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.
Calling all newbies: You don’t have to head to a studio to learn the basics. Just follow along with Kino MacGregor in this video. In just 12 minutes, you’ll get the low-down on controlling the breath, sun salutations, and more. We love that MacGregor explains both the purpose and the benefits of each pose, all while moving through a simple yet strengthening flow. (via BeFit)

One of the stellar things about yoga is that you can do it anytime, anywhere—and that absolutely includes on the beach during vacay. But whether you’re actually in the middle of an exotic getaway or just in your own living room, you’ll flow from pose to pose in this total-body, 20-minute routine led by Karena and Katrina from Tone It Up. Bonus? The rippling water and beautiful sky in the background almost make you feel like you’re there. (via Tone It Up)
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.

Why practice yoga alone when you can do it with a friend? Certain yoga poses are perfect for two people to do together, and teaming up with another person can also help you further increase your flexibility. In this video, Health's contributing yoga editor Kristin McGee demonstrates 10 yoga poses you can do with a buddy for a sequence filled with balance and bonding.
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.
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.”
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.
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.

Established in 2008 by Kelly Kolterman, the SoCal inspired apparel brand commits to following ethical and responsible business practices and manufacturing. Additionally, Jala Clothing partners with Yoga Gives Back, a non-profit organization helping mothers in India start their own businesses and send their children to school. Their sizes range from women’s XS to L.


Start in mountain pose. Step your left foot back three to four feet and place it down at a 45-degree angle, so that your back left arch is in line with your right heel. Keep your chest and hips facing forward to the front of the mat. Bend your front knee to a 90-degree angle directly over the ankle, with your toes pointing forward. Don’t bend the knee past the ankle.
If you are looking for a supportive, grippy and non-toxic mat, this may be the one for you. The Jade Fusion Yoga Mat has a lot of fantastic qualities. Number one, it’s made mostly from natural rubber, with no PVC, making it eco-friendly and biodegradable - in fact, Jade was the first company in the industry to offer non-toxic mats! It’s thick, incredibly supportive for bones and joints and has amazing grip in both wet and dry conditions. With their ‘Plant a Tree for Every Mat Sold’ initiative, U.S.-base production, and support for programs that bring yoga to those who couldn’t otherwise have access, the company has a strong tradition of responsible industry practices. To read more, visit their page 'What We Care About'.
Experts say: "Jessamyn Stanley is a rising Instagram star and has gained much popularity for using yoga as a way to promote a positive body image and a positive self-esteem in ourselves. Yoga transformed Jessamyn's life by helping her overcome depression and years of body negativity. She uses Instagram and YouTube to defy the negative statements that many people have about people who are overweight, and you can often find her posing in advanced yoga postures. Viewers love Jessamyn's videos because they're very empowering — and she's creating a new and aspirational image of a 'healthy and athletic body.'" — Serena Tom, Yoga Teacher, Equinox

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.


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.
Specifically designed for pregnant ladies (like Kristoffer herself!), this sequence helps define arms and open the shoulders to counteract any hunching that might occur as a result of carrying extra weight. Similar to a regular flow class, it involves poses like lunges, downward-facing dog, and chaturanga (modified with your bump in mind). Be sure to talk to your doc first before attempting. (via Qinetic Live)
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. 
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