Crank Up Core Strength: an athletic, dynamic routine with some arm balances that will tire you out. I think it’s best suited for someone who is already in good shape but is trying out yoga for the first time. The flow requires two blocks, which can stabilize you in poses when one hand is on the ground or help improve overall alignment. Until I got a great set of cork blocks, I used big, heavy books instead.
If you liked Erin Motz’s routine (listed above) but are craving some runner-focused R&R, this longer sequence has your name all over it. As instructor Goldie Kaufenberg mentions in her intro, this plan targets the pelvis and the body below it through gentle twisting and core work. After going through the 48-minute sequence, you’ll feel longer and more limber—the perfect complement to any endurance workout. We’re also big fans of the fact that she gives you options for the poses, walking you through the modifications you might need. (via Lululemon)
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 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. Shift the weight toward your toes. Straighten your arms and lift your chest away from your thighs to make a flat back.
We were initially pretty skeptical about the special alignment markings, thinking they might just be a gimmick — but our testers were taken with how helpful the markings were in practice. A centerline helps you maintain symmetry, while 45-degree lines and other parallel markings help you nail perfect alignment. (Lines are spaced at varied distances for taller and shorter people). Liforme explains how the markings should be used more thoroughly on its website, but we found this to be pretty intuitive for experienced testers, even if they didn’t read the instructions.
This video’s racked up more than a million views for one reason: It rocks. California-based yogi Tim Senesi kills it with this total-body vinyasa flow, which is geared for beginner to intermediate yogis (though it does include some more advanced arm-balance poses, like twisted crow). His super-specific direction makes it easy to follow and so enjoyable. (via Fightmaster Yoga)
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.
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