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.
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.”
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.
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.
Crank Up Core Strength: an athletic, dynamic routine with some arm balances that will tire you out. I think it’s best suited for someone who is already in good shape but is trying out yoga for the first time. The flow requires two blocks, which can stabilize you in poses when one hand is on the ground or help improve overall alignment. Until I got a great set of cork blocks, I used big, heavy books instead.
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’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!
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