaturanga Dandasana, to feel the alignment in the shoulders. I also highly recommend using a strap around the upper arms, just above the elbows, when you’re learning this pose!

Photo via Hearts Expanding.
Photo via Pinterest.

If you’re looking for a block to use for your home practice or a sweaty vinyasa class, I highly recommend Kulae’s cork yoga block. The block has great traction and is eco-friendly.

Photo via Kulae.

If you’re doing a more relaxed, non-heated practice or a yin class, I recommend JBN Woodcraft’s handmade wood yoga block. These are so beautiful – handmade in a variety of types of wood, including maple, sappelle, and cherry. You can have a custom engraving made, like the “Bhakti” text seen here. These blocks are a bit heavier but perfect for keeping around your home in your own sacred space. They’d make a lovely gift for your favorite yogi friends and teachers, or even a nice piece to put on your at-home altar, if you have one!

Photo via JBN Woodcraft.

Do you have certain postures you’re working on with a block? 

Manduka Yoga Mats

Photos by Justin Kral of Kral Studios.

Yoga mats matter. Not only because they lay a foundation under our hands and feet when we practice, but because the way they’re produced can have a big impact on the environment.

I have a new favorite mat: Manduka’s LiveON yoga mat. Their team was kind enough to send me one to try out and I’m absolutely in love with it.

Here’s why:
  • The no-slip grip is incredible, better than any other mat I’ve used before.
  • The mat is lightweight but still provides a lot of comfort. It’s amazingly cushiony for only being 5mm in diameter.
  • I love the color! So fun and spring-y.
  • The mat is made out of 100% recyclable PLUSfoam material. After using this mat for a long time, I can send it in to PLUSfoam and they’ll make it into new products. As they say, they’re “putting landfills out of business.” Amazing! 

The LiveON yoga mat is perfect for my at-home practice and for when I do yoga in the park (it’s ideal for non-heated classes). I highly recommend checking out this mat as soon as it releases – you can sign up here to be in the loop when it goes on sale in June 2014.

Thanks, Manduka, for living up to your promises as a sustainable company – and for your generous sharing of this yoga mat! I’ll be practicing on it for years, I can already tell.

Manduka is more than eco-conscious yoga gear. Way more. We are joyology – a study in living. Our { mission } starts on the mat. --> I couldn't agree more! :)

Introducing Sponsored Yogi Sam (Plus a Review of Prana Vida Yoga Wear)

Photos via Sam.

Hey all... happy weekend :) Hope you are relaxing and enjoying time with those you love.

Today I'm excited to introduce you to Sam, one of my lovely sponsored yogis. Sam has been practicing yoga for over 8 years, in a variety of styles: Bikram, Kundalini, Dhyana, Hatha, Dahn, and Yin. She also enjoys Pilates, cooking, working out, dancing, traveling, writing, painting, photography, and learning new languages.

When I read Sam's application for Sponsored Yogis, her compassion really resonated. As she says:

What is unique about me is my love for people and the ability to connect with anyone I encounter. I am an open spirit and I am willing to lay it all on the table. This characteristic easily puts others at ease, often moving them to do the same. 

My ability to connect with people from all backgrounds in short periods of time is partially due to growing up as an Air Force brat and living everywhere from Tucson, AZ to Incirlik, Turkey. My friends, family and coworkers are throughout the world. 

My background is in international security, Middle East, religion and sociology. I currently work for a government contractor in a typical DC job, and do freelance translation and editing on the side. 

As part of the Sponsored Yogis program, Sam received some rockin' yoga wear from Prana Vida. Here are her thoughts on the gear...

I was so excited when I received my package from Prana Vida! Amelia sent a pair of flow capris in Evergreen and a headband, racerback tank, and leggings in Fireside. Everything was true to size, great quality, and the material was so soft and lightweight.

I’m usually hesitant about buying pants or shorts with a foldover waistband, but I was pleased with the flow capris in Evergreen. The foldover waistband stays put throughout my practice, and the slit on the side keeps me cool and comfortable.

Prana Vida sells such fun patterns! I found the patterns to be a nice change from my usual black tank and black yoga pants. If you see a pattern that you like on the site, don’t wait to order what you have your eye on because the pattern choices change frequently as new ones become available.

I definitely recommend checking out Prana Vida Style! 

Sam has some awesome posts in the works about gratitude and life coaching -- stay tuned for those. Much love to all my sponsored yogis, and all of the amazing sponsors who donate to the program. Namaste.