Yoga is so ubiquitous these days that you can barely swing a cat without hitting someone in downward dog. Even I have finally succumbed to it, after much haranguing by my personal spirit animal, Tamar. So you'd think that manufacturers would have figured out how to make a decent gym bag for yogis. You would be wrong. I can hardly believe it, but most yoga bags are made to carry only your mat, with maybe a pocket for your keys and a few bills (and most of them are made of truly regrettable fabrics). But if you also want to throw in your own hand towel or water bottle or even if you just carry a large wallet, your options are limited. If you want to bring all of the above and your workout clothes because you're heading to yoga from work, forget about it. There are a few bags that allow you to strap your mat to your bag, but that just looks dumb, and if you need to set your bag down on, say, a dirty subway floor, well, why even bother bringing your own nongermy mat? (Answer: to save the $2 rental fee, but I digress.)
Anyway, I've been searching for days, and I only found two bags on the entire Internet that fit my criteria. Here they are:
Lululemon convertible Yogi tote, $54 (and free shipping!). Freakin' Lululemon, home of the $98 stretch pants: I never thought I'd buy anything from there, but this is the one I got. The mat goes in the bottom part, and you put your other crap in the top part. If you just need to tote the mat, turn it inside out. Genius. It supposedly has tons of pockets for little stuff, too. The reviews say the handles are too short, but I'm hoping I can deal. If not, or if it's just way too big, I'm going to plan B:
Sundara Studio "Urban Yogi" bag, $65. This one's handmade and designed for a casually rolled-up mat, with room for a few extras. I like the colors of this one—most yoga stuff on the Internet is so cheesily hippied-out you feel like you need to confirm it came from a patchouli-free home. If the Lululemon needs to be returned, I'm totally trying this out.