Yoga is an incredible workout: not only does it increase flexibility, strengthen muscles, and calm your mind, but it can also seriously whittle your waist, ease lower back pain, improve blood pressure and cholesterol, even boost your immune system. But while the list of health benefits is long, not everyone has the time, money, or patience to fit regular yoga classes into their workout routines. To the rescue: these free online yoga videos let you reap yoga's many health perks without leaving the comfort of your living room. The best part? They start at just 5 minutes long, so you can fit in a sequence anytime, whether it's first thing in the morning or while you wait for dinner to cook. Pick one (or a few!) to practice daily and learn for yourself how yoga can benefit your mind and body.
Over the years, I have tested mats from just about every well-established brand and many from lesser-known up-and-comers. I have watched technologies, materials and designs evolve to meet the needs of an ever growing number of yogis, and I have observed how brands have risen (or failed to rise) to the challenge of a more sustainable future. If you’re ever going to find that perfect mat for you, I can tell you there’s never been a better time than right now.

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.
The Liforme Yoga Mat rolled out with a quietly satisfying plop and seemed firmly set in the ground, ready for action. We never had to worry about the mat sliding around on the floor or about sliding around on top of it ourselves. The Liforme mat has a natural, grippy rubber base and smooth, matte polyurethane top. It’s not so sticky it catches you while you’re trying to switch positions (like the Hugger Mugger Para Rubber did), but was grippy enough to keep us stable even during hot yoga sessions. One tester noted, “The sweater I got, the stickier the mat was.”

We were initially pretty skeptical about the special alignment markings, thinking they might just be a gimmick — but our testers were taken with how helpful the markings were in practice. A centerline helps you maintain symmetry, while 45-degree lines and other parallel markings help you nail perfect alignment. (Lines are spaced at varied distances for taller and shorter people). Liforme explains how the markings should be used more thoroughly on its website, but we found this to be pretty intuitive for experienced testers, even if they didn’t read the instructions.
What it is: OneOEight is a subscription-based online yoga studio founded by the very well-known yogi Rachel Brathen (i.e. @yoga_girl on Instagram). OneOEight — which has tons of teachers, including Brathen — divides their classes by mood, duration, teacher, focus, destination, and style, which makes it really easy to choose the classes that work best for you. Plus, many of the classes — which range from group classes to classes with just a teacher — are filmed in soothing locations, like the beach or a plant-filled room, which helps set a calming tone from the beginning. And the platform also offers recipe and travel recommendations in addition to yoga and meditation.
Stressed out. Tense. Crazed. If any of these words describe you, this routine’s a godsend. You’ll gently sway and flow your way from forward folds to low lunges to splits (only if you’re up for them)—all in just 30 minutes. With breezy and serene direction, Tara Stiles gives more advanced options for those who want them, but she’s really all about finding what works best for your body in that moment. (via CosmoBody)

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.
It is not easy to recreate the feel that a rubber mat provides, and the Aurorae Synergy isn’t as supportive or stable as its rubber competitors. The mat can move around under your hands and feet if you put it microfiber-side-down, and you’ll slide if you use it microfiber-side-up in dry conditions. It’s also a challenge keeping it clean, since it absorbs so much sweat, but this might be worth it for hot yogis who are tired of slipping during sweaty practices.
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.
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.

Start in mountain pose. Step your left foot back three to four feet and place it down at a 45-degree angle, so that your back left arch is in line with your right heel. Keep your chest and hips facing forward to the front of the mat. Bend your front knee to a 90-degree angle directly over the ankle, with your toes pointing forward. Don’t bend the knee past the ankle.

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