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Gone are the days of yoga practiced in tiny ashrams on creaky floors, led by alternative folk. Within the last 15 years, yoga has entered the mainstream, engaging millions across the world. Enter: women, men, young, old, fitness focused, spiritually inclined.

When I first started practicing yoga in high school, I burst into laughter if I dared look at my friend next to me in superman pose (not the sanskrit name) or twisted into some bodily knot. My yoga mat cost $7 from a Delia’s catalogue. I wore old track sweatpants and a cotton t-shirt.

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Today, the poses are no longer laughable and neither is the business. And in this age of yoga, I find myself in the city of lululemon. If you were to ask me to summarize the style of Vancouver in a single word, lululemon is one of the first words that comes to mind. Whether you’re walking along the Seawall, exploring downtown, or out hiking in the mountains, it is likely that you will catch site of some lululemon gear. The lululemon empire started as a tiny local Vancouver business.

Founded in 1998, lululemon’s first real store opened in the beach area of Vancouver BC called Kitsilano, in November of 2000. The idea was to have the store be a community hub where people could learn and discuss the physical aspects of healthy living from yoga and diet to running and cycling as well as the mental aspects of living a powerful life of possibilities.

photo 4At the lululemon lab around the corner, talented seamstresses sew innovative garments and sell new products that have not yet hit the stores.

So why the focus on yoga and lululemon?

Exercise gear has changed dramatically over the past decade and there is no time like the present to replace your old workout gear. You know what I’m referring to…those old oversized cotton t-shirts that get soaked through from a single workout and end up pit-stained and smelly.

Whether you’re a runner, zumba enthusiast, yogi, or traditional gym-goer, there are new synthetic, alternative, breathable materials, appropriate for all types of athletes. Wearing the right gear is not just about brand and style, it’s about feeling good. And in my book, no area of life is unimportant when it comes to feeling good.

But they’re so expensive! 

I totally understand the hesitation to spending hundreds of dollars on a workout wardrobe. A couple of things to consider before dismissing quality workout gear:

  1. Think about cost per wear. I bought my first pair of lululemon pants in 2007 and I still wear that same pair at least once each week. The fabrics are made to last and the stretch holds after years on the mat.
  2. You don’t need dozens of pieces. I’m not suggesting that you go out and spend all of your savings on exercise gear. I’m suggesting that you start with one outfit- perhaps a pair of black pants and a comfortable top. The new materials dry quickly and are made to last. I wear one top to three or four yoga classes before washing.

If you’re not into the trendiness of lululemon, I suggest checking out the Gap, Under Armour and Target. These alternatives are reasonably priced and offer similar modern styles and fabrics. So clean out that workout drawer, put on those feel good yoga pants, and get reinvigorated!