Will Vancouver continue to grow as a Yoga hub?
The answer when put to Aleksa Havelar of Tonic clothing is a resounding yes. I caught up Aleksa last week and got the inside scoop on a local company that still designs and manufactures their yoga-lifestyle apparel in Vancouver, Canada. And yes, though they are compared to that “other” yoga company, the one that put Vancouver on the yoga apparel map, Tonic’s clothing does look different, not a spin-off to lululemon.
I also like Tonic’s continued focus on eco-fabrics – something I consider quintessential to a yoga brand – after all shouldn’t Yoga be synonymous with Sustainability? Sustainability to me = the interconnection we often give lip service to in yoga practice and philosophy, while forgetting how it relates to “real life” or as US based yogini Seane Corne often refers to, the now cliched statement, “our yoga practice off the mat.”
While still a small company, Tonic’s reputation is on the up and up. Tennis star Martina Hingis recently wore Tonic at the US Open this past summer, leading to some high profile and free advertising for Tonic on the world stage. Said Havelar smiling, “we didn’t have to pay to be there. As for our future plans, maybe we’ll be designing more tennis gear…”
There are now countless Yogathons and Yoga Malas around the world, and it’s amazing to see how Yoga has become such an effective medium to raise not just our own individual consciousness and health, but really the health of our communities and our planet. I am however, happy to note, that the first ever Yogathon; i.e. an event led by a group of Yoga Teachers from a community to benefit a charitable cause, was started right here in Vancouver, on Kit’s Beach in 2002.
The coolest thing about writing a blog, I get to write about things i.e. people, places, ideas etc. that inspire me. Hopefully you will find them interesting as well.
Here, I chat with a savvy designer who has been promoting eco-sensibilities before it became “fashionable” to do so, plus she’s a cool, young new mom balancing work, baby and a committment to impacting the world, one eco-luxe outfit at at a time.
I met Nicole Bridger when I worked at lululemon athletica about five years ago. She arrived to helm Oqoqo, an eco-clothing line, fashioned of sustainable fabrics that aimed to traverse the realm of stylish streetwear and yoga. Nicole’s talent was apparent – she had worked with Vivienne Westwood in London, where she developed an eye for the sculptural flow of clothing, design and cut. Yet it is her awareness of the big nature that surrounds us in the Northwest that inform her eco-sensibility and committment to creating fashion in a sustainable way.
“Better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one.”
Ancient Chinese Proverb
I don’t think I would appreciate life without tea. Yes, we know its multiple health benefits, from high anti-oxidants and its ability to lower cholesterol (particularly green tea); but I would drink tea for the taste alone and for the memories that swirl in every cup. Green genmaicha tea at my favorite Japanese café in Vancouver, earthy, almost bitter assam tea in the mornings and a mainstay while pulling all-nighters in college, smoky oolong tea that marked the blessing for a friend’s baby, soothing ginger tea perfect in the rainy season to keep away dampness and Darjeeling’s golden-lightness that takes me back to the India of my childhood, where my family once vacationed in a guesthouse of an expansive tea estate.
While Dream Designs’ Commercial Drive store has long been an eco-shopping destination, I was curious to see how they transplanted that original boho-chic aesthetic to their recent West-Vancouver digs.
No longer so boho, but definitely chic, the space is light-filled with off-white walls, an easy foil to colourful locally made yoga bolsters, printed fabrics from India, clothing, a beautiful in-house line of organic linens, eco-baby wear and a general smattering of interesting objects for your home – all with a sustainable bent. I also noticed new pieces by some of my favourite lines including Stewart + Brown and Preloved.
The store also boasts a “Chakra lounge” where you can sip tea, take a yoga class or an ayurvedic consultation. While eco-linens do set you back a pretty sum, January is a good time to swoop up some bargains. The annual bed-linen sale is on now.
Dream Designs Retail Locations
956 Commercial Drive
Canada V5L 3W7
193-1277 Lynn Valley Road
North Vancouver, BC
Canada V7J 2A1
1502 Marine Drive
West Vancouver, BC
Canada V7V 1H8
Contrary to popular belief, an oh-too-sweet chai latte at Starbucks is really not the same as a cup of home-brewed “masala” chai, which is what I grew up drinking in India. At tea-time, my mother’s kitchen in Bombay simmered with a brew of warming spices like cardamom, cinnamon and pepper that made milk taste like nectar.
I recently wrote a guide to the best eco-yoga mats for Granville Magazine’s The Goods Blog... Thought you might find it interesting.
If finding your style of yoga class and/or teacher from the hundreds displaying their offerings in Vancouver wasn’t overwhelming enough, try finding the ideal yoga mat.
What? You thought yoga was supposed to be this peaceful, bliss-inducing activity? Well, take a breath, a slow, deep one, maybe even a couple.
“If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty.”
For those of you who know me. I love tea. I just don’t have the lifestyle, that is conducive – always – to sipping tea slowly and savouring the ritual of it.
And like all of us eco-minded individuals out there, I’ve been searching for the ideal eco-tea mug out there… perfect to hold your warm cup of tea while walking outside on a crisp fall Vancouver day.
And have I found it?
Well, the verdict is still out, but new Canadian company Libre Tea’s Libre Loose Leaf tea glass is close. Available in two versions, one that is a practical glass ’n poly tea glass with a polycarbonate exterior and glass interior; and another that’s a more handle-with-care all glass (in the interior and exterior) design.
Both are BPA free, transparent, so yes, you can see the tea leaves soaking, usable with loose-leaf tea as they come with a removable and easy to clean stainless steel tea filter; and importantly, are beautifully designed, making an eco-chic addition to your fall wardrobe, office desk and possibly (since I have not to date tested this) even your bicycle basket.
I love that the lid screws on really tight so there is no spillage while commuting and that the 2 layers of glass and polycarbonate prevent the cup from getting too hot to hold it comfortably.
My only advice, you have to clean the Libre glasses and dry the insides out well (as you would wine-glasses) so there aren’t any streaks or marks left behind from your tea.
For more information on Libre Tea Glasses, how to use them and to purchase, visit: http://libretea.com/
The glass’n poly model holds approximately 9oz. or 260 mL.
Cost: $24.00 USD
The glass n glass model holds 10 oz. or approximately 290 mL.
Cost: $25.00 USD