Do you have all the Lululemon you need to do the asanas?

If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you’ll quickly discover the importance of providing yourself with the right “equipment”. Read on to find out what you will need and why.

 Jennifer Stewart at Emirates Palace. Christopher Pike / The National
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If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you’ll quickly discover the importance of providing yourself with the right “equipment”.

Wait, what? You need equipment to practise yoga? You mean it’s not all “Ommming” and stretching out over a leg? Yup, that’s right, modern yoga is all about movement, and dare I say “empowerment” within these movements. It’s a chance for you to marry strength, flexibility and mindfulness with a luscious supply of asanas (yoga poses), all to ensure a connection to the present moment. It is, after all, the exercise of the 21st century.

Your non-slip yoga mat will save you from what will feel like an eternity of endless, frustrating moments in ­downward-facing dog as your hands and feet slide slowly like snails in opposite directions. Your fitted tank will promise not to drape down over your head, revealing much more than you had hoped, as you flow through a vinyasa. Your curve-hugging, non-cotton tights will ensure that your instructor will be able to provide the correct alignment for your hips and legs, while keeping you fresh as you perspire. Did I forget to mention how convenient a yoga strap, block and super-comfortable under­garments can be?

Enter the most recognisable and top-selling yoga activewear company of the past decade: Lululemon Athletica. Also known as simply “Lululemon” or “lulu” to the cool kids, this now-billion-dollar company entered the scene in 1998 to fill a gap for proper yoga apparel for women. According to its Vancouver-based founder Chip Wilson, back in those days, everything was made of cotton, was too loose-fitting and didn’t offer the right technical support.

So what makes this brand so popular? For starters: the clothing. Personally, I haven’t found a pair of yoga pants that I love more than the Wunder Under Crops in Luon (the roll-down version is the best). The fit is comfortable, concealing and smoothing in all the right places (definitely no muffin top here), while Lulu’s “luon” technical fabric is sweat-wicking, moveable and breathable. And, not forgetting what may be the most important factor in offering up a hefty US$98 (Dh360) price for a single pair, they tend to last for years and years. As do the tops, sweaters, jackets and believe it or not, the undergarments.

A big part of the success of the clothing actually depends heavily on the feedback of local instructors, or “Lululemon ambassadors”, chosen on a rotating basis at each store. These teachers are asked to wear Lululemon’s products and offer their insight and feedback, basically putting the products in the hands of the consumers who are most in the know. You’ll see these ambassadors’ pictures gracing the walls of their prospective stores and their classes tend to be “hot” picks favoured by store staff.

Lululemon’s clothes are also popular thanks to the variety and consistency. There are several options in pants for lots of shapes – although the company has been criticised for excluding a large portion of the population by making nothing larger than a US size 12 – and, unlike other brands, it keeps its staple styles constant, with some basics being retained since the company’s inception. However, Lululemon does continuously create designs to honour the latest trends, while still offering the basics.

As a former “educator” at the Georgetown, Washington store, I can vouch first-hand for the company’s dedication to community and the pursuit of greatness. This, at times, could be bizarrely conveyed – in a too upbeat, “I drank the Kool-Aid” sort of way – but hey, maybe it’s just the “happy” endorphins talking, right? Either way, the free yoga classes and interaction opportunities stores offer do bring people together and build a wonderful sense of community. This, of course, is an asset to any city.

So there you have it – if you can get past all the hype and at-times negative publicity, Lululemon can definitely offer you a multitude of good, durable products. However, as I tell my yoga students, when it comes to their personal practice, to each their own. Maybe it’s for you. Maybe it’s not. Have a look when the Dubai store opens, you can decide for yourself.

• Jen Stewart is a yoga instructor in Abu Dhabi. Follow her on Instagram @jenstewartyoga or email jenstewart06@gmail.com for class times and locations

artslife@thenational.ae