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.
We’ve selected yoga videos for some of the most common poses you’ll encounter in a yoga class. Each pose has an English name and a Sanskrit name—in these videos you may hear just one name, or both. The first nine poses collectively comprise the yoga sequence Sun Salutation A, which is a set sequence of postures often found at the beginning of a yoga class intended to warm up the body.
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.
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)
About the channel: Nazaahah Amin is a leader in the wellness community for women of color. "Yoga is an excellent tool that can foster sisterhood and promote healing in the Black community," she writes on her website. She invites women to join her tribe by either coming to her DC- and Baltimore-based classes, or joining in online on her website or YouTube. Her channel is a mixture of classes and motivational messages and reflections.
As I said above, I have only been impressed by the B Mat. The B Mat Everyday is constructed with 100% rubber (both natural and synthetic), without using harsh chemicals, finishes or sealants, and feels good under my skin. The B Mat Everyday also provides decent padding, even though it's only 4mm thick and 4.1 lbs (if you are looking for more padding, get the 2mm-thicker B Mat Strong reviewed above). Like it’s thicker cousin, this mat feels durable, is surprisingly light and has incredible grip in both wet and dry conditions.
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.
“I don’t have time” can never be an excuse for skipping a workout. This fast-paced routine is proof that you can pack a lot of core shaping into just six minutes. But don’t let the length of the workout fool you; this routine’s no joke. Yogi star Kathryn Budig leads you through a tough mix of pulsing leg lifts (tiny movements with major impact), bicycle kicks, and more. (via Gaiam)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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