A 2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Your Yoga Friends


Here come the holidays, and we are still, mostly, practicing yoga in the confines of our own home studios (aka, that swath of space between the couch and bookcase), and with no sign of relief in sight, it seems that one of the biggest kindnesses we can do is to find ways to keep cheerleading and supporting each other in our practices. With that in mind, I’ve put together some of my favorite ways to expand and deepen the yoga journey that will hopefully appeal to most people’s budgets and to a variety of practice desires and needs. And while many yogis love blocks and straps and bolsters, you don’t need me to tell you that, so I’ve been thinking outside the blocks to come up with some inspired gifts for all the mat people in your life.

Give the gift of tools for the at-home yoga toolbox. 

Books are always welcome additions to my toolbox, and who doesn’t need help spicing up their home practice, especially now when we can make it utterly our own? To that end, you might want to offer your yogi friend Nubia Teixeira’s Yoga and the Art of Mudras or Dianne Bondy and Kat Heagberg’s Yoga Where You Are

According to Nubia, our hands are extensions of our heart; they carry our prayers out into the world and bring into us the prayers that sustain us. Adding mudras to our practice turns up the volume, transforming simple asana into an act of devotion. 

If you are reading this guide, you must be a fan of Yoga International, and if you are a fan of Yoga International, you clearly appreciate the all-inclusive vision of Kat Heagberg (YI’s editor in chief) and Dianne Bondy (one of YI’s featured teachers). Yoga Where You Are is exactly what it sounds like: a guide to empower each of us—regardless of size, shape, age, ability, energy level, or goals—to create the yoga practice that is just right for us each time we step on the mat. What better gift is there than that? (Through December 31, you can save 30% using code YWYA30 at shambhala.com.)

Another way to create a just-right practice is with the addition of chakra oils. In years past, I’d pass these around to participants at the beginning of my chakra-tuning workshops. I’d suggest that a little sniff (does it light them up or not?) may tell them whether, for example, they are perhaps wanting a bit more heart or sacrum balancing. All they have to do from there is rub a little of that oil into their feet and allow the magic to happen. You can buy individual oils or the whole set from Venus and Vetiver, and your friend can experience the magic anytime they step on their mat. 

Myofascial release (MFR) is also pretty magical, and I’m not the only person who thinks so. I start every asana practice by rolling out my feet, and some days all I do is MFR, because that’s how yummy it is. Whatever your budget, RAD has your giftee’s body literally covered, from the Point Release Kit to the Axle to the Recovery Rounds, and more. (And do use the 20-percent-off discount code RAD20 when you check out!)

RAD Point Release Kit
RAD Axle
RAD Recovery Rounds

My hammies also love them some Alpha Balls and my belly loves the Coregeous Ball, especially as support in wide-legged forward fold, all from Tune Up Fitness. (Also, Tune Up Fitness is having a site-wide sale from now up until December 25th! Get 15% off of all of their products with the code JOY15.)

Tune Up Fitness® Alpha Balls
Tune Up Fitness® Coregeous Ball

Sandbags are also a part of my, yes, overflowing toolbox. You can buy these from YogaLifeStyle filled or unfilled, so your friend can make them as heavy as they want (up to 10 pounds) by adding sand, aquarium gravel, or kitty litter (preferably natural and unscented, although if that piney smell is calling, go for it!).

And, in my opinion, savasana isn’t quite savasana without an eye pillow. These lovely organic cotton batik ones from WarmieHearts are filled with rice and your choice of dried flowers or herbs. 

Oh, yeah, and don’t forget that your friend may want to wipe their mat down occasionally, which they can do with 100-percent-natural Clean Sweep Spritzer from Rebecca’s Apothecary. 

Give the gift of recovery.

Whether your yogi dear one is recovering from a day of work or homeschooling or maybe an asana practice that felt a little too strenuous, a sip, a slather, and/or a soak can soothe. Gift them with Yin Time Tea to promote relaxation and a sense of well-being and/or Sore Muscle Oil to massage away tension, both from Rebecca’s. 

