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.
Like any sport, yoga requires a specific understanding of technique. It takes focus and attention to set up a yoga pose correctly, work within the pose, and then safely move out of it. Yoga instructors typically use the term “alignment” when referring to form. Correct alignment is when your bones are stacked and stable. This prevents injury because the muscles are working with the bone structure, rather than being pulled too much in one direction or another. When the muscles and bones are in correct alignment, you can typically go deeper into the pose without fear of injury, breathe more deeply, and receive more benefits from the posture. The 15 yoga videos for beginners below will help you achieve proper alignment in each pose so you can start feeling like a yoga pro in no time.
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.
Experts say: "Jessamyn Stanley is a rising Instagram star and has gained much popularity for using yoga as a way to promote a positive body image and a positive self-esteem in ourselves. Yoga transformed Jessamyn's life by helping her overcome depression and years of body negativity. She uses Instagram and YouTube to defy the negative statements that many people have about people who are overweight, and you can often find her posing in advanced yoga postures. Viewers love Jessamyn's videos because they're very empowering — and she's creating a new and aspirational image of a 'healthy and athletic body.'" — Serena Tom, Yoga Teacher, Equinox
I bought this mat around 2 years ago when I started actively practicing. It has been through a lot with me, even a yoga teacher training! The pattern on the mat is beautiful and soothing, always gives me a good vibe when I roll the mat out. It has been a long time so it has gotten some little cracks in it, and over time it can feel thin when you need to be on the mat for an entire day. But I still love it because of the sentimental values. Now I am back to buy another one from Hugger Mugger – probably a thicker one.
The Manduka Eko yoga mat is made from non-Amazonian, all-natural tree rubber reinforced with polyester and cotton and manufactured without toxic glues or foaming agents. No toxic chemicals were used to soften the rubber either, which is rarer than you might expect. These mats have two layers that are different densities, offering a combination of spongy and firm support, and have a closed-cell surface that repels moisture. The natural rubber has good grip in dry conditions and feels nice and supportive under your body.
Calling all newbies: You don’t have to head to a studio to learn the basics. Just follow along with Kino MacGregor in this video. In just 12 minutes, you’ll get the low-down on controlling the breath, sun salutations, and more. We love that MacGregor explains both the purpose and the benefits of each pose, all while moving through a simple yet strengthening flow. (via BeFit)
What it is: YogaGlo is a subscription-based yoga studio that offers group classes that vary from five minutes to 120 minutes. There are over 3,500 classes, taught by over 30 teachers. Interestingly, they also have a physical studio in Santa Monica, California, where all of their classes are filmed. They also have an app, so you can take classes offline.
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.
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.
Beyond Yoga Essential Long Legging: "These pants are by far my FAVORITE yoga pants. I think I own maybe 7-10 pairs of just the "Essential" legging, and many pairs of other styles/colors. The fabric is to die for. They don't feel like your typical yoga pant, and you'll never want to take them off. They aren't just for working out. Since they don't have a side seam, they are the perfect legging to wear with a sweater/tunic. They also pass the "bend over" test...you can't see through them.