Yoga for Dummies is a six-part series of 10-minute videos. Put them together, and you’ve got a great starter yoga class that eases you into your practice. West’s channel has dozens of videos to choose from. I’d recommend starting with her beginner playlist, especially Namaste Episode 101. The 11 videos on the playlist are some of the best explanations of poses that I’ve come across. And West’s personable nature will keep you coming back.
When I started the quest for the best free online yoga resources, I set some criteria to quickly narrow my search. I wanted videos that were about an hour long to mimic the length of the studio classes I was used to. I was looking for videos that were an athletic challenge but also provided good routines for relaxation. And since I was new to my yoga practice, I wanted videos that broke down the basics of every pose.
Yoga mats are normally around 72" / 182 cm long and have a width of 24" / 60 cm. Some practitioners prefer extra-wide mats (30" / 78 cm) for positions such as Surya Namaskar or hand-balances. Yoga mats range in thicknesses from 2 mm (lightweight) to 4–5 mm (standard or "classic") and up to 7 mm for either high performance mats reserved for professional daily practices while guaranteeing little wear-out, or soft mats providing extra cushioning during yoga therapy.
On an inhale, raise your arms straight up above your head and bring your palms together. Bend your knees slightly, and on the exhale, hinge at your hips to fold forward, lengthening your spine the whole way down as you reach for the floor. Bring either your fingertips or palms to the floor, fingers in line with your toes. Slowly straighten your legs as much as you can without straining. Shift the weight toward your toes. Straighten your arms and lift your chest away from your thighs to make a flat back.
Calling all newbies: You don’t have to head to a studio to learn the basics. Just follow along with Kino MacGregor in this video. In just 12 minutes, you’ll get the low-down on controlling the breath, sun salutations, and more. We love that MacGregor explains both the purpose and the benefits of each pose, all while moving through a simple yet strengthening flow. (via BeFit)
I was introduced to the B Mat recently by Halfmoon Yoga Products. I have to say I am very impressed! The B Mat is made of 100% rubber (both natural and synthetic), without using harsh chemicals, finishes or sealants. It feels durable, is surprisingly light and has incredible grip in both wet and dry conditions. The surface is a pleasant texture, and the sturdy rubber provides great padding under knees and elbows. It also isn't as heavy as other home practice mats with similar padding and durability. A solid all-around yoga mat!
Sweet dreams are made of these... yoga poses. You’ll move through shoulder-opening poses to relieve stress, gentle forward bends (which host Jason Crandell says will quiet nerves), and hip openers that’ll help slash tension. Plus, the fact that Crandell’s detailed, easy-to-follow instruction is as soothing as the sequence itself helps set you up for some quality shut-eye. (via Yoga Journal)
About the channel: Tara Stiles has been making YouTube yoga videos since 2007. Stiles is also the founder of Strala Yoga in NYC. Most of her videos are of just her, though she also includes some live classes at Strala (meaning there are students in them). Stiles and Strala have been featured in tons of national magazines and newspapers; she is generally a badass in the yoga world.
Stretching it out is the name of the game here—and that’s something both beginners and yoga pros can always use. Your instructor, Cole Chance, also gives detailed directions (including important reminders to be gentle) that help ensure you’re engaging the right muscles. After 30 minutes’ worth of hurts-so-good poses, you’ll feel more nimble and relaxed. (via Yoga TX)
Established in 2008 by Kelly Kolterman, the SoCal inspired apparel brand commits to following ethical and responsible business practices and manufacturing. Additionally, Jala Clothing partners with Yoga Gives Back, a non-profit organization helping mothers in India start their own businesses and send their children to school. Their sizes range from women’s XS to L.
While in the pose, find balance by maintaining mountain pose alignment. Squeeze your glutes and engage your left quad muscle. Engage your abs and lengthen your spine. Keep your shoulders pressed down away from the ears. To help with balance, press your right foot into the left inner thigh with the same effort as the inner thigh presses into the foot.
Feeling overwhelmed? Yoga can help you take a step back from your busy schedule and find balance. A stressed-out mind often means a tense body (think: a clenched jaw, a stiff neck), so a calming yoga flow can give you a sense of relief both inside and out. Clinical therapist and yoga instructor Lauren Taus leads the way in this short but restorative flow, which is designed to give you an opportunity slow down and de-stress.
One of the stellar things about yoga is that you can do it anytime, anywhere—and that absolutely includes on the beach during vacay. But whether you’re actually in the middle of an exotic getaway or just in your own living room, you’ll flow from pose to pose in this total-body, 20-minute routine led by Karena and Katrina from Tone It Up. Bonus? The rippling water and beautiful sky in the background almost make you feel like you’re there. (via Tone It Up)
Experts say: "As an African-American yoga teacher who is also Muslim, Amin is uniquely positioned as a yoga teacher to serve both the community of American Muslims and others. She offers the physical, mental and spiritual qualities of yoga in a way that does not detract from Islamic beliefs. She is an embodied example of the Oneness that is the true reality of life." —Jana Long, Yoga Teacher and Director of Power of One Yoga Center
About the channel: Nazaahah Amin is a leader in the wellness community for women of color. "Yoga is an excellent tool that can foster sisterhood and promote healing in the Black community," she writes on her website. She invites women to join her tribe by either coming to her DC- and Baltimore-based classes, or joining in online on her website or YouTube. Her channel is a mixture of classes and motivational messages and reflections.