It’s easy to fall off the yoga practice bandwagon. There are so many things that can keep you away from the studio—staying late at work, forgetting your mat, or even feeling anxious that you’ll look silly in a class of seasoned yogis. Whatever the reason, there are tons of free online options to supplement your practice. The problem then becomes searching through the haystack of free online resources to find your perfect namaste needle.
If support is your main concern, the Jade Fusion Mat should serve you well both at home and in the studio. The Jade struck a great balance between cushiony support and secure grippiness: One tester reported, “With dry hands and feet, there is absolutely zero slippage. With sweaty palms, it didn’t feel quite as 'sticky' but still secure enough that I never had to think about keeping myself from sliding.”
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.
Wake up your batteries, stat, with this energizing flow led by Tiffany Cruikshank, founder of Yoga Medicine and an expert in the restorative power of yoga. She says that the sequence helps deliver "calm invigoration" so you feel both peaceful and motivated by the time you're through. The slightly longer routine affords you plenty of time to find your center and truly connect with your body, which makes for a happier and healthier day.
Both yoga and Pilates have lots to offer advanced exercisers, who can benefit from the improved core strength and body awareness that are typical results of training in these areas. Using mats and equipment from Power Systems, exercisers of all levels will improve their posture, flexibility, and agility. Yoga and Pilates have also been shown to reduce back pain, which is an increasing problem as we age. Pilates exercises develop strong core muscles, which include the deep abdominal muscles along the spine. In contrast to traditional weight training workouts, Pilates focuses on elongating and strengthening muscles while improving both elasticity and joint mobility. The result is a reduced chance of injury.
Bring your shoulders, hips, and heels into a straight line (imagine that there is a straight line from your head to heels). Keep your shoulders over your wrists. Engage your abdominals. Press your palms into the ground to engage your triceps and biceps. Press your shoulder blades down the back, and lengthen your sternum forward to keep your chest open. Look toward the front of the mat.
Yoga mats are normally around 72" / 182 cm long and have a width of 24" / 60 cm. Some practitioners prefer extra-wide mats (30" / 78 cm) for positions such as Surya Namaskar or hand-balances. Yoga mats range in thicknesses from 2 mm (lightweight) to 4–5 mm (standard or "classic") and up to 7 mm for either high performance mats reserved for professional daily practices while guaranteeing little wear-out, or soft mats providing extra cushioning during yoga therapy.
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.
Dear road warriors and treadmill champs: You’re tight. (And by that, we mean your lower-body muscles are tight!) This routine boosts flexibility in the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. The key? Spending some quality time in the poses and—as instructor Erin Motz notes—remembering to breathe deeply throughout so you don’t restrict blood flow to these areas. (via DoYouYoga.com)
The Liforme Yoga Mat rolled out with a quietly satisfying plop and seemed firmly set in the ground, ready for action. We never had to worry about the mat sliding around on the floor or about sliding around on top of it ourselves. The Liforme mat has a natural, grippy rubber base and smooth, matte polyurethane top. It’s not so sticky it catches you while you’re trying to switch positions (like the Hugger Mugger Para Rubber did), but was grippy enough to keep us stable even during hot yoga sessions. One tester noted, “The sweater I got, the stickier the mat was.”
Price is an important factor when considering a yoga mat. If you’re a new yogi, it might make sense to choose a more affordable mat with fewer frills. But it’s also good to consider longevity vs. initial cost. All of our top picks are durable and can withstand heavy use for many classes to come, so putting down more money upfront might help you avoid having to replace a cheaper mat later.
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.