Over the years, I have tested mats from just about every well-established brand and many from lesser-known up-and-comers. I have watched technologies, materials and designs evolve to meet the needs of an ever growing number of yogis, and I have observed how brands have risen (or failed to rise) to the challenge of a more sustainable future. If you’re ever going to find that perfect mat for you, I can tell you there’s never been a better time than right now.
This project began as a set of workshops and performances. Thanks to its overwhelming popularity it has evolved into a series of three yoga tutorial videos. I am seeking your support because I want to make a second series of yoga videos, this time at a professional quality level, so they can reach more people who are suffering at home, alone, having been made to feel like economic failures.
On an inhale, raise your arms straight up above your head and bring your palms together. Bend your knees slightly, and on the exhale, hinge at your hips to fold forward, lengthening your spine the whole way down as you reach your hands for the floor. Bring either your fingertips or palms to the floor, fingers in line with your toes. Slowly straighten your legs as much as you can without straining them.
When I started the quest for the best free online yoga resources, I set some criteria to quickly narrow my search. I wanted videos that were about an hour long to mimic the length of the studio classes I was used to. I was looking for videos that were an athletic challenge but also provided good routines for relaxation. And since I was new to my yoga practice, I wanted videos that broke down the basics of every pose.
Answer: Great question! I actually struggled with this quite a bit. On the one hand, I probably could charge quite a bit more for these videos, based on their high-quality level and the depth of the content. The truth is that we want as many people to benefit from them as possible. That’s why I’m keeping the price low. For the price of a book, you can have over 5 hours of gentle yoga for seniors videos.
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)
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:
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.
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.
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.
Stressed out. Tense. Crazed. If any of these words describe you, this routine’s a godsend. You’ll gently sway and flow your way from forward folds to low lunges to splits (only if you’re up for them)—all in just 30 minutes. With breezy and serene direction, Tara Stiles gives more advanced options for those who want them, but she’s really all about finding what works best for your body in that moment. (via CosmoBody)
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)
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.
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.”
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.