vie magazine subscribe button

A Pathway to Bliss

By Anne W. Schultz

Maybe it’s the playful name “Lululemon”—which sounds to me more like a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor than a store—that suggests there is something magical about this unique retail venture. The fact that one visionary man can follow his dream and launch a single store that expands to three hundred plus worldwide only adds to its mystique. Maybe it’s the company’s “desire to empower people to reach their full potential” that lights up the whole operation. Walk into any Lululemon and discover for yourself why it’s so much more than a store.

You’ll find not only over-the-top yoga pants there but also an active lifestyle that makes for happier and healthier living—a lifestyle committed to practicing yoga or any other exercise that keeps you sweating. “Our love for yoga runs deep; it rejuvenates our body, calms our mind, and is at the core of who we are,” the company’s website explains. So whether you’re stretching your arms to the sky in a tree pose or out in a warrior stance, Lululemon has you covered in high-tech apparel that moves with your body.

It was love at first stretch for Lululemon’s founder, Chip Wilson, at the first commercial yoga class offered in Vancouver. There he experienced an endorphin high similar to the ones he enjoyed while surfing and snowboarding. He was sold on yoga, but with his passion for high-tech athletic fabrics, he was not impressed by the baggy clothing that participants wore. Thus, Lululemon clothing was designed by day and tested by instructors during yoga classes by night.

In 2000, the first store opened in the Vancouver beach community of Kitsilano. Years later, a showroom opened in another beach community—the one where I live in the Northwest Florida Panhandle, famed for its white sandy beaches and emerald waters. How I stumbled upon this local showroom was as serendipitous and fun as the beginnings of Lululemon itself.

Women doing yoga outside in Lululemon gear. Photo courtesy of Lululemon.
Photo courtesy of Lululemon.

It all started on King Street, the commercial shopping district in Charleston, South Carolina, where I purchased a pair of terrific-looking yoga pants at an unassuming store without a name out front. As one of the few on the planet who had never heard of Lululemon, I didn’t realize I was in their Charleston showroom until years later, when I was back home driving down the main beach corridor of Highway 30-A and spotted the logo—the same one that was attached to the zipper of my yoga pants! I find out later that it’s a stylized A, but to me it resembles the Greek omega. The white logo enclosed in a red circle is printed on a signboard at the entrance to a small shopping center in Grayton Beach, Florida. Like a child on a treasure hunt, I searched for the store to match it until, through a window, I spotted the same exceptional clothing I had found in Charleston.

It’s embarrassing how many times I’ve worn my pants over the past four years, yet they still look brand new. They never bag or sag and haven’t shrunk after countless washings. They are buttery soft against my skin and hug the body so my Iyengar Yoga instructor can check my alignment. They look stylish enough to wear out to lunch or coffee in a beach community where casual and laid-back are the dress code. They have even endured miles of hiking trails and never unravel in spite of the tiny pinpricks inflicted by the needle-sharp claws of my daughter’s rat terrier.

Our love for yoga runs deep; it rejuvenates our body, calms our mind, and is at the core of who we are.

Grayton Beach Lululemon ambassador and yoga instructor Laura Bailey explains why: “The seams are stitched six times, and pants are prewashed so they retain their shape. I still wear yoga pants I’ve owned for ten years. I love how they include ‘happy surprises’ in their clothing, like a hair tie on the end of a zipper and pockets concealed in unexpected places. The fabrics are amazing. In some fabrics they use the technology of silver threads woven in to inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria. My favorite fabric is what’s called ‘Full-On Luxtreme.’ It is breathable, wicks sweat away, and dries really quickly.”

Although Lululemon usually selects new ambassadors every one to two years, Bailey stands out as an exception: she has served for four. In 2017, another local yoga guru, Angela Ragsdale, joined the Lululemon family as the new ambassador, while Bailey transitioned into the role of legacy ambassador, remaining a member of the Lululemon family.

Lululemon’s wide array of sports gear and loungewear includes yoga and running pants and shorts, sports bras, swimwear, cold weather gear, accessories, and more for women and men. Photo courtesy of Lululemon.
Lululemon’s wide array of sports gear and loungewear includes yoga and running pants and shorts, sports bras, swimwear, cold weather gear, accessories, and more for women and men. Photo courtesy of Lululemon.

If yoga is the “core” of Lululemon, then wonderful staff and ambassadors like Bailey and Ragsdale are its heart and soul. They are embodiments of the holistic lifestyle that Lululemon promotes with its athletic and leisure clothing. They are the ones who live the brand’s mission every day and who attract others to it with their energy and vitality, along with their calm and serene composure. They welcome customers with friendly smiles and bond with the local community at free yoga classes at the store, which Bailey teaches once a month. They also pass along information about local yoga classes, unique coastal offerings like yoga on stand-up paddleboards, as well as healthy restaurant recommendations and other information pertaining to a healthy lifestyle.

