Hands are shoulder-width distance apart and feet are hip-width distance. Look back at your toes and keep your ears in line with your arms. Press your palms into the mat and create a straight line from your wrists, to your shoulders, to your hips. Engage your core muscles. Press your heels down toward the mat (even if they don’t touch the floor) and attempt to straighten the legs without locking them.
The mat’s open-cell design provides an excellent textured feel, but it also absorbs moisture, meaning you’ll have to dedicate more time to keeping it clean. It’s perfect for home practice, but you may not want to lug it around because it is pretty darn heavy. The natural rubber also comes with a few trade-offs. The Jade Fusion Yoga Mat has a distinct rubber smell that takes time to go away, it loses its stickiness if left in the direct sun, it won’t last as long as some synthetic mats, and it’s near the top of the range in terms of price.
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)
Why practice yoga alone when you can do it with a friend? Certain yoga poses are perfect for two people to do together, and teaming up with another person can also help you further increase your flexibility. In this video, Health's contributing yoga editor Kristin McGee demonstrates 10 yoga poses you can do with a buddy for a sequence filled with balance and bonding.
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.
Experts say: "My channel is all about finding support for creating a body-affirming yoga practice that fits people's regular lives. On the channel, folks can find pose tips, practices, and discussion about making yoga work for people of all shapes and sizes and how yoga can be a powerful tool for body acceptance." — Anna Guest-Jelley, Yoga Teacher and Founder of Curvy Yoga
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.”
About the channel: Gaiam is a lifestyle brand originally founded in Colorado that focuses on yoga, fitness, wellness, and the environment. As part of their brand, they have a YouTube channel where they offer classes by well-known yoga instructors, like Rodney Yee and Colleen Raidman. Most of the videos are of just teachers, though some of them have students in them, too.
While the holidays are amazing, they inevitably come with their own unique set of stressors, from family drama to gift shopping. Taking time for yourself is especially important during stressful times, and yoga can help. In this video, Equinox trainer Noemi Henriquez demonstrates an 11-minute flow that was specifically designed to challenge your body and help you unwind during the busy holiday season.
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)