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.
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.
The leading yoga publication’s video section is a comprehensive resource with 360-degree views to better understand the nuances of every pose. The routines are more technical, more likely to use Sanskrit terms, and more athletically challenging than the ones I came across on DoYogaWithMe. My two main gripes with Yoga Journal’s online offerings: The videos were often shorter than I’d like (I find I need about an hour to get into a meditative, head-clearing state) and didn’t include any user reviews, so I found myself clicking around aimlessly in search of videos that would be a good fit. That being said, the production quality and detailed explanation of each pose is hard to beat when it comes to free yoga resources.
Sweet dreams are made of these... yoga poses. You’ll move through shoulder-opening poses to relieve stress, gentle forward bends (which host Jason Crandell says will quiet nerves), and hip openers that’ll help slash tension. Plus, the fact that Crandell’s detailed, easy-to-follow instruction is as soothing as the sequence itself helps set you up for some quality shut-eye. (via Yoga Journal)
"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)
What it is: YogaVibes streams online yoga classes through their subscription service, but in case you don't want to join, they also offer free videos. They divide their videos by category, so you can just pick what you're in the mood for each day — say, "vinyasa flow" — and go for it. Some of the classes are group classes, whereas others feature just one teacher. There are over 5,000 classes total, taught by over 100 professional yoga instructions, and they have an app, too, so you can download classes to use offline.
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.
In the first tutorial we learn to unplug our nervous systems from the global economy, to protect ourselves from social media corporations and digital technology like smartphones, and to establishing new connections with people and other things in the world. In the second, we learn about the threat of passive authoritarianism (way capitalism has implanted in each of us a desire to be ruled) and how to rebel from the inside out. In the final tutorial in the first series we break down the wall of distrust that debt of everything has built inside of (and between) us, and which it has made us pay for!
Yoga mats are normally around 72" / 182 cm long and have a width of 24" / 60 cm. Some practitioners prefer extra-wide mats (30" / 78 cm) for positions such as Surya Namaskar or hand-balances. Yoga mats range in thicknesses from 2 mm (lightweight) to 4–5 mm (standard or "classic") and up to 7 mm for either high performance mats reserved for professional daily practices while guaranteeing little wear-out, or soft mats providing extra cushioning during yoga therapy.
Polyvinyl chloride is a synthetic material commonly used in yoga mats because it keeps slippage to a minimum, is durable, provides the most “give,” and tends to be the cheapest material. A concern with PVC, without going into too much detail, is that it contains phthalates — substances that have been linked to health issues and negative impacts on the environment.
On an inhale, reach your front hand as far forward toward as you can, bringing the rib cage forward. On an exhale, hinge forward from the hip joint, reaching your right arm down and your left arm up, creating straight line up and down. Place your right fingertips either on top of your right ankle, on the floor, or on a block just outside the ankle. Extend the arms and open the chest.
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.
Let’s be real: Being bound to our desks is kind of a bummer. Thankfully, this routine targets the area that suffers the most. Yep, we’re talking about the hips. Yoga instructor Sonia Doubell leads a slow and steady sequence that includes poses to target hip flexors and relieve tension, like a low lunge with little pulses and pigeon pose. She also encourages you to feel at ease—a welcome reminder for the work-hard, play-hard set. (via Grokker)
Dear road warriors and treadmill champs: You’re tight. (And by that, we mean your lower-body muscles are tight!) This routine boosts flexibility in the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. The key? Spending some quality time in the poses and—as instructor Erin Motz notes—remembering to breathe deeply throughout so you don’t restrict blood flow to these areas. (via DoYouYoga.com)
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.
We wanted to make sure our top picks would be easy to clean and durable (no mid-session mat shrapnel here!) We found that more porous, open-cell mat surfaces tended to be grippier, but were also harder to clean — they tend to absorb everything, like a giant sponge. Smooth, closed-cell surfaces tend to be easier to clean, but may be more slippery. The sweet spot is a mat that’s just grippy enough but doesn’t hold onto dirt and debris.
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.
I see some complain about the price...I buy a lot of yoga pants, and you can go spend $30 on a pair or less, but you will be able to see that the quality is incomparable to BY's leggings. I had a pair from Old Navy, before I discovered these. Let's say I will never wear those again. Beyond Yoga is 1 of my favorite brands, and they are worth every penny. I always get a ton of compliments every time I wear them to my Barre classes, or the grocery store. You won't be disappointed!" (via Amazon.com)