Eco-Friendly, Recycled & Organic Yoga Clothing

I have worn so many brands of yoga clothing over the years I really had to stretch my memory to think about the good, the bad and the ugly. Personally, I think I’ve tried to forget the ugly (poor fitting or poor quality) ones and just focus on what has worked. Through my personal practice and education in textiles, I have learned that you often get what you pay for. I’ve found things that work and those that didn’t. I’ve spent far too much money on yoga clothing that stretched in all the wrong places, wore out quickly or squeezed and pushed my body into places I didn’t want them to go. I’ve gone cheap, thinking I could save a few dollars only to find my bargain became expensive when I only wore it once or twice because it didn’t hold up to even a class or two.

I’ve found some companies that make clothing cut to fit my body shape and that has been most important to me. Secondly, I really pay attention to fibers. I’m sure I’ve had plenty of sales associates thinking I”m looking at price tags when I’m really reading content labels – just like I read personal care product labels and food labels. I want to know what I’m eating, wearing and slathering onto my skin because it all matters. Clothing fiber content matters because yoga clothing in particular is worn close to our skin. Our clothes are being washed and residue enters our water supply. Flame retardants along with dozens of other contaminants have been found in blood samples. Choices that we each make affect everyone around us, beyond our workout.

Recycled & Engineered Active wear in general has become “man-made” with the advent of tech-fabrics, nylon & polyesters are the foundational fabrics which have been engineered to even resemble cotton. Some polyester fibers are even made from recycled soda bottles.  

organic yoga tops

Soybu Bombshell Tank


Feels like cotton Here is a tank I received from Soybu to try.  I would definitely compare their quality of this bombshell tank to Lululemon and Athleta. I received an XS, equivalent to Lululemon 2, although it didn’t seem as snug as a compression tank from Lululemon. What I liked about Soybu is the simple design, the bombshell tank moves freely with your body, no bunching in funny places, although it did ride up a little during my sun salutation. I’m not sure if it’s because of the fabric or because I don’t have many curves for the cut to hold on to. The ruching on the sides give a flattering fit for most tummies. I like that Soybu is committed to providing eco-friendly fabrics like organic cotton, bamboo and recycled fibers and they have a huge line of clothing including cute dresses, accessories and more.

Organic Fibers are Best I absolutely love organic clothing, sometimes my body just craves the feeling of soft cotton fibers next to my skin and it needs a break from the man-made fibers which really don’t breathe. Organic fibers have a more casual fit if they don’t have spandex. Add spandex and you’ve got a great combination of a natural tech fabric that holds it shape during your vinyasa. Here are some more eco-friendly companies that are definitely worth trying with your sun salutations:

Soybu Sustainable fibers and eco-friendly company located in Denver, Colorado. Natural, inspired performance clothing that is versatile for workouts and play. A nice variety of clothing, dresses, yoga apparel and accessories for active women.

eco-yoga clothing in recycled fibers

Virahadrasana 2 in my Soybu tank

Cozy Orange  A new company to try out in eco-friendly yoga gear. Cute line of yoga clothing, jackets, activewear and accessories made with organic cotton, bamboo and recycled fibers.

Blue Canoe is a company that produces some nice organic cotton clothing, their active line has some spandex to help retain the shape.

Soul Flower is an eclectic source for unique organic yoga clothing and lounge wear.

Earth Yoga Clothing  made in the USA of organic cotton and bamboo. Cute capris, yoga pants and t’s for a comfortable yoga practice.

Prana  Supports many green organizations that are working for a better planet. They use natural, recycled fibers and offer men’s & women’s active clothing in addition to a full line of yoga-wear.

IbexSmartwool and Icebreaker are all companies that offer quality active gear made with naturally anti-microbial and odor resistant merino wool. I prefer these natural fibers over synthetic odor control chemicals which are embedded into the fibers.

These are some  key factors to consider when choosing yoga clothing:

Fit  is key if you don’t want to expose anything in yoga class. Your fellow classmates will also appreciate your choice of clothing that does not reveal. There are so many yoga clothing companies, many with great style, make sure you don’t sacrifice fit for style. Many yoga pieces shift or stretch a little so it is helpful if you can bend, stretch and move as much as possible in the fitting room. If you are uncomfortable in the first few minutes of a fitting, it will only get more apparent. When you practice yoga (or any exercise for that matter)you want to be able to focus on your movement, not wondering what your clothing is doing.

Fiber content  organic clothing is the purest option in yoga wear, so if you have sensitive skin to any chemicals this is your best bet. The only downfall to pure organic knit fabrics is they don’t keep their shape well (unless they have lycra added for stretch). If you go 100% organic, the best styling would be looser fit pants and tops that don’t rely on form fitting fashion to be comfortable and functional. If you are practicing yoga, clothing that is comfortable, yet loose enough to move in is ideal.

Odor Control  Obviously, odor control is important when it comes to workout clothing, especially if you are working out over lunch and your gym clothes stay in your gym bag until evening. My simple fix is to wash clothing with 4-5 drops of a Purifying essential oil blend. This blend works magic in removing odors, even in my teenager’s lockers and shoes where the odor is enough to knock you out. I would stay away from yoga clothing that is injected with “odor-controlling” fibers, this should be your first clue that it contains chemicals. Engineered chemicals like microban are not  in alignment with pure living principles. Some companies have created active and yoga clothing with silver nano-technology in which the verdict is still out as to the long term effects of wearing these fibers next to your skin. Wool is my favorite choice for natural odor control. My husband is a runner and comes home with shirts soaking wet. Every once in a while he wears cotton again and it is saturated with sweat odor. This never happens with merino wool, even if it sits overnight!

