I love to get sweaty and I love to clean up.
I love to be strongly embodied and also deliciously, softly feminine.
I love to be barefoot, wearing holes in my mat by standing on it so earnestly and often.
Then I love to wear high heels.
Pretty sure that’s what toe squat is really for anyway.
Spiritual people not only can, but should, enjoy the pleasure and sometimes, decadence, of being in a physical body. Otherwise, why bother to incarnate into this messy physical world and human shape?
Yoga heals the gap between body and spirit.
It’s no stretch to say the more yoga you do, the more sensual and sincerely self loving you become.
It’s impossible not to when you breathe deeply into the juicy sensorium of the sacred experience the senses of your body create just for you.
Yoga is inherently sexy and it’s fine for you to be too!
Here are my five best beauty hacks for the vain yogini.
The more time I spend in yoga clothes, the less patience I have for constricting clothing like tight bras. Not only that, but the more shalabhasa (locust pose; a pose that strengthens and tones the back) I do, the better my back looks and the more I want to show it off!
Little round silicone pasties liberate because you never have to hide straps while playing with backless or otherwise unusual spots of skin showing. They cover just the nipples so your look will be polished/ not pokey, but you will feel like you are wearing nothing.
The best placement is usually to put the very top part of the pasty just over the top of the areola so that most of the pad is actually under the nipple. This important tidbit is my gift to you after enduring a few silly looking first attempts at applying them and people staring at what just looked like I had some crazy big nipples.
2. Face Cleanser Wipes.
I keep them in my car, in case I want to hit a hot yoga class last minute and I need to take off makeup or even just sunscreen, which hurts like crazy when it runs in your eyes.
They are great after class too if you’re not quite “need a shower sweaty” but still want to freshen up a little.
Let’s be honest, I keep a pack by my bed too, in case I am too lazy to get up and wash my face at the sink. They’re also great for carry on bags (not liquid, and not messy to use inflight).
Health food stores usually stock some excellent all natural and cruelty free wipes in the skin care section.
3. Salt Crystal Deodorant.
Word on the street for a long time has been that many conventional antiperspirants and deodorants contain aluminum sulfate and other toxic ingredients that are linked to breast cancer, among other things. Sweating and detoxifying when we do yoga is awesome.
Smelling funky is not.
The non-toxic solution that works like a miracle for me is salt crystal deodorant. The salts kill the bacteria that make you smell. Try a roll on version of this product, otherwise you have to wet the crystal before applying each time. Super annoying extra step.
I also didn’t have good luck with ones that added lavender or other scents. Keep the chemistry simple with unscented. Last little opinion. Get a tiny travel size of evil and actual antiperspirant for emergency situations—by emergency, I mostly mean wearing silk.
If you’ve invested in a beautiful silk dress or shirt (ironically will let your skin breathe much better overall than some indestructible synthetic outfit) this would be the time to cheat on your mineral salt deodorant, which does not prevent sweat or indelible sweat stains.
Did you know these can be a tax write-off if you are a yoga teacher? You are always barefoot and it can affect your professional image if your feet are grody to the max. Plus, the physical act of having the feet massaged and worked on is grounding for your energy.
The pleasure of sensation in your feet attracts our usual overflow of energy, away from the mind, downward toward more presence and grounding in the physical.
Choose a non-toxic nail polish.
Between pedicures, I always give my toenails at least few days to be naked and I liberally apply tea tree oil to them to discourage anything funky from growing in them.
5. Mat to Magical Cool Weather Daywear.
Here’s an easy look anchored around yoga gear in case you have to run to class and then dash off somewhere where you shouldn’t wear sloppy sweats.
Choose yoga tights in a neutral monochromatic color.
This tends to play better if they are a more matte looking fabric rather than say, a super shiny black. Add a white, not-overtly-athletic-gear-top with a built in bra. Some brands even have saucy built in push-ups bras. These should be moisture wicking fabric, so if you sweat a little, it dries quickly.
After class, add a long open front cardigan or hoodie with a good chunky knit texture.
Pull on your favorite boots (I like ones with heels to show off my yoga tight legs)!
Just a quick little musing, those boots could be top shelf expensive vegan Stella McCartney’s or you can Google those made with “man made materials.”
I have found that some of my most favorite, most durable boots have been leather free, and awesome looking. Man made materials, unless specifically marketed as high-end vegan options, are generally much cheaper than their leather alternatives.
Not preaching here. I have leather shoes and vegan shoes.
Just saying, if we ever want to change the fashion memes that expect luxury items to be made of animal parts, we have to collectively start buying differently.
*The final cherry on top is a big statement necklace from a conscious designer.
My favorite necklace is made of recycled bomb shells and some of the profit of the sale went to charity. Modern fashion’s conscience is growing and there are lots of luxurious pieces that are not made of hemp. Vegan, recycled, up-cycled and repurposed materials let you feel happy about your investment in looking good.
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Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photo: flickr, courtesy of the author