LA Yoga’s Annual Holiday Gift Guide

Every time we make a purchase, we’re voting with our dollar. In essence, we’re saying, “We support…” this product, service or company. The hope is that through our conscious choices, we’re creating a more sustainable world. In this year’s holiday gift guide, we asked some of our contributors to weigh in on their favorite reusable items, solar powered gadgets, iPhone apps for Yoga, presents for kids and adults along with gifts that give back to offer some conscious alternatives to consumerism.
We’re delighted to share some ideas for using your practice to choose a present. –– FMT

Going On A Picnic…

Gifts For Farmers Market Shoppers And Eco-Conscious Eaters

By Red Jen Ford

> Eating on the run? BYOU – bring your own utensils! Fair trade made, To-Go Ware offers lightweight, reusable bamboo utensils in slim-line packs are available in fun colors like avocado or pumpkin for $12.95 at: to-goware.com

> Pack your own lunch and leftovers in Happy Tiffin stainless steel containers. Available in all kinds of fun shapes and sizes, starting at $22 from: happytiffin.com

> To buy and store fruits and veggies, grab Reusable Produce Bags. A five-pack of standard, produce sized, organic cotton bags are available for $13 at: ecobags.com

> To keep your purchases cool, shop with a Collapsible, Rolling Cooler. Think of the plastic bags, pounds of ice, and shoulder tension you’ll save rolling this cooler home from the market! Just $28.50 for a small one, or $47.50 for large, available at: keepyourcooler.com


> Bring our own bottle that is not only good for you and the planet (stainless steel construction and BPA-free) but also contains crystal gemstones at the bottom of the bottle that are known for their therapeutic amplification abilities. Normally $29.99, on sale for $19.99 at: vibesup.com

> To make your own meals, shop with your own bags. The Inconvenient Bag is a reusable (and customizable!) canvas bag for all your shopping needs. Choose the “classic” at $11, or my favorite, “Love Recycles,” with an inside pocket and longer handles, for $19.99 at: eco-coolbag.com

Keep yourself, your loved ones (and the planet!) healthy and happy this holiday season.

From the Farmer’s Corner: Red Jen Ford is a Health Coach and Farmers’ Market Manager who teaches her customers and clients the simplicity of eating local, sustainably grown food. Contact her at: redjenford.com. Find more on her farmers’ market, located in the Vets Garden on Thursdays from 12:00 to 5:00 P.M., at: westwoodfarmersmarket.com.

Head, Shoulders, Knees And Toes

Gifts For Conscious Kids

By Desi Bartlett

Babies and Toddlers: Moms and Dads can buy their child’s first Yoga mat at itsybitsyyoga.com. With color and patterns for boys and girls, this is a sweet way to introduce your child to the idea of sacred space and asana.

3-7 year olds: A Family Yoga DVD is a great way for parents to practice asana with even their littlest Yogis. Rodney Yee has a Family Yoga title appropriate for 3-7 year olds available at: gaiam.com.

7 years and up: Watch Me Do Yoga, by Bobby Clennell is a fun book for kids. Different postures like tree, fish and dog, make this book accessible to children by connecting to their world and sparking their imagination. Amazon.com

Peaceful Easy Feeling

Gifts For Parents

By Desi Bartlett

> For Yogin Moms and Dads check out yogamatic.com, where you can upload a photograph of your child to be printed on a Yoga mat. It definitely adds a sense of tenderness to your asana practice.

Lady Yoga can also be found on the Yogamatic mat, if you want to take your favorite superhero home for our practice.

> Eye pillows provide an easy and inexpensive way to retreat from the stresses of the holidays and turn your attention inward. Available at most Yoga studios, the lavender scented pillows can provide an especially relaxing treat. The Dream Time Inner Peace Eye Pillow contains lavender and the cover is machine washable. Available through:Amazon.com

YogaStyles’ eye pillows are soft and soothing and made in the USA out of gorgeous fabrics. They’re a fashion statement for relaxation: YogaStyles.com.

