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.

Experts say: "Kino's videos are great for beginners, and for experienced practitioners looking to refresh their knowledge. In the video above, MacGregor takes the time to discuss the importance of breath, sun salutations, and foundation postures. She also explains both the purpose and the benefits of each pose, all while moving through a simple and meditative flow." — Serena Tom, Yoga Teacher, Equinox
When I started the quest for the best free online yoga resources, I set some criteria to quickly narrow my search. I wanted videos that were about an hour long to mimic the length of the studio classes I was used to. I was looking for videos that were an athletic challenge but also provided good routines for relaxation. And since I was new to my yoga practice, I wanted videos that broke down the basics of every pose.
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.
There are so many reasons to heart yoga (after all, the practice boosts brainpower, increases strength, and can calm you down), but sometimes it’s tricky to pencil a class into a packed schedule.Does yoga therapy reduce blood pressure in patients with hypertension?: an integrative review. Okonta NR. Holistic nursing practice, 2012, Aug.;26(3):1550-5138. Long-term concentrative meditation and cognitive performance among older adults. Prakash R, Rastogi P, Dubey I. Neuropsychology, development, and cognition. Section B, Aging, neuropsychology and cognition, 2011, Dec.;19(4):1744-4128. Not to mention how quickly the cost can add up.
The way the capitalist economy works makes it very hard for most of us to get the basics we need to stay alive, including housing and healthcare. We are encouraged to become competitive money making bots, and we are denied the time to attend to the things that really matter, like caring for community members, mending the environment or enjoying being alive on this planet. This contradiction makes some of us anxious and/or depressed, and/or leads to addiction and untransformative social unrest. 
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.
Ask any yoga devotee, and they’ll likely agree on one thing: The practice works your body, mind, and spirit. MacGregor makes a point of this at the beginning of the workout and inspires you to take on a new challenge—all while reminding you not to stress throughout the harder poses. You’ll build total-body strength with planks and chaturangas, and slowly work your way into more advanced poses (like crane pose and headstands). Challenging? Absolutely. Worth it? Oh, yeah! (via KinoYoga)
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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.
Sometimes you need more than a couple of minutes of stretching. That’s where Yin Yoga, a practice that involves holding poses for long periods of time (usually three to five minutes) comes in. Yogi Nora directs you through a series of poses—some of which involve a pillow, score!—with the goal of helping you to let go and find flexibility. (via Yogi Nora)
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.

Begin in mountain pose with your hands on your hips. Step your left foot back about three feet and place it down at a 45-degree angle, so that your left arch is in line with your right heel. Your right toes should be pointing to the front of the mat. Both legs are straight. Turn your chest to face the left side. Reach your right out in front of your body and your left arm out behind you, so that they are parallel to the mat in a “T” position with your palms facing down.
It’s best to clean your yoga mat at least once a week to prevent staining and buildup. Use water and gentle cleansers like lemon juice or dish soap, but avoid abrasive sponges. Wipe down excess moisture and let your mat dry away from direct sunlight or high temperatures, which can accelerate the breakdown of natural materials like rubber. When in doubt, check your mat manufacturer’s care guidelines.
I’ll explain exactly what is in each video in a second, but, first I want to give you a chance to watch Cat’s introduction video. In it she explains how the gentle yoga course is organized and what you can expect. It’s also a great chance to get a feeling for Cat’s personality (I promise that you will fall in love with her like I did!), so please enjoy!
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.
The standard thickness of a regular yoga mat is 4–5 millimeters. Travel mats are generally 3 millimeters or less, and thick mats are 6–9 millimeters. The type of yoga you practice can help you figure out which thickness is right for you. Instructor Jane Witzenburg advises, “If you are doing a lot of lunges, use a thicker mat. If you are doing more balancing postures, use a thinner mat.”
Instructor Amira Freidson told us that a standard-size yoga mat is 68 inches long — just long enough for someone who’s five-foot-eight. To make sure you’re not too cramped during practice, check to see if your whole body fits on the mat while lying down with your face towards the ceiling. While there are no benefits to using a too-small mat, extra-large mats may be good for working on your flexibility: Instructor Giovanna Abraham says, “For more experienced yogis who have been practicing for 2-5 years, a longer mat would definitely be helpful — for instance, in giving them greater space to extend deeper into their poses.”
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.
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.
Beyond Yoga Essential Long Legging: "These pants are by far my FAVORITE yoga pants. I think I own maybe 7-10 pairs of just the "Essential" legging, and many pairs of other styles/colors. The fabric is to die for. They don't feel like your typical yoga pant, and you'll never want to take them off. They aren't just for working out. Since they don't have a side seam, they are the perfect legging to wear with a sweater/tunic. They also pass the "bend over" test...you can't see through them.
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