BY CARMEN SIERING
Yoga practitioners frequently find themselves in a bind. They need to buy something to enhance their practice, be it clothing, a new mat, or instructional materials, but their choices of where to buy seem to be limited to big box stores or Internet retailers. Erin Thomas, studio manager at Vibe Yoga and Pilates Studio, says that dilemma was the impetus behind the creation of Vibe’s yoga boutique.
“It started out of necessity,” she says. “Our teachers and practitioners were looking for things and they couldn’t find them. The boutique really started as a place to offer the products people needed, and as a way for them to buy them locally.”
The boutique carries clothing made by the leaders in technical yoga apparel. “This is clothing that works while you’re moving. You’re not pulling and tugging at it,” Thomas says.
The yoga pants, for example, far exceed what is commonly available. “You can go for a run in them, wear them to yoga, throw on a sweater and wear them to the grocery,” she says. “We try to pick styles that are going to carry you through your day.”
One popular item is the candy-striped yoga pant made by Red Panda Apparel. “The guy who makes them is an IU graduate,” Thomas says. “We love to offer space to someone who has Bloomington roots and give their business a chance to grow.”
Yoga props, including mats, blankets, blocks, and straps, are all available, as is that hot yoga essential, the Yogitoes skidless mat-size yoga towel. Handcrafted bolsters from a small supplier in Asheville, N.C., can be found in the boutique as well, along with a small selection of books and DVDs. The boutique also carries what Thomas calls “yoga-inspired products” — smaller items, including jewelry, that speak to the rejuvenation and peace associated with the practice of yoga.
Thomas says the boutique is fulfilling its original purpose and is appreciated by customers. “There’s something so great about being able to look around, see something you like, touch it, and try it on, rather than to have to order it online and wait for it to arrive,” she says. “And then, what if it doesn’t work? Then you have to go through all that again.”