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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.
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:
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.
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
Like any sport, yoga requires a specific understanding of technique. It takes focus and attention to set up a yoga pose correctly, work within the pose, and then safely move out of it. Yoga instructors typically use the term “alignment” when referring to form. Correct alignment is when your bones are stacked and stable. This prevents injury because the muscles are working with the bone structure, rather than being pulled too much in one direction or another. When the muscles and bones are in correct alignment, you can typically go deeper into the pose without fear of injury, breathe more deeply, and receive more benefits from the posture. The 15 yoga videos for beginners below will help you achieve proper alignment in each pose so you can start feeling like a yoga pro in no time.
Experts say: "Jessamyn Stanley is a rising Instagram star and has gained much popularity for using yoga as a way to promote a positive body image and a positive self-esteem in ourselves. Yoga transformed Jessamyn's life by helping her overcome depression and years of body negativity. She uses Instagram and YouTube to defy the negative statements that many people have about people who are overweight, and you can often find her posing in advanced yoga postures. Viewers love Jessamyn's videos because they're very empowering — and she's creating a new and aspirational image of a 'healthy and athletic body.'" — Serena Tom, Yoga Teacher, Equinox
At 5.5 pounds and 4.2 millimeters, the Liforme is relatively light and thin for a partly-rubber mat. Our more experienced testers thought it was “the perfect thickness,” though one added, “I think if other people had more sensitive joints, it would be slightly painful.” If you need more cushion, we’d recommend the Hugger Mugger Para Rubber Mat or the Jade Fusion Mat.
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.
We’ve selected yoga videos for some of the most common poses you’ll encounter in a yoga class. Each pose has an English name and a Sanskrit name—in these videos you may hear just one name, or both. The first nine poses collectively comprise the yoga sequence Sun Salutation A, which is a set sequence of postures often found at the beginning of a yoga class intended to warm up the body.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you! Everyone was so nice and helpful! Not only was I able to email the staff to set up a time to come by and visit since I would only be in town for a short time, but then when I showed up everyone was beyond helpful in making sure we found the right items. Laura helped me at the store and went back and forth between the stock room and a make shift dressing room so I could try on a variety of items. She also helped my mom and I select our perfect yoga mats. She made us feel welcome and not like we were taking her away from her daily business by intruding. Laura also gave me a preview look at the Portland bridge leggings and then later that week sent me an email saying they were available on the website now. From start to finish everyone was incredible at Evolve! Thank you" (via Resellerratings.com)