When I decided to film these gentle yoga videos, I knew that I needed to find a special teacher. I wanted to find someone who really understood our needs. I wanted to find a person with the charisma and experience to keep us motivated… someone who lives and breathes yoga every day. And, I wanted to find a kind and genuine person who you would want to spend time with every day.
It’s easy to fall off the yoga practice bandwagon. There are so many things that can keep you away from the studio—staying late at work, forgetting your mat, or even feeling anxious that you’ll look silly in a class of seasoned yogis. Whatever the reason, there are tons of free online options to supplement your practice. The problem then becomes searching through the haystack of free online resources to find your perfect namaste needle.
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 your hands 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 them.
If support is your main concern, the Jade Fusion Mat should serve you well both at home and in the studio. The Jade struck a great balance between cushiony support and secure grippiness: One tester reported, “With dry hands and feet, there is absolutely zero slippage. With sweaty palms, it didn’t feel quite as 'sticky' but still secure enough that I never had to think about keeping myself from sliding.”
Your morning sets the tone for the entire day, so if you wake up feeling tired and stressed, you won’t be off to the best start. A quick early-morning yoga flow is a great way to clear your mind and wake up your sleepy muscles. In this 15-minute sequence, instructor Irina Ovsiannikova from YG Studios in New York City demonstrates the ideal yoga flow to motivate and energize you for the day ahead.
I started feeling my left knee pop and my back ache at the base of my neck. With any new exercise, it’s normal to feel some new aches and pains while your muscles adjust. When you release tight muscles as you start doing yoga, it impacts your overall posture and muscles in unexpected places across your body, which might make you sore. Since I’m a desk worker, I wasn’t surprised that waking up neglected neck muscles was uncomfortable—they always get sore when I exercise my upper body, and the sensation was familiar.
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)
The Manduka Eko yoga mat is made from non-Amazonian, all-natural tree rubber reinforced with polyester and cotton and manufactured without toxic glues or foaming agents. No toxic chemicals were used to soften the rubber either, which is rarer than you might expect. These mats have two layers that are different densities, offering a combination of spongy and firm support, and have a closed-cell surface that repels moisture. The natural rubber has good grip in dry conditions and feels nice and supportive under your body.
On an inhale, reach your front hand as far forward toward as you can, bringing the rib cage forward. On an exhale, hinge forward from the hip joint, reaching your right arm down and your left arm up, creating straight line up and down. Place your right fingertips either on top of your right ankle, on the floor, or on a block just outside the ankle. Extend the arms and open the chest.
While it was tough to find the routine I wanted on Yoga Journal, I kept coming back to the site for its invaluable 360-degree video explanations of different poses. Learning basic postures (called asanas) quickly made me more comfortable and confident in my practice. You’ll pick them up as you go, but if you prefer to study ahead of time, you can use Yoga Journal to learn these poses:
Price is an important factor when considering a yoga mat. If you’re a new yogi, it might make sense to choose a more affordable mat with fewer frills. But it’s also good to consider longevity vs. initial cost. All of our top picks are durable and can withstand heavy use for many classes to come, so putting down more money upfront might help you avoid having to replace a cheaper mat later.