They can double-dip on recovery by sipping that cup of tea while they soak. Two of my favorite words are “bath” and “truffle,” and even though these bath truffles from Zents don’t contain my other favorite word, “chocolate,” they do contain arnica to give sore muscles some love and shea butter to give skin some. And they come in a variety of flavors, I mean, mood modifiers, from uplifting and happy Anjou to soft and romantic Petal. 

Give the gift of sacred chant.

Kirtan leader Mike Cohen is well-versed in the art of distance-teaching because he has always had students all over the world and has been teaching them virtually since way before everything went virtual. I know from personal experience that Mike’s ear is so finely tuned that he can tell which note you’re hitting whether you’re across the room from him or across the ocean. If you have a friend who has been dying to learn how to play harmonium and lead chants, you can purchase a gift certificate for them, which can be used for private instruction or any of Mike’s online courses. Hari bol!

Give the gift of wisdom.

Set the stage for deep inner listening with Wisdom Tea from Rebecca’s Apothecary to help your friend ground and balance so wisdom can flow through them.

Then they’ll be ready to draw a card from a meditation or oracle deck and receive the message or dive into an enlightening read. Artist Melissa Townsend has turned her visual renderings of Patanjali’s sutras into a gorgeous meditation deck—pulling a card and sitting with it has the potential to facilitate or deepen the giftee’s personal relationship with the sutras, just as meditating on them deepened Melissa’s relationship with the sutras so much that she had to start painting them. Meditation can be a powerful practice!

Honoring the transition from one year to the next, mindfully segueing from the past into the future, can also be a powerful practice. With her 13 Holy Nights oracle deck, Lara J. Day provides a soulful way to do so, to reset and receive, to call in a vision for the coming year by tapping into the spirit medicine of the animal, herb, and mineral realms. Offer the deck by itself or include a small notebook or journal so your friend can look back over the year and acknowledge their power to realize their dreams! 

I like to manifest my dreams, the life I want to live, every day, and I do that with the guidance of a treasure trove of books that I dip into over and over and over. One of them is Recipes for a Sacred Life, by Rivvy Neshama. Through true-life stories, Rivvy illustrates that the ordinary is truly extraordinary and that miracles abound every day. Rivvy then shows us how we can begin to recognize them. Seeing the miraculous is just a shift in perception; experiencing it through Rivvy’s eyes helps me to create that shift.

Like the miraculous, happiness can also be the result of a shift in perception. But if yoga is sometimes defined as the state of happiness, as in eternally happy, then why is it that if we’re doing our yoga, we’re not happy already? The answer is simple, and not so simple, as Lama Marut—who was a surfer, university professor, motorcycle enthusiast (yeah, fully human, just like us), and ordained Buddhist monk—shared in A Spiritual Renegade’s Guide to the Good Life, another of my go-to books. Each chapter offers a “couch potato contemplation” and an “action plan” to help us shift our perspective so we can begin to get a little happier every day.

Give the gift of ahimsa.

In the eight-limbed system of raja yoga, the yamas are the first limb, and the first yama is ahimsa (non-harming), which means that’s where our yogic practices start, and, I might add, end, because practicing ahimsa is a lifelong pursuit. But non-harming is base-level ahimsa; to go higher we can practice actually supporting life. One way to do that is with our wallets, which EarthHero, the sort of Amazon of sustainable living, aims to make easier. They do due diligence to curate products—from Stashers (better than plastic in so many ways!) to SolMate Sox (made from recycled materials!) and everything in between—that are truly planet-friendly, and the 10-percent-off coupon code YOGAINTERNATIONAL will make your holiday shopping more wallet-friendly as well. 

SoleMate Sox

I always say that the best gifts are the things you love or would love to receive. I also like to say, one for you, one for me! So when you’re doing your holiday shopping, think about what you’d like to receive and don’t be bashful about gifting yourself as well as others. And remember, the best gift is simply the gift of giving, regardless of what it is.

About the Teacher

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Jaimie Epstein
Jaimie Epstein is an 800-hour Advanced Certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher, writer, vegan food foodie, Sanskrit... Read more