According to the American Yoga Association, “The classical techniques of Yoga date back more than five thousand years. In ancient times, the desire for greater personal freedom, health and long life, and heightened self-understanding gave birth to this system of physical and mental exercise that has since spread throughout the world. The word Yoga means ‘to join or yoke together,’ and it brings the body and mind together into one harmonious experience.”

It seems more than a coincidence that yoga, one of the few exercises to address mind and body, has resurfaced and spread throughout the world at a time when both are threatened by technology. During the Industrial Revolution, physical fitness declined as advances in industrial and mechanical technologies replaced labor-intensive jobs. Large populations moved from farms, where outdoor chores provided natural exercise, to a more sedentary lifestyle in the city.

 

In The History of Fitness, Lance C. Dalleck, MS, and Len Kravitz, PhD, write about how the health costs of industrialization and urbanization weren’t apparent until much later, in the 1950s and 1960s. At that time, an epidemic of diseases that had not been prevalent before— including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes—exploded as the leading causes of disease and death. A fitness test for children in the 1950s measured the decline in our physical fitness, as 60 percent of American children failed at least one of the tests in comparison to only 9 percent of children from European countries.

The word Yoga means ‘to join or yoke together,’ and it brings the body and mind together into one harmonious experience.

Skyrocketing obesity and the continuing rise of these same diseases indicate technology is still affecting our health. Yoga is the ideal preventive medicine for the effects of today’s technology that keeps us indoors staring at screens instead of exercising. Technology follows us into the car and is carried with us throughout the day, so our minds are constantly bombarded by sound bites, advertisements, gossip, and much more.

Yoga directs our focus inward to a deep reservoir of peace and serenity. Its meditative techniques help us surrender our egos, tune out other voices, and quiet our minds enough to hear the one voice we most need to listen to—the still, small voice within. It’s more than magical—it’s downright miraculous—how daily exercise, a healthier diet, and meditation help us reach our full potential. By offering the gift of yoga, Lululemon not only opens the door to a more blissful lifestyle, but also makes sure everyone is well dressed for the occasion.

— V —


www.Lululemon.com



Read Responsibly

VIE Magazine - January 2018 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine, The Sophisticate Issue, December 2017
VIE Magazine - November 2017 Art & Culture Issue
VIE Magazine - October 2017 Home & Garden Issue
VIE Magazine | September 2017 | The Stories and Storytellers Issue
VIE Magazine - The Adventure Issue - August 2017
VIE Magazine - July 2017 - Art & Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - The Voyager Issue - June 2017
VIE magazine 2017 March-April Cover South Walton Fashion Week
VIE Magazine - January/February 2017 - The Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Nov/Dec 2016 The Sophisticate Issue
christian siriano vie magazine september october 2016 vie magazine
the modern minimalist issue
Summertime!
the culinary and couture issue march april 2016 vie magazine
the voyager issue alys beach vie magazine january february 2016
cultural issue vie magazine november december 2015
home and garden issue vie magazine september october 2015
the art and style issue vie magazine july august 2015
the wedding issue 2015 May June vie magazine
the food and fashion issue vie magazine march april 2015
the travel issue vie magazine january february 2015
the music issue vie magazine 2014 november december
The Animal Issue vie magazine september october 2014
the home and garden issue vie magazine july august 2014
the wedding issue vie magazine may june 2014
emeril lagasse food and fashion vie magazine
the men's issue january february 2014
the music issue november december 2013 vie magazine
the home and garden issue 2013 october september
the wedding issue vie magazine july august 2013
the artist issue may june 2013 vie magazine
the food and fashion issue march april 2013
the men's issue january february 2013 vie magazine
The Holiday Issue
the love issue july august 2012
the all american summer may june 2012
the entertainment issue march april 2012
the fashion issue vie magazine winter 2011
the home and garden issue vie magazine fall 2011
the anniversary edition vie magazine summer 2011
the wedding issue vie magazine spring 2011
vie magazine the holiday issue 2010 Dec
vintage swimsuits vie magazine 2010 Fall
judith march designer vie magazine summer 2010
wedding giveaway vie magazine spring 2010
holiday gift guide vie magazine winter 2009
emarketing explosion vie magazine fall 2009
tribute to mother's day vie magazine summer 2009
james and robert redford vie magazine spring 2009
zz top vie magazine fall winter 2008
project dreams vie magazine new york fashion week
Sign-up for VIEmail

Sign up for VIEmail

X

A LIFESTYLE