Monogrammed Yoga Mat Review

best monogrammed yoga mat review

One of the best things about practising yoga is having a mat that represents you, so that every time you feel completely at home every time you step on it in the morning. If you’re looking for a new mat then you should consider buying RNK Shop’s monogrammed yoga mat. Read more about it below!

RNK Monogrammed Yoga Mat (Link)

RNK monogrammed yoga mat

How to Customize It

When you place your order on Amazon you’ll receive an Email that will detail how you can customize your yoga mat. There are all kinds of things that you can customize with this yoga mat; more specifically, you can customize the colour, the ribbon, the initials, name, fonts, etc.

When you’re practising, you deserve to have a mat that reflects your own personality, your style, and the essence of your home. There’s truly no better way to practise yoga than this, because it allows you to be yourself, fully and completely.

How It’s Made

With this yoga mat, RNK Shop has created a very Eco-friendly alternative to the traditional yoga mat. This is because the mat is used with dyes which are not solvents; therefore, they do not cause as much pollution during the manufacturing process of the mat, nor the runoff which is caused by the manufacturing of the yoga mat. It has a non-slip surface, which will aid you in gripping the mat while you’re practising your yoga routine. This is especially important because you’ll have the ability to get the most out of your routine by delving deeper into each asana, otherwise known as pose. Because they’re extra long, you won’t find yourself with your hands on your mat and your feet on the ground, or vice versa; instead, you’ll be able to use the entire yoga mat to go through your practise. At 1.4” thick, you’re provided with the perfect balance between comfort and strength. You’ll have the opportunity to strengthen yourself and to find your grounding with the floor beneath you and stress will be taken off your joints because less force will be going into them to remain steady and strong.

The Benefits

It’s creative. Yoga, itself, aids in promoting creativity and prosperity in your life because you constantly have to change from pose to pose and think of variations that will match your level of flexibility. With this yoga mat, you can fully express that creativity by customizing it.

It’s cheap. So many yoga mats out there are hundreds of dollars, if not more. That being said, the RNK yoga mat is relatively cheap on Amazon. At only seventy dollars, you can do a lot worse for the money. And the truly amazing part is that you don’t have to worry about sacrificing your own needs or quality for the price of a product.

Conclusion

This yoga mat is a must-have for every yogi. At the very least, everyone should have a mat that they can be themselves on. With RNK’s mat, you can customize yours so that you can show off your own style at your next class!

10 Most Common Questions and Concerns for Yoga Beginners

top questions yoga beginners

Starting a yoga practice can quite often be intimidating for many first-timers.  Most people seem to believe that they should be able to bend like Gumby before they even take their first class.  Others have absolutely no idea what to expect.  In an effort to help dispel some of these myths, and shed some light on the intricacies of yoga, we’ve compiled a list of the ten most common questions and concerns for yoga beginners.

1. I’m not flexible enough to do yoga.

This is probably one of the most common concerns for beginner yogis, however, it is important to reiterate that you don’t need to be a flexi-straw in order to begin a yoga practice!  In fact, the desire for increased flexibility is one of the main reasons many people decide to start yoga in the first place.  A lot of people do come by their flexibility naturally, but for many yogis, it takes much time and dedication to get to that point.  We all have to start somewhere and by maintaining a regular practice, you may soon notice some results in the elasticity department!

If a lack of flexibility is one of your main concerns, it might be better to start with a designated beginner’s class, rather than an open-level class which can contain beginners as well as students who are extremely advanced.  Being amongst these elite yogis can be discouraging, but try not to let it deter you.  Even if you do wind up in an open level class, remember every body is different; try not to compare yourself to others during class and you’ll be bending like an old pro in no time.

2. Why should I practice yoga?

Something the ancient yogis had all figured out is that a regular yoga practice is pretty much beneficial for everything and everybody.  Whether you are dealing with stiff and tight muscles, recovering from an injury, suffering from depression or other mental disorders, extremely stressed and/or anxious, or just looking for another form of exercise to add to your repertoire, yoga can help.  It’s just a wonderful way to move the body while also quieting the mind, which can bring on a sense of calm and relaxation that is otherwise unattainable throughout the busy workday.  There is no wrong way to practice, either; today, there are many variations of yoga offered that can really cater to your own specific needs and goals and a little experimentation with each one can put you on the right path.  Most importantly, yoga just makes you feel good.  You’ll leave class with more energy, which will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

3. What equipment do I need to practice yoga?

If you are going to a studio, all you need to bring is your mat; you should be dressed comfortably with a tighter-fitting top (due to being upside down in many poses) and regular workout pants.  Usually, the studios will have blankets, bolsters, blocks, straps, and any other tool you might possibly need to easily move through your practice.  If you are practicing at home and plan on staying at home, it would be worth it to invest in the equipment mentioned above.

