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.
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.
The Manduka Eko yoga mat is made from non-Amazonian, all-natural tree rubber reinforced with polyester and cotton and manufactured without toxic glues or foaming agents. No toxic chemicals were used to soften the rubber either, which is rarer than you might expect. These mats have two layers that are different densities, offering a combination of spongy and firm support, and have a closed-cell surface that repels moisture. The natural rubber has good grip in dry conditions and feels nice and supportive under your body.
Challenging your muscle memory keeps your mind sharp! In this sequence, Health's contributing yoga editor Kristin McGee puts a new twist on the standard yoga flow, shaking up classic sequences so they feel brand-new. McGee says this routine is perfect for yogis of all skill levels. As a bonus, studies show that making your brain’s processing center work harder may help with long-term memory retention.
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.
About the channel: Gaiam is a lifestyle brand originally founded in Colorado that focuses on yoga, fitness, wellness, and the environment. As part of their brand, they have a YouTube channel where they offer classes by well-known yoga instructors, like Rodney Yee and Colleen Raidman. Most of the videos are of just teachers, though some of them have students in them, too.
The “grippiness” of a mat has two parts. One is how grippy the mat is against your hands and feet — are you slowly sliding out of place during warrior pose, or are you solidly planted? The other is the traction of the mat against the floor: Does your mat slip around on smooth floors, or is it firmly stuck in place throughout your session? Sweat can be a factor too, especially if you practice an intensive form like hot yoga, so you want to make sure your mat will stay grippy through it all.
Watch this video tutorial which asks you to explore the distrust you live with, and that we all live with, from living in a society that constantly offers bad support, or support that actually takes away more than it offers in the form of debt. What would it look like to reach a wall, and to know that beyond that wall we didn't have to live like this? In this set of exercises we do intense breath, visualization, and movement to connect with and imagine a world beyond financialization. *This video comes with free access to our introduction and warm-up videos.
When I first started to do yoga again after several decades of inactivity, I had concerns. Was I too old for yoga to be effective? Would the extra pounds that I had picked up over the years prevent me from doing the moves properly? Was I too stiff to enjoy yoga? Would I be embarrassed to join a yoga class and be surrounded by younger people doing advanced moves? Now that I have been doing yoga for a few months, I have never felt better.
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)
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.
Brands to Look Out For: We take our yoga clothing seriously and don't carry brands that we wouldn't stand behind. All our yoga apparel brands are high quality and constructed with care. We love carrying brands that are made in the USA, use sustainable and eco-conscious practices, support emerging designers, and stay on top of the latest trends. One yoga apparel brand that all yogis will love is Teeki, an LA based brand that creates awesome yoga leggings made out of recycled water bottles. Wear It To Heart is another very popular brand that sells high quality yoga clothes that are crafted with fashion and function in mind. We love the Beyond Yoga Essential Leggings which are one of the most popular basic black leggings that we sell. LVR Fashion uses GOTS certified Organic cotton and bamboo made in the USA for their yoga clothing, making them an excellent choice for the earth concious yogi.