Christmas is oh-so-nearly here, but there are still a few shopping (and delivery) days ahead. If you’ve got a yoga lover in your life, or someone who’s thinking of starting, a gift related to their practice will be sure to fire their passion and get them stretching in style.
Yoga classes have looked a little different in lockdown: there’s plenty of group sessions online, and many follow YouTube videos while in their lounge or bedroom.
Even if your friend has everything they could possibly want for a class, don’t be put off from buying them a “must-have” item, as they might well enjoy changing things up a bit.
If you know someone who’s doing yoga partly for relaxation, you might also want to think about a good self-care or positivity book for them.
Yoga’s about mental as well physical wellbeing, so an uplifting read might be a welcome gift for them to enjoy after a dynamic flow.
You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
A good cool and comfortable top is essential if you’re thinking of doing a yoga session, and this simple love tank pleated vest top (£35, Lululemon) fits the bill perfectly.
We named it best buy in our best women’s yoga tops review, with our tester saying: “This tank is affordable, stylish and, most importantly, clearly designed with yoga in mind. Made from cotton, it is soft to the touch, but cleverly includes a little Lycra fibre to help it maintain its shape (even after washing).
“Its loose fit means it layers easily, so you can keep warm during winter classes, or you can add a sports bra underneath if you want some extra support,” they added.
Our tester liked the addition of a little zip pocket to store keys and a small wallet, adding: “The stretchy fabric is very flattering, with one fellow gym-goer even coming over to compliment us while we were wearing them (not something we’d expect when red faced and out of puff).”
For men, a great option are these hybrid leggings (Sports Philosophy, £70.40) which are a two-in-one garment featuring shorts and leggings.
“They cover your legs almost completely, enough to offer protection for poses where scraping skin against skin can be painful,” said our tester in our round-up of the best men’s yoga kit. We also liked how the materials wicked away sweat.
A mat is essential to keep you comfortable while practising. If you’re thinking of buying one as a gift, your recipient will be delighted with this yoga mat (£100, Liforme), especially if they generally work out from home.
Winning the best buy award in our review of the best yoga mats of 2020, our tester noted: “This is brilliant for anyone with a home practice, who doesn’t have a teacher on hand for adjustments.”
“The lines are very slightly textured and they do take a bit of getting used to – particularly if you have a set shape for downward dog, for example – but it’s worth playing with. The mat comes with its own carry bag but is heavy; if you plan to mostly use it at home, that doesn’t matter.”
If your yogi is planning to get out and about for sessions at some point though, a travel-friendly mat is probably a more convenient option.
This jute mat (EcoYoga, £42) is handmade by a small team in the UK. It has a hessian top with a rubber underside to keep it still, and comes with a cotton travel bag.
Landing a spot in our best yoga mats review, our tester said: “While unusual, we found the hessian was fantastic for yoga: grippier than we expected, but also comfortable – so comfortable our reviewer found herself lounging around in child’s pose more than was really necessary.”
Water bottles and gym bags
There are lots of other designs, and this bottle will keep your water cold for up to 24 hours or hot for up to 12.
Our tester was impressed with its performance, saying: “The opening is the usual screw top mechanism and is yet to leak on us; you can also choose to embellish your bottle further with add-ons like coloured tops.” Do note, however, that it’s hand wash only.
And while getting out of the house to do a yoga class might seem lightyears away, it’s still a good idea to have your yoga equipment all together.
They said: “The outside pockets have a magnetic closure and are the perfect size for a water bottle, while the adjustable straps are wide enough to fit comfortably on the shoulders. The rose gold hardware is a pretty finishing touch, making this a bag we’d be proud to be seen with.”
If you think your yogi has all they need for their physical practice, you might want to consider giving them a good book.
It’s been described as a “self-care companion” and was included in our round-up of best self-care books 2020.
Our reviewer said: “The book begins with breathing practices, and encourages you to write down any niggling thoughts and feelings early on, so you can focus on the activities that follow. From here, exercises include physical ones, such as a ‘body scan’ and stretching routines, plus creative tasks that encourage things like doodling.”
Another publication from our 2020 round-up is Remember this when you’re sad (£6.89, Amazon) by Maggy Van Eijk who, in her own words, turns her brain “inside out” on its pages.
She tells her story of moving from self-harm to self-care, and “punctures the prose with bulleted sections designed to help the reader take better care of themselves,” according to our reviewer.
“Themes include ‘things you could do instead of self harm’ and ‘not-so-cringeworthy mantras that help me’. A raw and comforting read.”
For more great gift ideas for sports and health fans check out our dedicated fitness section
Best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals – Read our IndyBest guide to all the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.