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.
I personally believe the Liforme Yoga Mat is the best yoga mat currently available. Though slightly thinner and lighter than its “Everyday Practice Mat” competitors, it still manages to be incredibly durable and supportive enough for knees and other bony joints. It feels great on the skin, stays grippy without clinging in wet or dry conditions and comes with helpful alignment markers to keep you balanced and strong.
A good yoga mat should walk the line between being squishy enough to take some of the pressure off your joints, while being dense enough to offer a stable foundation. Too-soft mats may be comfortable, but they’re difficult to hold a pose on — and while you can stand on a too-firm mat forever, you may end up hurting your joints. Beginners, pregnant yogis, and people with sensitive joints should consider thicker mats, which offer more support. Yogis who commute or travel a lot may prefer thinner mats that are easier to roll up and carry.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In my opinion, the Jade Level One Yoga Mat is the best inexpensive yoga mat on the market. At less than 60$, the Jade Level One has good padding for the joints, great grip when dry or wet, impressive durability, weighs a moderate four pounds, and is made from eco-friendly materials by a company that cares about their impact on people and the planet. Like all mats by Jade, the Level One Mat is made from sustainable resources with no PVC.
In addition to providing real boosts in strength and flexibility, both yoga and Pilates have been shown to reduce stress, improve concentration, stimulate the immune system and create an overall sense of well-being. Once considered somewhat alternative fitness activities, both yoga and Pilates have become fundamental components of physical fitness regimens for beginners to elite athletes. Power Systems can help by providing the best in yoga and Pilates mats, yoga chairs, Pilates machines, and much more to help you make the most of these important activities.
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.
About the channel: Dana Falsetti, the women behind Yoga Trees, came to yoga after years of struggling to love her body — and her practice helped her finally find inner peace. Her channel is mostly her quick Instagram tutorials, which are super helpful. You can also find her longer classes at Cody (see below). Falsetti has been featured in many online and print publications, including Shape, Mind Body Green, and more.
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)
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.
Experts say: "When you watch Tim's videos, his laid-back 'California' vibe truly shines through. People love him because his yoga videos are geared for both beginner and intermediate practitioners, and he'll also throw an advance yoga posture into the mix, which makes his videos more dynamic than other typical online classes. He always gives very specific instructions, too. When you watch Tim, you feel like you are getting more than just an online yoga class — you feel like you are getting to know the 'real Tim.'" — Serena Tom, Yoga Teacher, Equinox
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