Review of Nala Seattle pants

I've said it before, but it bears repeating: I am lululemon addict, otherwise known as a lululemming. It's embarrassing to be so sucked in by the fancy, shmanciness of it all. I cope by refusing to wear the clothes outside of yoga class (except for getting there and back). The problem is I have yet to find better yoga pants or tops. The fit of the Power Y and Scoop Neck tops are almost perfect, and I pretty much worship the Wunder Under pants, which never ride up (or down) and make everything look slim and cute with its flattering cut.

But one of my studios recently offered teachers a discount on a new brand, NaLa Seattle. At the time, I had added on a lot of assisting and teaching on top of regular practice, and I didn't have enough yoga clothes to get through the week without doing laundry. But my budget grew cross at the idea of dropping another $68 on lululemon pants, so sight unseen, I took the plunge with NaLa and ordered some harem style black pants and gray, ruched cropped tights.

I adore the harem pants, but maybe for the wrong reasons. They're a soft cotton, with a folded over waistband and a loose leg and tight ankle that can be worn long, M.C. Hammer style, or pulled up just below the knee. Worn that way, they are just a little baggy and are ridiculously comfortable. They are the best for lounging around the house. They're not, however, all that great in the studio. The loose cotton sticks in patches when I sweat, and the cotton doesn't wick, so the pants feel heavy. But when repurposed as sweatpants, they're awesome.

 NaLa Seattle

The gray crops (pictured above in black), however, aren't working out at home or in the studio. The pants are a nice, rich gray, fit snugly with cute ruching detail along the sides and are flattering. But the "wicking" material has got to go. Instead of feeling soft, they feel like polyester. As for fit, to be quite explicit, the crotch (oh-so-important in yoga) is slightly off-center. It's just plain uncomfortable when you're in crescent lunge, in three-legged dog, half-pigeon or even when I'm just walking around while teaching. Needless to say, they didn't score a spot in the regular rotation.

I love supporting local companies, but NaLa also is priced about the same as lululemon (the gray crops cost $78), so I can't even make the case that they are more affordable. But I'm still curious to see what other yoga clothes are making the case in the battle to knock lulu off its yoga pedestal. What are your favorite brands of yoga clothes? I'm open to suggestions!


Embracing gratitude via barbecues and sunshine

If we cannot be happy in spite of our difficulties, what good is our spiritual practice?
- Maha Ghosonanda

I have been feeling especially cranky recently. At first I blamed the terminally gray skies, but then it was sunny and things still didn't change. I came up with a lot of other reasons on top of the weather: work, lack of vacation, getting up early to teach yoga, not practicing enough yoga, teaching too much yoga. Irrational much?

So I foisted the problem on my yoga classes. Well, I had better intentions than that. I set gratitude as my theme for classes the last couple of weeks, hoping to help both them and myself out. I love it as a theme, and I particularly love the meditation of gratitude, when we spend time noting what we are grateful for and let it sink in. It was a semi-effective mini-lecture to myself. But apparently my funk was deeper than this yoga teacher could fix, and as soon as I walked out of the studio, the rain washed away the positive and I was back where I started.

But then. But then, I had a housewarming. Right up until the party I was still a bit antagonistic, but then the day of the party itself was rather amazing. Gathering people from all walks of your life in one place is such a beautiful thing. I've never had a space large enough to entertain more than three or four before, but my new place, rather my new backyard, easily holds 20 and could probably handle 30 to 40 without too much strain. It's a lovely place, my backyard, particularly when the sun is shining.

Photo courtesy of KJ's Hipstamatic

Preparing for the bbq started the upswing. I was so happy to buy fixings for farro and fruit salad, for barbecue chicken and for grilled asparagus. I couldn't wait to share cupcakes for dessert. I was practically humming cleaning my floors. Once my friends arrived, everyone in their sandaled, summer best, bearing loads of food, drink and lawn furniture for my empty backyard, I knew gratitude again. Gratitude for their friendship, for their smarts, for their kicky senses of humor, for their love of Seattle and sun, for toes in warm grass, for their generosity, for their openness to others and for community. The thing is, life is so easy once we make it so. Thanks to you all.


The Yoga Panic Threshold

The sure sign that my life is a little too frazzled for my own good is when Yoga Panic sets in. It doesn't take a lot to send the alarm bells shrieking in my head. This week, the alarm went off on Friday when I realized that if I didn't squeeze in a lunch-hour class that day, I would only practice max three times that week. ALERT. Yoga meltdown on the horizon!

How did I get to this (admittedly) mental place? Yoga is kind of funny like that. It used to be three times a week was OK. It was not ideal, but I could live with it. Then that number crept up to four. Then five. Now it's six. In my perfect world, I cut my body a break one day a week and stay sane the other six. I'm not sure how I got to this point, but yoga is sorta sneaky. You start off thinking, "Oh, I'll go a couple times a week, yoga will help me get more flexible, yay, that sounds great." Then all of a sudden you look around and you're practicing six times a week and teaching and it's like, whoa, what just happened?

Yoga Panic also is a useful barometer for me to see what's happening in the bigger picture of my life. It lets me know if I'm overbooking (almost always), working too much or generally not making enough time for myself so the people in my world do not have to duck and cover to protect themselves from a raging yogini. For all those who have suffered, knowingly or not, I beg for your forgiveness. But I know I'm not the only one. Do you have a Yoga Panic Threshold? What sets it off?


A walking meditation in the San Juans

Memorial Day weekend in the Pacific Northwest did not get off to a very good start. It was raining buckets on Friday, and then it dumped even more on Saturday. Rain rain rain.

My friend Maria and I were headed to the San Juans for a weekend camping trip. Maria, being a scientist, explained the rain shadow effect, which I'm incapable of repeating because I'm a writer and my brain is a sieve when it comes to science. Essentially, she said it was much less likely to be raining there than in the city, which was all I needed to know.

Except it was still drizzling when we got to the Lakedale Resort on San Juan Island. We considered upgrading to a canvas tent to try to keep ourselves from freezing. I regularly vote to bail on backpacking in favor of camping, but full-on glamping in a fancy canvas tent was another, expensive story, so we stuck with our original plan. Camping at Lakedale is still pretty swank. A sink to wash our dishes in? Yes, please.

We needed it to clean up from our dinner: burgers, asparagus and whisky.

We both wished we had thought to get a clam-digging permit. Look at this cute cockle Maria dug up on the beach. Mm, tasty. Next time.

Moving on. On the first day, Maria and I went for a long walk at "American Camp." The camp is located on the southeast corner of the island, and if there ever was a place that looked straight out of "Wuthering Heights," these wind-swept cliffs were it.

We saw a lot of foxes that were not scared of us. We don't know why.

Wandering the windy bluffs also took me back to meditation. My meditation practice has dwindled to practically nothing, though I think about it frequently. But this remote, windy field looked like the perfect place for a walking meditation. The wind roared past, hawks glided overhead and the ocean crashed into the coves below. The sounds were incredibly rich. It seemed such a shame to waste it by living in the past and present drama of life. Although it's almost addicting to let go of meditation and not try to keep the brain in check. It's so much easier to just get lost in the mind's constant murmurings that are always either hung up on the past or hung up on the future. All those thoughts seem quite reasonable when there is nothing to say stop. But I know I don't want to live that way, which is why I am going back to meditation class next week. And on Saturday, for a few steps at a time, I absorbed the beauty of those fields, the beach and the wet grass and, especially, the sound of the wind for a brief moving meditation.

Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr