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.
The Aurorae Synergy specializes in providing a non-slip surface during hot yoga. The mat’s top layer is a non-slip, ultra-absorbent microfiber towel that is bonded to a 5mm-thick PER (Polymer Environmental Resin) yoga mat. It is excellent at providing grip, but that grip is limited to when it is wet.This microfiber side provides excellent grip when wet, but is actually quite slick when dry. Of course, you can use the PER side of the mat for dry classes and the towel side when it gets sweaty. The mat is also lightweight, thick enough to provide reasonable support and good value for the money.
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.
Sometimes you need more than a couple of minutes of stretching. That’s where Yin Yoga, a practice that involves holding poses for long periods of time (usually three to five minutes) comes in. Yogi Nora directs you through a series of poses—some of which involve a pillow, score!—with the goal of helping you to let go and find flexibility. (via Yogi Nora)
I know what it means to find the perfect yoga mat. The one that’s not too soft but not too firm, not too sticky but not too slippery, not too heavy but not going to fall apart after a couple practices either. I know how good it feels when you finally step onto The One, and I know just how elusive that perfect combination can be. That’s why, since founding DoYogaWithMe, I have been on a quest to find the world’s best yoga mats, test them, and report back to aid you on your personal quest.
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.
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)
Best of all, this mat is produced by a company with an eco, and human-friendly vision. Liforme cares about the company’s impact on the planet, and they have tackled the challenge of a sustainable, non-toxic yoga mat by diving into the research and doing their own independent study. The result is a mat made from low-odor, non-toxic, PVC-free material that is heat bonded without the use of any toxic adhesives and biodegrades in normal landfill conditions in 1-5 years! Liforme even send their eco mats to you without the irony of plastic packaging, which is always a plus!
While it was tough to find the routine I wanted on Yoga Journal, I kept coming back to the site for its invaluable 360-degree video explanations of different poses. Learning basic postures (called asanas) quickly made me more comfortable and confident in my practice. You’ll pick them up as you go, but if you prefer to study ahead of time, you can use Yoga Journal to learn these poses:
David is DoYogaWithMe's founder. After doing his first yoga class in his early twenties, he was driven to heal himself from successive injuries as an athlete and yearned to go deeper into his spiritual practice. Since then, David has explored many different styles of yoga, delved deep into the world of meditation and experimented with yoga breathing techniques. He is a yoga and meditation instructor, massage therapist, videographer, writer and dad and is known for his calm, skilled delivery, his ability to encourage people to be connected to their inner experience and his knowledge of anatomy, alignment, meditation, relaxation and pranayama.
When searching for free yoga resources, the video-sharing behemoth YouTube is a good place to start. But type “yoga” into YouTube’s search bar, and you get back more than eight million results. Many of these are one-off videos rather than easy-to-follow programs for beginners. There are, however, two free yoga programs that are worth checking out: Yoga for Dummies and Dr. Melissa West’s channel.