I recently saw this post on Sandy Kish Jordan’s (one of my super cool summer beach-yoga friends) Facebook page and got a big smile on my face:

BLACK FRIDAY IS COMING!!! Just imagine if everyone spent their money locally instead of on discount crap that no one will even remember they got next year! We could support our friends and neighbors and truly make a difference in our economy. I challenge all my friends. Buy your gifts from local businesses, artists, restaurants.

Great minds think alike, because as I was preparing this post, I realized that almost all of my yoga holiday gift ideas are created by Ohio-based small businesses that just so happen to be run by some amazing yogini goddesses.

It’s a win-win proposition. You get to give your yogi friends unique yoga-inspired gifts, and then you get the added satisfaction of knowing that you helped support a fellow yogini and female-owned yoga business.

If you have a friend, wife, lover, husband, kid, or colleague on your Christmas gift list who loves yoga, these gift recommendations are not only cool, but they’re also designed to enhance their yoga practice. You will not find these gifts at any big box store, and you don’t even need to leave home or wait in line; you can browse in the comfort of your PJs and order the best yoga gifts online right now. So grab a nice warm beverage, relax, and do some stress-free shopping (and don’t forget it’s always fun to treat yourself to one or two holiday yoga gifts too!).

No More Slip Sliding Away – NamaSTAY Yoga Towels

Have you been having trouble with sweaty palms and feet on your yoga mat? Do you worry in those hot classes that you might lose your grip and hurt yourself by slipping and nose diving into the floor? I have to say – that used to be one of the biggest factors that kept me from staying fully present in class. Now, I depend on my NamaSTAY towel to keep me securely planted in my downward dogs.

Cleveland, Ohio-based Cherie Greenwald has developed a pretty damn innovate non-slip yoga towel that has sleeves to hug yoga mats so that the towel stays flat. You can read my review of NamaSTAY yoga towels, and if you decide you want to purchase one, order direct from the Daily Downward Dog to save an extra 20% off of your order or use code DOWNWARDDOG at www.namastaytowel.com to get the 20% savings.

NamaSTAY yoga towels fit most standard size mats and come in a variety of gorgeous colors, including darker, manly colors for the yoga dude in your life. When you give the gift of a NamaSTAY yoga towel, you show how much you care about the safety and well-being of your yogi friends.

Yoga Crack

Indu Lotion, otherwise known as Nectar of the Moon, and sometimes affectionately described as Yoga Crack, is perfect for anyone on your gift list who needs a little something (legal) to help them relax. No prescription required – this all-natural lotion is made with essential oils of bergamot, lavender, and geranium to create an aromatherapy potion that helps ease anxiety and tension, fights fatigue and stress, and (the product feature near and dear to my heart) helps promote clear thinking. The creator of this product, Marni Task, lives and teaches yoga in northeast Ohio (and she also puts on a pretty fierce kirtan too)! You can read more about Indu and can order it right here on The Daily Downward Dog.


Memory Foam Meets Yoga Mat

Say goodbye to sore wrists and achy joints. The Vernice Vita (VV) yoga mat provides three layers of comfort, one of which is memory foam, that keep you protected and comfy during your daily downward dogs. If you love savasana, imagine how much more amazing it could feel lying on those three layers of yumminess. I wrote about my experience using my Cadillac and Studio size Vernice Vita mats, and I have to say that once you go VV, you’ll never go back to a conventional mat. Major kudos to Rachael Ennis, the genius behind Vernice Vita.

Show the yoga lover in your life how much you really care for them with the gift of a Vernice Vita comfort  yoga mat. Their wrists, ankles, knees, and heart will have an even greater appreciation for you.

When you place your order direct through The Daily Downward Dog, we’ll save you $10, or you can order direct at www.vernicevita.com and use discount code MARIA10 to pick up the $10 savings as well.

Sanskrit 101

One of the most hotly debated topics on the D.D.D. this year was my post about teaching yoga classes in English versus Sanskrit. It seems that many of us need a little refresher course on the fine art of speaking Sanskrit, and if you or one of your buddies belongs to this camp, why not invest in some Sanskrit training? The awesome yogini Cheryl Hall can get you over your fear of mispronouncing poses like Padangusthasana, Ardha Chandrasana, and Parivrtta Parsvakonasana in under 45 minutes. If you want more information, please read my review of Cheryl’s online training sessions (done via Skype), and then contact her direct (azvedicchant at gmail.com or by phone 480-216-2602) to purchase a gift certificate. Mention the Daily Downward Dog, and Cheryl will give you $5 off the 45-minute class (which is normally $35).


The Ultimate Shop Local Gift

I can’t think of a better gift to give someone you love than the gift of yoga. Why not encourage a friend or family member to start by inviting them to practice with you, or by purchasing a yoga gift certificate for them to try classes in their town? You’ll be supporting your local yoga community and doing something really extraordinary (and maybe even life changing) for your recipient.

If you are looking for recommendations in the Akron, Ohio area, I highly recommend Yoga Bliss . If you live in a remote area with no local studios, you have to try out Yoga Download, an online yoga video resource that lets you pick from hundreds of classes whenever it’s most convenient for you.

Seva – The Best Gift of All

In the rush of holiday craziness, please take a moment to consider giving back some of the goodness you’ve received this year. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention at least one organization that could use some love and support this coming year.

I just recently learned about the efforts of Street Yoga, a non-profit organization that teaches yoga, mindful breathing, and compassionate communication to youth, families, and their caregivers who are struggling with homelessness, poverty, abuse, addiction, trauma, and behavioral challenges. This practice encourages them to grow stronger, heal from past traumas, and create for themselves a life that is inspired, safe, and joyful.

Mark Lilly founded Street Yoga in 2002 by organizing a handful of yoga teachers to teach yoga at a day shelter and school that serves homeless youth. Lilly says his life was deeply bettered by yoga. He started Street Yoga partly because of a song by Neil Young; there’s a line from the song that goes, “We were giving, that’s how we kept what we gave away.” To keep what yoga gave to him, Mark Lilly said that he had to give it away as fast and as much as possible.

Over the last ten years that giving has reached thousands of kids!

Please visit the Street Yoga website. There are plenty of ways to get involved, either through volunteering, starting Street Yoga in your community, or by making a donation.

Wherever you shop this holiday season, please support local businesses, your local yoga studio, and spread the love. If you want to give a shout out to a local business or yoga studio, please feel free to give them a plug in the comments below!

One last note, if you want to save money on shipping, remember to order before Tuesday, December 20th to receive orders shipped by USPS Priority Mail or UPS Ground in time to arrive before Christmas.

Stop by again next week for an awesome holiday giveaway featuring some of these yogalicious products!