Thanksgiving is over and the holiday season has officially begun leaving yogis and their friends and family seemingly with two choices. One: dive head-first into a cesspool of commercialization or Two: boycott every calendar month that starts with the letter “D”
I propose a third option—mindful giving. Mindless giving is rooted in stress filled obligation and usually involves ugly socks or a Diamonique broach from Zales. Mindful giving on the other hand leaves the giver, the receiver and by extension the whole world feeling a little bit healthier and a lot more compassionate.
Below are ten gift ideas for the Hard-To-Buy-For Yogi in your life.
There are numerous charities that could use some support. If you can, find a cause that your Hard-To-Buy-For Yogi feels passionately about and donate in their name. Not sure where to give? Here are a few I support that you may want to consider.
Mother Miracle School –Serves some of the poorest kids in India!
BRAID Mission– Offers support to foster kids in San Francisco.
City of Hope– Researching cures for cancer, diabetes and HIV
Grace Cathedral Community Preschool– Helping underprivileged kids from San Francisco go to preschool
Bay View Mission– Provides food, clothing and other essentials for some of San Francisco‘s poorest residents.
2. Yoga Mat
A good yoga mat makes all the difference. Even if the Hard-To-Buy-For Yogi already owns a yoga mat, it probably smells like an old gym sock. If they own a cheap PVC-based mat it is not only bad for the environment, it will be crazy slippery when wet. About the only thing PVC-based mats are good for is making sandwiches at Subway.
Rubber based mats will transform a yoga practice instantly. Until I purchased my first rubber mat, my downward dog looked something like Bamby on ice. [look familiar?] If you are looking for some great mats and props I have listed a bunch of them here.
Jade Harmony Mat
Jade Harmony Mat
3. Inspiring Books
OK, this is a shameless plug, but hey, I’m writing this on Black Friday so it’s a holiday tradition. Of course I’m hoping that every Hard-To-Buy-For Yogi on your list gets a copy of my new book The River of Wisdom: Reflections on Yoga, Meditation, and Mindful Living, but there are also hundreds of other books out there that will help deepen their asana practice, start a meditation practice and live more mindfully. You can see a list of my books here.
Just about every studio, gym and teacher offers gift certificates. Some offer memberships, others offer class cards and some teachers even offer private one-on-one sessions. Just find a teacher or studio that speaks to the unique needs of your Hard-To-Buy-For Yogi and get them a gift card. Some studios even offer introduction to yoga packages and workshops for all those would-be yogis promising to start practicing in the new year.
5. Massage and Bodywork
Kind of hard to go wrong with this gift. If your Hard-To-Buy-For Yogi has a favorite massage therapist, that makes things easy. If not, Yelp reviews can help you pick out a therapist in their area. If your Hard-To-Buy-For Yogi happens to live in San Francisco, I recommend Wanda Pierce.
6. Inspiring Music
Music is always a wonderful complement to any yogi‘s practice and home. An iTunes gift card, a subscription to Spotify or a CD from a yoga inspired artist.
7. Online Yoga
Some people find it hard to get to the yoga studio because of travel, work or family commitments. Not to worry—there are a number of online services offering all sorts of online yoga classes that your Hard-To-Buy-For Yogi will love. My personal favorite is MyYogaWorks Online because it has such a wide variety of teachers and styles from which to choose.
8. The Yoga Inspired Kitchen
Eating well is a fundamental part of living as a yogi but in our busy modern world that can be difficult. Small things can make a big difference though. In my view, every yoga inspired kitchen should have a rice and grain cooker, a slow cooker and a Vitamix blender. All three gadgets make eating healthy convenient and attainable for even the busiest yogi!
9. Yoga Retreats
There are few things in this world that are as amazing as shutting off the mobile phone and stepping outside the business of day-to-day life on a yoga retreat. There are yoga retreats for just about everyone. Local weekend getaways, exotic Costa Rican adventures (check out Blue Osa) and modern Ashrams such as Kripalu. I offer a retreat to India every Spring and a retreat to Joshua Tree National Park every Fall.
10. Teacher Training Pay it Forward!
There are lots of would-be yoga teachers out there who would change the world given the opportunity. If you can help a yogi pay for a Teacher Training in part or in full, you will be helping to create the next generation of great teachers. You can even ask them to ‘pay it forward’ by volunteering to teach to underserved population once they graduate!