> Yoga for Beginners is an easy and practical DVD appropriate for both beginner and intermediate practitioners alike. The DVD contains a solar Yoga practice to cultivate energy and a lunar practice to relax and alleviate tension. Available at: desibartlett.com.

Desi Bartlett MS CPT is a certified Pre and Post Natal Yoga teacher at Exhales Center for Sacred Movement. Desi also has a line of Yoga DVDs available through her website:desibartlett.com

I Need You

Gifts That Give Back

By Rachael Cleghorn

> Even if the name TOMS Shoes doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve no doubt seen them on someone’s feet. The shoes are everywhere nowadays, literally, since for every pair purchased, the company also donates a pair to a child in-need through their One-for-One program. As of September, 2010, TOMS has given over one million pairs of news shoes to children around the world. $54 at: toms.com

> Why not gift a little hope, fresh nutrition and environmental healing to the world? The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation (FTPF) is an award-winning international nonprofit dedicated to planting fruitful trees and plants where the harvest will be best served. Communities such as public schools, city parks, low-income neighborhoods, Native American reservations, international hunger relief sites, and animal sanctuaries include those reaping the benefits. Support FTPF by gifting an apple tree growing kit to your loved ones. $40 at: ftpf.org

> How about some posters to spruce up those empty walls and support writing programs for students in our own community at the same time? 826LA is a nonprofit organization that provides after-school tutoring, evening and weekend workshops, in-school tutoring, field trips, help for English language learners and assistance with student publications for students in LA. The online store includes gifts like posters, wallets, holiday cards, t-shirts and books. Posters are $20 at: 826la.org.

> Sir Richard’s Condom Company believes that safe sex is a basic human right. For every Sir Richard’s condom bought, the company donates one condom to a country in need. Their mission states that they seek to appeal to discerning, responsible individuals who seek to align their purchases with the change they want to see in the world and that doing good never felt better. $14 for a box of 12 at: sirrichards.com

> How about giving a little hope in a bottle this season? In a world where one billion people lack access to safe water and 2.5 billion do not have improved sanitation, we need as much hope and money as possible to be directed to this problem. The global water crisis is something that Water.org is actively working on alleviating. You can help support their efforts by purchasing a stainless steel water bottle for only $25 at: gift.water.org

Rachael Cleghorn is an environmental consultant turned bodyworker seeking to expand her massage therapy practice in Los Angeles. She can be contacted via her website:healthyselfbodywork.com.

Here Comes The Sun!

By Barbara Hirsch

Consider using the power of the sun to brighten up your gift giving this year!

> For those who own their homes, “daylighting” is a way of lighting rooms during the day using concentrated and reflected light from the sun. The Solatube is one device. I had one installed years ago in the darkest room of my little house and have not needed electric lighting during the day in that room since. They are fairly inexpensive and installation, done professionally, is also not very costly. A federal tax credit brings the final price down by 30% until Dec. 31st! Find out more at: solatube.com

> Thanks to super power efficient LED lighting, solar-powered lighting is practical now, especially for use in outdoor areas around the home. The Real Goods solar Multi-light has five LEDs and an accompanying solar panel that can be put up to 10 feet away. It only costs $30! Learn more at: realgoods.com.

> Real Goods also carries a totally solar-powered motion-activated sensor light for outdoors and lovely handblown strung glass lights. Portable solar-powered chargers for laptops, cell phones and iPods are handy too. Imagine leaving one in your car or on your windowsill, and never having to have an outlet to charge your phone again. The ones for phones and ipods can be had for little. You’ll have to pay more of a chunk for the ones that generate enough juice for a laptop or other devices. Real Goods is trustworthy established retailer for these types of things: Realgoods.com

> The Logitech solar wireless super thin computer keyboard is only $80 and does need to be kept in a sunny place. Okay, keyboards do not use much power, but if you happen to have a friend who spilled a drink in theirs, well, they might need a replacement and what better than a solar-powered one: Logitech.com.

