July 28, 2009

For Yoga, for Cycling, for Climbing, for Living:
PrAna's Erin Top and Bliss Capri Pants

Finding clothing that takes me easily from yoga to cycling to a casual dinner with friends is not easy. I need clothes that move with me while still flattering my figure and maintaining a certain level of modesty. I don't have the long lean body that you may think of when you think yogi/climber. Think less Cirque du Soleil and more Mary Lou Retton. I am short, muscular, and curvy. I am lucky to have found new wardrobe staples from PrAna that answer my needs.

An issue I come across when searching for tops is finding the right amount of support for the girls. Many brands design tops with adequate sports bras built in but they scoop too low thus don't work for yoga or anyone larger than a C cup. Another problem is finding a top that doesn't fall forward (yay everyone look at my tummy!!!) in inversion poses or fit so snug I feel like a wee little sausage in it. I love the PrAna Erin top because it addresses all these issues.

Made from 89% recycled polyester and 11% Spandex the Erin Top has superb moisture management so I never worry about a little perspiration from my bike ride. The built-in shelf bra is combined with a modest (yet not constricting) neckline. Coupled with a cute contrasting racer back style I have full support for the girls. I never worry about a wardrobe malfunction during inversions or a bumpy bike ride. Also, the stomach area of the top is perfect! It stays in place but it's not so snug that you can make out exactly where my belly button is.

The Bliss Capri Pantscompliment the Erin Top perfectly but have also become my go to pants for everything. I wear them to work, to the park, for hanging out with my fella, to going out to dinner. The length is perfect on my 5'2" frame to wear as an ankle length pant. For taller ladies this would be a true capri. The fabric is light weight but ready for climbing or other abrasive activities. The fabric also dries quickly. With the recent storms we've had in Colorado I have come to appreciate how important this is. The drawstring waist allows for a custom fit and stays where you put it (there's nothing worse than having to re-tie your pants all day). I also like the deep pockets, very convenient when you ride your bike everywhere.

I really can't say enough about how much I love these two items. After going through the wash about five times so far both have held their color and shape and no pilling! I plan on purchasing the Erin Top in multiple colors and probably a few pairs of the Bliss Capri Pants as well. After all, when you find a good thing, go with it!

July 21, 2009

Wednesday Playlist: Breathe
aka Not So Traditional Songs for Yoga

When I practice yoga at home I am always looking for new music and don't mind the occasional vocals as long as it doesn't become distracting. This week I have put together some songs I love for yoga as well as a few from my Twitter friends. I am sad to say that Bracken's suggestion of Peter Gabriel's "Passion" wasn't available for the list, the idea intrigues me and I am going to hunt for this one.

Even if you're not a yogi this music is great for relaxation and reflection. I find it quite soothing.


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July 13, 2009

I'm a Bug Lover

It's true. I love Petzl's Bug Bag. I wanted this bag because it was designed for single day multi-pitch climbing. I knew this meant it would have a low profile, be light in weight, as well as comfortable and durable. While multi-pitch is in my future I wanted a bag that would allow me to ride my bike with my gear to meet up with others and allow me to haul all that I need up rough approaches. I am pleased to say the Bug delivers.

I took my Bug out on an Independence Day climbing adventure to North Table Mountain/Golden Cliff in Golden, Colorado. I managed to pack (pictured at the right) my harness, belay device, PAS, Chalk bag, climbing shoes, three 30' sections of webbing, a few slings, biners, and 11 quickdraws into the Bug. In addition I had three sets of printed routes (in the hidden back compartment), my IPhone, some snacks, hydration bladder, rain jacket (secured with a side compression strap), helmet (secured to the daisy chain in front) and rope (secured with bottom straps). It is almost comical how all these items fit into the small pack, kind of like thirty clowns in a tiny car.

While compact the gear is still going to be heavy, especially on my 5'2" frame. However the bags shoulder straps were easy to adjust to allow that weight to disperse evenly and comfortably. In the past when I have fit this gear into a traditional backpacking pack I have had the turtle issue. The weight doesn't always disperse well and with areas when I need my balance most the old school packs work against me. The Bug really works in my favor for managing the weight of my gear as well as fitting close to the body. I even took my gear for a spin on the bike and yes, it is possible, just make sure the rope ends are secured.

I recommend this bag for anyone who wants something compact, light, and roomy for their climbing gear. Go ahead, love the Bug.

July 9, 2009

The Love of a Good Mat

About a year ago I was very casual about my yoga practice. I did the occasional video at home or sometimes a group class but it wasn't a regular part of my fitness routine. I picked up my yoga mat like you would a pack of gum. It had a pretty color and was right there on the end of the aisle at Target.

Then I began working with an instructor. I learned about yoga beyond asanas (poses) and it's now a part of my life, not merely for fitness but for my spiritual and mental health. Naturally the more I practiced the more my sassy hot pink yoga mat began to fail me becoming sparse in areas and the cats new favorite scratching toy.

Around the time I began looking for a new yoga mat I was blessed with the PrAna Natural Sticky Mat. What I noticed immediately is how much heft the mat had. Unlike my other mats of the past this mat feels serious. The mat, made of rubber, provides enough cushioning for me to easily work on my concrete balcony with comfort and stability. The smooth texture of the mat is a nice feature as well. Compared to other mats with a basket-weave type texture this feels smooth and doesn't leave weird imprints on my skin after certain poses.

In addition to the cushion-factor I really like the level of stickiness the mat has. I feel I can move fluidly while still able to stick in poses. This confidence helps me focus on my breath and body rather than wondering if I am going to slip.

Another aspect I love about the mat is it's biodegradeable nature. While I have no plans to part with it any time soon I like that it won't live for centuries in a land fill after I am gone. I try to support companies who support my beliefs. PrAna not only matches my lifestyle but cares for the environment and that is important to me.

The mat retails for $68.00 which is a bit more than mats you will find at the sporting goods store or Target. I think that it's worth every penny. Just like a gym membership if you don't use it you won't get a return on your investment but if yoga is a regular part of your life I recommend you give the mat a try. It's really become a partner for me. Allowing me to move my solo practice forward with confidence.

July 7, 2009

Wednesday Playlist: Yummy!

Food, it's delicious and it's sustaining and goes well with music. Here are a few songs that feature food in the title. Bon Appetit!

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