2011 Yogi Gift Guide - Wed, 12/07/2011 - 8:14am

As a self proclaimed yogi and yoga instructor in Chicago and as a lover of all things beautiful, I have come across some things that I think would make for great gifts this holiday season. Often I am asked by students or friends, ‘where did you find your groovy leggings or cool water bottle’, so I decided to compile this list in the hopes of  making everyone’s holiday less stressful and more relaxing. Happy shopping and happy holidays!

CHEROKEE LEG WARMERS

I live in leg warmers all winter long as I can wear them over my yoga tights and they keep my legs nice and toasty warm. I just found these in the girls’ department at Target. I like the simple cable knit detail running down the side and the super soft yet washable fabric. They also shorter in length than most leg warmers so they look good even with short boots or shoes. They come in both black and gray. $4.99 at Target

LOTUS FLOWER CANDLEHOLDER

A modern twist on the lotus flower. The simplicity of this design is what gives it its beauty and versatility to please most anyone.  You can keep the three plates stacked for a multi layered look or separate them and put either tea or pillar candles in each one. While I bought one for my yoga studio, I think two of them together would look great on a dining room table. $14.95 at CB2

GO GLASS WATER BOTTLE

Like most of us now aware of all the landfills filled with plastic water bottles, I made the switch from disposable plastic to reusable glass water bottles a while ago. I found one cool design that I loved but after I replaced it 3X after breaking I almost gave up - until I found this one. Life Factory’s BPA free lime soda glass wrapped in a silicone sleeve has not failed me yet. It’s smartly design, clean tasting and comes in an assortment of fun colors. $21.99 at at Yogaview Studio 2211 N. Elston Ave or www.amazon.com

GYAN MUDRA INCENSE HOLDER & BRASS BEADED BRACELET

One of my favorite places for all things yogic is Rashem’s on Devon Ave in India town. The owners, Ramesh and Huma, are lovely and the store is chock full of curious original finds from India.  Everything from textiles to deity statues to singing bowls to jewelry can be found here. Every time I go there I find something new and different and always well priced. I found this brass bracelet that is fully adjustable perfect to fit any size wrist. I also found a wooden gyan mudra incense holder – something I’ve never seen anywhere else. Both $15 at Resham’s 2540 W. Devon Ave.

BEADNIKS JEWELRY

If you are looking for a one of a kind gift, then head to Beadniks where you can create an original piece of jewelry for your loved one. You pick out what you want and they make it for you while you wait. You can keep it simple and affordable with a single charm or stone on a leather cord or get more ornate by piling it on. If you find the enormous selection offered there overwhelming, then ask owners Lauren and Mary for help. They have a great eye for what works and the patience to work it out with you so you are fully satisfied and right on budget. $10 - ?  Beadniks  1937 W. Division St.

RAW LOCAL HONEY

Having suffered from allergies for a long time, I started using local honey as my sweetener after reading all about the benefits it has to relieve allergies. Not only has it totally worked for my allergies – I was completely allergy free this last fall, but it also contains propolis nicknamed ‘bee penicillin’ known for its disease fighting benefits. I found Bron’s honey at whole foods and not only does it come in a presentable bear shaped glass bottle with well designed tag but it also comes in some unique flavors:  lavender, mint, rosemary, chocolate and cinnamon. $10 at Whole Foods or at www.heritageprairiefarm.com

KIVA

One of my favorite perennial gifts to give any time of the year, is a Kiva gift certificate.  Kiva is a non profit microfunding organization that loans money to small business owners in third world countries all over the world. With a loan as small as $25, you get to personally select the inpidual you want to loan to. They have photos and personal bios all broken down by industry and gender. For example, you can decide you want to loan to a female in education or a male in agriculture. What makes it unique and truly fabulous is that once that person repays the loan you get to pick another person and loan it to them. My friend, Michael Zuker gave this to me at least 5 years ago and I have easily helped over 25 inpiduals. It’s the gift that truly keeps on giving! $25 and up www.kiva.org

MANDALA CARD

I found these while on a retreat at Omega Institute in New York. The local photographer, Kathy Klein creates these mandalas with flowers, leafs, acorns etc. that she finds in nature. She designs these intricate designs, photographs them then lets them slowly blow away with the wind and natural elements. Enlarged prints also available. $5 at www.danmala.com or Yogaview in Wilmette

CHICAGO TEA GARDEN

Local purveyor and world traveler, Tony Gebely has crossed the globe searching for the finest teas from all over the world. He works with small tea farmers in China, Japan, India, Nepal and New Zealand to secure the best hand crafted teas possible all at reasonable prices. Passionate about his craft, Tony will personally work with you to select the right teas for you or your loved one. My personal favorite is the pu-erh tea that comes in a beautiful ceramic pot. $10- $25 www.chicagoteagarden.com