> There are some really cool gifts for kids that are solar powered and educational too, like little cars made out of wood by Naef, or solar kits for kids: fatbraintoys.com or:fawnandforest.com.

Barbara Hirsch is a recording engineer in Santa Barbara, trying to live consciously and connected to the planet, and enjoying it!

If You’re ‘Appy And You Know It…

Apps For Gifts And More

By Joni Yung

Apple was recently granted a trademark for their catchphrase “There’s an app for that.” If you browse through the App store in iTunes, you’ll agree that there truly IS an app for everything, including Yoga. By simply using the search term “Yoga,” you can find hundreds of Yoga-related apps spanning everything from asana and meditation to bikini workouts and tantric sex poses. Um, yeah…

If you’re looking for full-length Yoga classes to take while you’re at home or on the road, online Yoga sites like yogaglo.com and yogavibes.com have excellent content that you can view on your laptop or TV screen. But if all you have is your trusty iPhone, rather than using an app, I suggest you subscribe to any of the excellent FREE iTunes podcasts like Power Yoga with Dave Farmar, Elsie’s Yoga Class, Hillary’s Yoga Practice and YogaJournal.com’s Yoga Practice Podcast to avail yourself of changing content that will keep your Yoga practice fresh and interesting.

Here are some iPhone apps (most of them are FREE, by the way) that are handy Yoga guides for your evolving practice. And for a mere $15, you can share the love and buy an iTunes gift card that’s bound to make any yogi very ‘appy!

In-Studio Class Finders:

• MindBody Yoga 3.0 (MINDBODY, Free) – A handy tool for locating nearby Yoga studios and their class schedules.

• Meetup (Meetup, Free) – Search using “Yoga” to find Yoga Meetups in your city.

Asana:

• Pret-a-Yoga (Pret-a, Free for Lite/$.99 for full)

• All-in Yoga: 200 Poses & Yoga Classes (Arawella, Free for Lite/$1.99 for full)

• Yoga for Beginners! (Max Soderstrom, Free) *Note: This is NOT a how-to guide for beginners

• Travel Yoga (Kardeo, $0.99)

Meditation and Pranayama:

• MyMeditation (BLT & Associates, Free for Lite/$2.99 for full)

• iMeditatewithErich (Karl Schiffmann, $4.99)

• Breathing Techniques by Hemalayaa (appOmator.com, Free)

• Health Through Breath – Pranayama (Saagara, Free for Lite/$4.99 for full)

Reference:

• Bhagavad Gita – Sanskrit & English (Krishna Varma, Free)

• Yoga Sutra (Michael Niemann, $2.99)

• Hanuman Chalisa (IndiaNIC, Free for Lite/$3.99 for full)

• iVeda: the Ayurvedic Consultation (SiJack Software, $4.99)

Entertainment:

• iZen Garden 2 (Random Ideas, Free for Lite/$3.99 for full)

• Karma Quiz: A Buddhist Daily Inventory (Nicholas Iannone, Free)

• Bowls – Authentic Tibetan Singing Bowls (Oceanhouse Media, $1.99)

• Manifesting Good Luck: Growth and Enlightenment – Deepak Chopra (Oceanhouse Media, $3.99)

There’s a good chance you’ll spot Joni Yung, aka the Accidental Yogist, as she zooms around town on her lime green bicycle in her never-ending quest to take classes at every Yoga studio in Los Angeles County. A pescetarian by choice, she manages to fuel her travels by eating at the myriad of gourmet food trucks roaming the LA streetscape. You can follow her escapades via her blog: blog.accidentalyogist.com, her Facebook page: facebook.com/accidentalyogist, and on Twitter: twitter.com/ayogist.

Tiptoe Through The Tulips

Scents To Soothe The Savage Beast.

By Felicia M. Tomasko, RN

> Golden Earth makes cruelty-free vegan perfumes from nature, chakra oils for anointing the energy centers of the body, luxurious every-day massage lotions and organic aromatherapy bath gels are only a few of the scented (and unscented items) this company offers with nourishing items from the Earth herself. The chakra oils include gem infusions in roll-on applicators to take anywhere conveniently. These can be found at retailers or online: goldenearth.net.