4. Do I need to be vegan or vegetarian to practice yoga?

No, this is not a requirement, especially if you are just starting out.  Many serious yogis on the spiritual path choose to be vegan due to a principle called ahimsa, or non-violence.  This principle states that we must treat all living beings with respect, gratitude, and most importantly, kindness.  Therefore, it is important to avoid products made from the harmful treatment of living things because it only perpetuates the cycle of suffering.  Yogis follow this principle whilst on the path to Enlightenment (attaining enough spiritual knowledge to be freed from the cycle of rebirth).

That being said, there are certain benefits to following a vegan diet for serious practitioners; maintaining a vegan diet creates a feeling of lightness in the body, which makes certain postures, especially inversions and arm balances slightly easier to perform.  It also makes the mind “lighter,” which brings us closer to the creator (according to Yogic philosophy).  However, if you’re just starting out, nobody is going to tell you how or what to eat.  It is most important to eat for your body and in a way that makes you feel your best.  Just remember, if you encounter a teacher who pushes any agenda that you are not comfortable with, it is absolutely okay to try another class with someone new!

5. Is yoga a religion?

Yoga is not a religion, rather, it is a set of guidelines and principles meant to guide the practitioner towards Enlightenment or a higher spiritual plane.  All aspects of yoga are meant to help the student remove the veil over his/her eyes and to see the world as it really is: a place of non-judgment, non-duality, and peaceful existences.  That being said, each class and each type of yoga may vary with their levels of spirituality.  Some teachers enjoy incorporating chanting and meditation into class while others are all business, focusing solely on the exercise component of yoga.  The physical movements of yoga circulate the energy around our bodies; chanting is meant to do the same thing, and both are meant to bring us closer to our true selves.  Of course, you are not obligated to participate in any chanting or other yogic rituals should they not align with your beliefs.

6. Will the teacher single me out and/or touch me?

You will never be singled out in a yoga class, however, the yoga teacher may adjust you in certain postures, especially if you are posed in such a way that may cause injury.  If that is not something you want, you can always introduce yourself to the teacher before class, and specify that you would appreciate a hands-off approach.

7. What if I need to take a break during class?

This is absolutely fine!  You dictate and decide your own practice.  If at any point anything becomes too strenuous or uncomfortable, by all means, lay down in savasana (corpse pose) until you come back to yourself.  The teacher may come over and ask if you are alright, but other than that, you are free to take all the time you may need.

8. What type of yoga should I do?

The answer to this question really depends on what your goals are.  If you’re looking for a workout, Vinyasa yoga might be right for you.  If you have stiff and tense muscles or are just starting out, perhaps gentle yoga may be more your speed.  It may take some time before you find a yoga style and a yoga teacher that you enjoy, so try not to become discouraged if it does not work out immediately.

9. What if the people in class are better at yoga than me?

This is another major concern for many people.  It cannot be stressed enough that in yoga there is no comparison; no better than or worse than.  We are all in our own place and everybody’s bodies are different and will work in different ways.  There are people with a more advanced practice who may have been practicing for years and years, so as a beginner, it is really unfair to compare yourself to them because you are setting yourself up for disappointment.  It is easier said than done, but yoga is a time to go within and reflect.  Use your practice to see what’s going on in your own body and try to address those concerns instead of feeling jealous of the lady who is balancing on one finger, because even that lady was a beginner at one point.  We can all get there eventually with regular practice and dedication to yoga.

10. Do I have to “om” with the rest of the class?

Again, this is yoga.  Nobody is going to force you to do anything you don’t feel comfortable with.  Om is a beautiful sound, a cosmic vibration, and it has wonderful effects when you feel that vibration throughout the body.  So, even if you choose not to chant, just being in the room while the rest of the class unites in “om” is still extremely beneficial and wonderful.

Best Cheese Mat Reviews

 

The cheese (or incline) mat is a classic gymnastics staple required for most basic gymnastics practice. There are a variety of companies that produce them, but below we explore the best cheese mats for home use.

“Cheese mats” refers to the shape, and not the material. So named for their resemblance to a wedge of cheese. Called both by their cheesy nickname and by the more geometric terminology “incline” mats, this equipment is used by gymnasts during training.