Cost  is a factor for most of us. While it shouldn’t be the only factor, it’s important to keep in mind quality of your clothing. Spending $50 on a yoga top is expensive if you only get 4 or 5 wearings out of it before it pills, fades or loses it’s stretch. I’ve found this is a common problem with some name brand sports apparel that is fine for other sports like basketball, football, soccer, or everyday wear. I have Athleta yoga pants that have lasted 3 years without pilling or fading. At first it was tough to cough up the $60 (on sale) for a single pair ($80 regular price), but now I’m convinced and a believer of quality activewear for my yoga practice. You really do get what you pay for.

What is your favorite piece of yoga clothing and why? This is the piece that you would buy one in every color (or maybe you already have) Please share 🙂

If you own an eco-friendly yoga clothing company not listed here, please list your link! We’d love to learn about new companies who make eco-friendly clothing made in the USA.

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6 Responses to Eco-Friendly, Recycled & Organic Yoga Clothing

  1. Terri May 9, 2013 at 6:49 pm #


    Very Good article. I launched DownDog last year as a way to offer smaller boutique Yoga Clothing manufacturers (often Organic) a way to market their products more effectively together in one place.

    We have picked up over 10,000 followers on Facebook and Pinterest already in the 8 months since we started. We carry Earth Yoga who you have mentioned in your article but also several other Organic lines: Green Apple, Minawear Organic, Synergy Organic, Jonano Organic, Hyde Yoga, Yogamat Boutique, Awear Yoga, Anjali Clothing (Both Mens and Womens) and just added Inner Waves Organics. We have them collectively on an Organic Yoga page here:

    I wrote a blog article a few weeks ago too about Bamboo Organic Yoga Clothing and whether it is “Greenwashed” or not. You may be interested in that:

    Sorry if that is all a bit long but you did ask!


  2. Susan P May 9, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    Thanks for stopping by Terri! Downdog boutique has a wonderful selection of earth friendly, eco-clothing. I’m so glad to have this information for readers. I loved your article on bamboo fibers as well. It really is worth taking the time to read about where our clothing comes from so we can all make the best choices.

  3. Kelly July 14, 2013 at 3:45 am #

    Hi there,

    I’m a bit confused by DownDog Boutique’s selection – a lot of the brands do not appear to be eco-friendly/organic. Body Angel uses Supplex & Lycra, Chakras by Didi uses Polyester & Spandex, Glyde uses Nylon & Spandex..?

    Just thought I would point that out! Susan, if you find any new eco-friendly brands that you like, do post about them as we are looking for new lines to carry here in Singapore as well 🙂

  4. Susan P July 15, 2013 at 6:13 am #

    Hi Kelly, you’ve got a good point. Unfortunately, many companies in the athletic clothing industry do use polyester, spandex and Lycra for “performance” clothing. I’m hopeful that through websites like ours we can begin to change perspectives about what is really healthy for people and the planet.

    Ideally I’d like to feature companies that are 100% pure all across the board whether in clothing, personal care or general goods but it’s just not common so I’m trying to include those that are doing a lot of things right. There are many companies making some really good products, but it’s not unusual to find those organic cotton goods paired with Lycra to help hold the shape. It is important to lessen or eliminate those man-made fibers especially when you are working out, and pure organic fibers are the healthiest for us and our environment.

    Ultimately we vote with our dollar, it’s up to each of us to know what we are buying, read labels- yes on your clothing too :). Continue to read those labels because companies change their product lines to fit with what consumers want, what is available in supply chain and what grows the profit. Purists like ourselves want to see that organic fiber industry grow so consumers have a bigger selection of the good stuff and less of the polyester/Lycra/tech fabrics that are engineered from petroleum products (recycled or not)


  5. Terri August 9, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    Hi again Susan (and Kelly),

    I am not sure why the DownDog Boutique selection would appear confusing but I am interested to hear why. We do not push ourselves as a purely Organic Yoga wear retailer but do like to offer a selection of Organic Yoga clothes in a clearly marked category. The manufacturers you refer to Kelly are not in that section.

    We would love all Yoga clothing to be Organic but that is probably not likely to happen and we like to carry mostly USA manufactured boutique companies rather than mega corporations. I wonder really if Organic clothing made in Asia is really that much better than a small one woman operation in the USA that is having her clothes made locally but cannot go through the costs of certification?

    On a side note as a person who buys nearly all Organic food it is disturbing how many corporations are green washing products and claiming Organic when it is within the letter of the law but not what consumers who buy Organic would see as truly Organic.

    Back to Clothing. I have asked many of the manufacturers about teh spandex question and all of them say that up to 10% spandex is required for activewear as it needs to be stretchy. Non stretchy clothing like hemp based from Minawear for example contains none and tends to be loose and drapy which is OK for fairly gentle Yoga but not so good for anything strenuous.

    I would be interested to hear if your research has turned up anything that is stretchy and 100% organic that would replace the spandex in activewear? I have heard of a few products being made but they are still very expensive and not in mass production yet.

    In the end I agree with Susan’s point that we (DownDog Boutique) will offer a platform to as many Organic Yoga and Activewear manufacturers as we can as that will in the end be far better for our collective health and environment than the alternatives. Mostly Organic is far better than none.

    We are delighted to be just adding a new manufacturer to our Organic roster this week:

    All Organic (yes with 8% Spandex…) and all made in Colorado. We haven’t finished loading it all yet but it is well on the way.

    Keep up the good work Susan!

    If you ever want to guest blog on DDB or have us post one of your blogs on our facebook page with a full link back here of course just let me know.


  6. Steve December 12, 2016 at 11:21 pm #

    Thanks for this article, i want also to talk about my Yoga Mandala Store, its a online shop we can find a big choice of Yoga Meditation apparels like yoga pants, yoga beach blankets, <a href=""chakra necklaces and much more, please fill free to visit my store.


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