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.

You just need to know where to start, and this article is designed to simplify your choices. I’ve waded through the mass of lesser mats to bring you what I consider the Top 10 Best Yoga Mats of 2018. This list includes mats intended for home, studio, or travel, and for each one I provide a summary -- weight, materials, where it was made --  a description of my personal experience with it, and rate 7 features from 1 to 10, using the following system:
Feeling overwhelmed? Yoga can help you take a step back from your busy schedule and find balance. A stressed-out mind often means a tense body (think: a clenched jaw, a stiff neck), so a calming yoga flow can give you a sense of relief both inside and out. Clinical therapist and yoga instructor Lauren Taus leads the way in this short but restorative flow, which is designed to give you an opportunity slow down and de-stress.
When I first started to do yoga again after several decades of inactivity, I had concerns. Was I too old for yoga to be effective? Would the extra pounds that I had picked up over the years prevent me from doing the moves properly? Was I too stiff to enjoy yoga? Would I be embarrassed to join a yoga class and be surrounded by younger people doing advanced moves? Now that I have been doing yoga for a few months, I have never felt better.

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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.
It’s best to clean your yoga mat at least once a week to prevent staining and buildup. Use water and gentle cleansers like lemon juice or dish soap, but avoid abrasive sponges. Wipe down excess moisture and let your mat dry away from direct sunlight or high temperatures, which can accelerate the breakdown of natural materials like rubber. When in doubt, check your mat manufacturer’s care guidelines.
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.
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)
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.
Feeling overwhelmed? Yoga can help you take a step back from your busy schedule and find balance. A stressed-out mind often means a tense body (think: a clenched jaw, a stiff neck), so a calming yoga flow can give you a sense of relief both inside and out. Clinical therapist and yoga instructor Lauren Taus leads the way in this short but restorative flow, which is designed to give you an opportunity slow down and de-stress.
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