> Beauty and rejuvenation are two of the special powers found in Ayurveda. Body, face and hair oils made from the finest herbs and nourishing oils create powerful potions. Aparna Rai draws upon the ancient knowledge found in traditional Ayurveda to offer up these recipes which make a special gift and everday bath and body care items. Free shipping on orders over $75 at: aunaturelayurveda.com.


Wear Your Remedy: Gems for Balance and Prayer

In the science of Jyotish, or Vedic Astrology, remedies for planetary maladies can be found literally in the Earth, in the polished stones and gems, each of which has an association with the objects in the sky. Pearl, for example, carries the energy of the watery Moon and helps balance the emotions. A mala, a string of prayer beads, carries the energy of the gems on the thread. Suggesting gemstones based on knowing the strengths of the planets in the chart has a long tradition as a Vedic remedy. Mala maker Ghan-Ji custom-ties individually prescribed sacred prayer beads based on the suggestion of Jyotish practitioner Vishaka in this partnership that is truly a gift: vedic-remedies.com.


> Flower essences are distinct from aromatherapy since it’s not about the smell, but the healing essence of the flower. Similar to homeopathic preparations, flower essences promote healing at the deepest levels of energetic being. Siddatech flower essences include combinations including Deep Sleep, Detox and Relif: siddatech.com.

> Conscious colors offers Color Aromas, combined color and aroma therapy that affect the various chakras. Master aromatherapist Constance Hart also teaches delicious Restorative Yoga workshops that combine color therapy in the Yoga room with scent, sound and soothing relaxation for a complete attitude adjustment. Take the colors home with you or gift them to someone who needs to be soothed: consciouscolors.com.

> Yogi Clothing features everything for Yoga, including hoodies to fling over the cami after practice. Their T-shirt line offers an inspiring array of symbols and messages to demonstrate your love for Yoga anywhere you go: yogiclothing.com.

> GGO Clothing has both a men’s and women’s line of organic clothing with everything from leggings and capris to dresses, scarves, jackets and hats: ggoclothing.com

Think Positive!

What we wear affects us all day long. Why not send a positive message with the threads on our back? Positive Thought Brand’s uplifting phrases never fail to ignite a comment or a smile when I’m walking around Santa Monica Co-Opportunity sporting one. They carry a range of fabrics (think organic cotton, hemp or bamboo) and colors and sizes for all ages. For my sister Joy, I’m thinking of picking up “The Purpose of Life is Joy” as a message: positivethoughtbrand.com. –– FMT


Notable Threads

MeSheeky: Sarah Tomson Beyer started this company because she was looking for a sassy skirt to throw over Yoga pants when she wanted to go from the studio to the street. This conscious company has expanded to include different styles: mesheeky.com.


> Hard Tail: What can we say? Made in LA, groovy styles, organic cotton, for all ages, shapes and sizes. We love their style: hardtailforever.com.

By Ren Jen Ford, Desi Barlett, Rachael Cleghorn, Barbara Hirsch, Joni Yung & Felicia M. Tomasko, RN

Felicia Tomasko has spent more of her life practicing Yoga and Ayurveda than not. She first became introduced to the teachings through the writings of the Transcendentalists, through meditation, and using asana to cross-train for her practice of cross-country running. Between beginning her commitment to Yoga and Ayurveda and today, she earned degrees in environmental biology and anthropology and nursing, and certifications in the practice and teaching of yoga, yoga therapy, and Ayurveda while working in fields including cognitive neuroscience and plant biochemistry. Her commitment to writing is at least as long as her commitment to yoga. Working on everything related to the written word from newspapers to magazines to websites to books, Felicia has been writing and editing professionally since college. In order to feel like a teenager again, Felicia has pulled out her running shoes for regular interval sessions throughout Southern California. Since the very first issue of LA YOGA, Felicia has been part of the team and the growth and development of the Bliss Network.