Yoga is an integral part of health for a rapidly growing number of people, mainly because of the (hopefully permanent) trend toward naturally healthy living. For most people, I think, yoga comes about as a result of a desire to live healthfully. For me it was the opposite. I fell in love with yoga, and the awareness my practice brought to me of the connection between my body, my surrounding environment and myself brought about a resulting fascination with organics, nutrition and eco-friendly living. I suppose it could be said that yoga brought me to a place where I am working here at Lifekind, for an obsessively organic company, writing a blog about yoga. To say that I love yoga would be a gross understatement. "Obsession" would be more accurate. I practice Bikram yoga which, for those not familiar with it, is 90 minutes of yoga practiced in a room heated between 95 and 105 degrees. The practice has taught me so much about my health and my body, as well as better ways to handle stress and angst in my life. I know, for instance, that I feel nauseous and dizzy during class if I’ve eaten non-organic or unhealthy food, or haven’t had enough water or sleep that day. It also helped me to discover that I'm lactose intolerant, which I may never have found out without help from accute reactions during yoga classes after eating dairy. I learned to center myself and focus on my breath whenever emotional or physical stress abides in my life, and to remind myself that my only requirement is to keep breathing -- that if I do that, I can make it through anything. I learned to control my body movements, making me less of a klutz in everyday life (emphasis on the "less." I am still very much a klutz). I learned to bend over backwards until I can see the backs of my knees, which I have to admit I think is pretty neat. Recently, while taking a yoga class, I got to thinking about my yoga gear. I realize that this is not the sort of Zen thought that should be going through my head during meditation, but it’s harder to control the brain than the body. I thought about my bright blue, synthetic latex mat; my pretty yoga outfit which, although cotton, was grown in who-knows-what conditions somewhere in China; and my bright white towels that were washed in detergent containing bleach, optical brighteners and, that one term I’ve come to dread on labels, “fragrance.” ("Fragrance" is a term used in labeling products that can mean any combination of 600 chemicals, a vast majority of which haven’t been tested for toxic or carcinogenic properties. This is one of many valuable blips of information I’ve picked up in my short time working at Lifekind.) What’s worse, I had forgotten to bring my trusted Kleen Kanteen to class, and was drinking bottled water. What? Not only was this bad for the environment, but I was in a heated room, drinking from a plastic container. There was no way that could be good for me. All of these revelations running through my mind began to make my head spin. Why was I allowing such hazards to my health during, of all times, a yoga class? And so I’ve embarked on a mission to organify my yoga experience. It’s only logical that this should be my next step in living a more organic lifestyle. As a recent college graduate who hasn’t yet gained her fortune, I don’t have the means to overhaul my entire collection of yoga ensambles on a whim. Therefore, I am approaching this as I am approaching building an organic bed: starting with those items that are in immediate contact with my skin and working my way down. So far I’ve purchased an organic, American-grown sports bra, and I think that’s a pretty good start. I wear my sports bra proudly and know that I am one tiny step closer to doing something great for myself. Kristen, Product Specialist