The stormy economy and weather has me practicing more yoga than ever. And while these ancient techniques balance body and mind, perspiration is all part of the process. So what's an active yogi to do when she loves fashion?
Sweating is a healthy way to get rid of toxins -- but not when you're a yogi swathed in Lycra. Sure, the bike riding set loves this fabric and that makes perfect sense; it is uniquely aerodynamic and dries quickly.
But if you're not moving at 30 MPH then these threads defeat their own purpose, keeping you wet longer than necessary. So, au revoir, Lycra. I liked you in the '80s, when I was doing Jane Fonda workout videos and didn't know better.
Yoga teachers have their hands in some seriously sweaty places. Spotting down dog puts my entire body flush against the sweat zone, and whatever seeps out of my clients seeps all over me. I may aspire to the warrior goddess mantle, but after teaching a challenging class I run home to bathe. I like fabrics that breathe like my students do in a yoga class.
In an attempt to move toward more natural fibers and away from synthetics, I discovered Prancing Leopard, an organic and eco-conscious lifestyle brand made in Turkey.
My Albanian parents met and married in Istanbul, so I grew up surrounded by Turkish rugs, art, jewelry, cuisine and plush cotton towels. Yoga royalty such as Elena Brower, Jai Sugrim and Ana Caban support Prancing Leopard's globally aware green fitness lifestyle.
Hand knit items are always precious, and Prancing Leopard supports local Turkish women knitting with their Women Artisan Project. It preserves their cultural heritage and handiwork creating items from bikinis to ballet slippers to sweaters.
I've been selective about eating organic and, as I aspire toward eco-chic fashions, my clothes need to look and feel sumptuous. Prancing Leopard is the first label to introduce the new Zeugma cotton textiles, mechanically aligned to wick away moisture, dry quickly, last longer and not harm the environment.
The vivid colored, one shoulder cut-out tops and jumpsuits are very studio to street. And their men's yoga collection is noteworthy, as well. Let's face it: most men are very style challenged when it comes to dressing for yoga classes. Frat boy and beach bum looks dominate the studios, so hopefully this new line wins some male converts.