These days, finding the right yoga mat can send you into choice paralysis. From sticky mats that come in all different textures and levels of thickness to hot yoga towel-mats, traditional woven blanket-mats, and more, there’s a yoga mat for almost every type of yoga. Which means it can be especially tough to find the best yoga mat for your practice.
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:
Without question, this was my favorite free online yoga resource. The site offers an easy-to-follow, six-week beginner guide. The guide recommends two classes and one pose tutorial every week, which provides an amazing foundation for your practice. DoYogaWithMe also has a beginner's studio with dozens of curated videos for people who are new to yoga. The videos vary in length, so I never felt bored. I liked that you could check out each video’s average rating and reviews from fellow novice yogis before you dive in.
A yoga mat's material affects its stickiness, durability, comfort, texture, and whether or not it’s environmentally friendly. PVC is cheaper and more durable but may be exposed to toxins during manufacturing and be less beneficial for the environment. Eco-friendly materials tend to be more expensive and degrade more quickly but are both free of toxins and more sustainable.
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.
Expert recommendation: Sri Dharma's Mittra's series of classes, like this one, which cover Asana, Yoga Nidra, Pranayama and meditation. "Sri Dharma worked for close to a year exploring and sequencing the Asana classes in particular. They represent his most current thinking on Asana practice as of now." —Adam Frei, Program Manager of Dharma Yoga New York Center
We wanted to see how the most popular options compare, so we sought out mats that people were most excited about — from old favorites like the Manduka PRO to newer releases like the Alo Yoga Warrior Mat. We sifted through numerous “best-of,” “bestselling,” and “top-rated” lists, reached out to over 30 yoga instructors for their opinions, and dug into requests and queries from our yoga-loving readers.
No yoga practice is complete without a good yoga mat. Just like the different types of practices, popular yoga mats come in a range of choices. From extra thick to thin, open cell to closed cell, regular grip or sticky grip, long and wide lengths, the best yoga mats come in a variety of types to suit each individual's needs. Choose the best yoga mat for you by choosing a brightly colored mat or a mat with printed designs, or one with extra cushion to pad your knees and joints. You can also buy low price yoga mats for wholesale if you're setting up a studio.
Both yoga and Pilates have lots to offer advanced exercisers, who can benefit from the improved core strength and body awareness that are typical results of training in these areas. Using mats and equipment from Power Systems, exercisers of all levels will improve their posture, flexibility, and agility. Yoga and Pilates have also been shown to reduce back pain, which is an increasing problem as we age. Pilates exercises develop strong core muscles, which include the deep abdominal muscles along the spine. In contrast to traditional weight training workouts, Pilates focuses on elongating and strengthening muscles while improving both elasticity and joint mobility. The result is a reduced chance of injury.
Best of all, this mat is produced by a company with an eco, and human-friendly vision. Liforme cares about the company’s impact on the planet, and they have tackled the challenge of a sustainable, non-toxic yoga mat by diving into the research and doing their own independent study. The result is a mat made from low-odor, non-toxic, PVC-free material that is heat bonded without the use of any toxic adhesives and biodegrades in normal landfill conditions in 1-5 years! Liforme even send their eco mats to you without the irony of plastic packaging, which is always a plus!
Bring your shoulders, hips, and heels into a straight line (imagine that there is a straight line from your head to heels). Keep your shoulders over your wrists. Engage your abdominals. Press your palms into the ground to engage your triceps and biceps. Press your shoulder blades down the back, and lengthen your sternum forward to keep your chest open. Look toward the front of the mat.
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.
Celebrity yoga instructor Hilaria Baldwin is all about using yoga to combine fitness with mind-body balance. This flow draws upon her five major principles: perspective, breathing, grounding, balance, and letting go. The quick sequence features moves that are guaranteed to help you feel balanced and centered, perfect for incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine.
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)
Hatha yoga is the root of the physical yoga practice and most modern-day styles. Hatha yoga is not an exercise but rather the practice of physical postures, or asanas, which drive physical energy. Get familiar with yoga or revisit the foundations with this collection of Hatha yoga videos. Open your body, center your mind, and ground yourself in the fundamentals and watch your practice bloom. Hatha can be translated in two ways. One as "willful" or "forceful," the second as "sun" and "moon." In these translations, we see the representation of the yoga of activity and the yoga of balance. In our Hatha yoga online collection, you'll discover practices designed to bring attention to your breath, manipulate the flow of energy, and align your body and mind. In the physical realm, Hatha yoga uses conscious movement to balance strength and flexibility. Emotionally, this practice calms our nervous system and cleanses our minds of stress and tension to leave you with a feeling of well-being. In this series of Hatha yoga videos, you'll discover a powerful tool for self-transformation. Enhance the way you think, feel, and experience life by learning to be more present in each unfolding moment. Each posture will elevate your level of consciousness while increasing your strength and flexibility. Open your spine and experience a renewed sense of vitality as energy channels flow through you, unrestricted. Explore our Hatha yoga online videos to calm your mind and form a deeper connection with your body.
The grippiest, most comfortable yoga mat in the world is still a pain if you’re constantly struggling to lug it to and from class. If you intend on commuting with your mat, you may want to consider one that is lighter or comes with a carrying case. Just remember that if it doesn’t, a carrying case will cost extra. Weight and thickness also come into play. Heavier and thicker mats will be a bit bulkier to travel with than sleeker, thinner ones.
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)
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.
Yoga mat towels can be useful for people who find themselves slipping on their mats, typically in Bikram or “hot yoga” classes. If you invest in a quality, non-stick yoga mat, you shouldn’t find yourself slipping — even in the sweatiest conditions. That said, towels can also be a nice addition for wiping sweat off your face and body during class, too.
The “grippiness” of a mat has two parts. One is how grippy the mat is against your hands and feet — are you slowly sliding out of place during warrior pose, or are you solidly planted? The other is the traction of the mat against the floor: Does your mat slip around on smooth floors, or is it firmly stuck in place throughout your session? Sweat can be a factor too, especially if you practice an intensive form like hot yoga, so you want to make sure your mat will stay grippy through it all.
Our women’s yoga pants and tops are invented and designed, tested and perfected by the active women at prAna. From ultralight to super compressive yoga pants, to supportive yoga bras and lightweight active layers for street-to-studio looks with a sustainability twist, our yoga favorites for women combine the style, performance, and durability you need to achieve the ultimate balance and embody active joy. Yoga bras and yoga tanks are available in a variety of sustainable fabrics and fits, while our yoga pants and yoga leggings come in capris, leggings, and shorts. Find the essential active basics like black yoga pants, or push the limits with vivid colors and prints on our white yoga pants with a vibrant floral pattern. Don’t forget the yoga mats and yoga gear is eco-friendly too, ensuring your practice is as mindful as it can be.