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.
Instructor Amira Freidson told us that a standard-size yoga mat is 68 inches long — just long enough for someone who’s five-foot-eight. To make sure you’re not too cramped during practice, check to see if your whole body fits on the mat while lying down with your face towards the ceiling. While there are no benefits to using a too-small mat, extra-large mats may be good for working on your flexibility: Instructor Giovanna Abraham says, “For more experienced yogis who have been practicing for 2-5 years, a longer mat would definitely be helpful — for instance, in giving them greater space to extend deeper into their poses.”
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.
About the channel: Jessamyn Stanley is a yoga instructor, a body activist, and a self-titled "fat femme" on a mission to defy stereotypes about who can do yoga. Her channel has mostly short videos on how to do poses, but she also has a couple classes and inspirational talks. She's been featured all over, from our site to Glamour to Cosmo, and for good reason: She's a total badass.
The way the capitalist economy works makes it very hard for most of us to get the basics we need to stay alive, including housing and healthcare. We are encouraged to become competitive money making bots, and we are denied the time to attend to the things that really matter, like caring for community members, mending the environment or enjoying being alive on this planet. This contradiction makes some of us anxious and/or depressed, and/or leads to addiction and untransformative social unrest.
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.
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.
Yoga and Pilates offer a safe entry point to fitness for new exercisers. Specifically, yoga is proven to improve muscle tone and flexibility, reduce stress, promote concentration, create self-awareness, and increase your range of motion. Some of the Power Systems tools and accessories that can help integrate yoga into a workout routine include yoga straps for flexibility, yoga blocks for added support during certain postures, and high quality mats for comfort and cushioning. For large classes, Power Systems has a handy multi-purpose rack that can hold all these accessories in one, easy to organize space.
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Stretching it out is the name of the game here—and that’s something both beginners and yoga pros can always use. Your instructor, Cole Chance, also gives detailed directions (including important reminders to be gentle) that help ensure you’re engaging the right muscles. After 30 minutes’ worth of hurts-so-good poses, you’ll feel more nimble and relaxed. (via Yoga TX)