Incline mates are needed to practice several middle level maneuvers. They are a staple in any gymnastics practice area, and will be used again and again. Durability and firmness are important attributes of these gymnastics basics.

We Sell Gymnastics Incline Tumbling Mat (Link)

we sell mats incline

The We Sell Dymnastics Incline Tumbling Mats come in several bright colors, and in folding and non-folding options. These mats are firm enough to support a variety of practice maneuvers, from back flips to somersaults. Easy to clean due to the vinyl material that covers them, these mats can also be lined up to other incline mats and floor mats to create even coverage of practice areas. These ramps feature velcro on the sides to hold them steady against other gymnastics accoutrements.

Generally inclines are used to transition young gymnasts from floor work to aerial and balance routines. This particular mat is ideal for young gymnasts who are just beginning or transitioning to mid level practice. The company suggests that children no older than 5 years of age use them for gymnastics practice. That being said, the mats do come in four sizes, so you can choose the best one to fit the area being put aside for gymnastics practice.

These mats can vary widely in price. Available from around $90 all the way up to $900, they have solid reviews and can withstand the test of time. Unfortunately, their small size means many children outgrow them. Still, many think they are well worth the investment for the support they offer younger gymnasts during their formative years.

Greatgymats Incline Gymnastics Mat (Link)

greatgymats large incline cheese mat

The Greatgymats Incline Mat features a lot of benefits that are similar to its peers. This mat is easy to clean, thanks to its vinyl covering, comes in bright color combinations, and is able to fold for easy storage. However, it is definitely designed more for adjustable practice areas than other incline options. Encouraged for gymnastics and martial art and yoga practice, this mat folds in half for easier storage. It also features side handles so that dragging it out of the way is more simple.

This mat does not offer the firmness that the We Sell Gymnastics mat has due to its bifold design. For storing, the fold sits in the middle of the incline and can signfinificantly weaken the surface if not firmly anchored in place. However, it is comparable in price. The Greatgymats is more easily stored in between practices and retails for under $400 for the most expensive option. This incline mat will also work well for children of a wider age range than the previously discussed cheese mat.

Tumbl Trak Cheese Mat (Link)

tumbl trak cheese mat

Another bifold mat, the Tumbl Trak Cheese Mat has the same features as other incline mats of this type, with the exception of sturdier connections for harder practice. While inclines are effective on their own for practicing mid level gymnastics, it is important to combine them with other mats for full coverage and routine practice opportunities. The Tumble Trak features velcro with a heavier vinyl flap for safe adherence to other mats.

Committed to versatility, this incline is losi designed to fit neatly into a cube shape. This makes it convenient for storage and a variety of practices. Unlike the other mats on this list, the Tumbl trak goes up to a size that works well for young adults. On top of this, it retails for the lowest average price of the models reviewed here.

Conclusions

These three cheese mats are covered in grippy vinyl and offer heavy duty foam core support, but are sized significantly differently. If looking for a mat that is easily stored, it may be beneficial to invest in smaller mats. However, the best cheese mats for you may be one that allows young gymnasts to grow into them as they age.

Also keep in mind the potential for evolving practice and the need for different types of mats and equipment. While cheese mats are a safe basic, their ability to pair with more complex gymnastics gear may make or break the right mat for you.

Best Cheese Mat Reviews

 

The cheese (or incline) mat is a classic gymnastics staple required for most basic gymnastics practice. There are a variety of companies that produce them, but below we explore the best cheese mats for home use.

“Cheese mats” refers to the shape, and not the material. So named for their resemblance to a wedge of cheese. Called both by their cheesy nickname and by the more geometric terminology “incline” mats, this equipment is used by gymnasts during training.

Incline mates are needed to practice several middle level maneuvers. They are a staple in any gymnastics practice area, and will be used again and again. Durability and firmness are important attributes of these gymnastics basics.

We Sell Gymnastics Incline Tumbling Mat (Link)

we sell mats incline

The We Sell Dymnastics Incline Tumbling Mats come in several bright colors, and in folding and non-folding options. These mats are firm enough to support a variety of practice maneuvers, from back flips to somersaults. Easy to clean due to the vinyl material that covers them, these mats can also be lined up to other incline mats and floor mats to create even coverage of practice areas. These ramps feature velcro on the sides to hold them steady against other gymnastics accoutrements.

Generally inclines are used to transition young gymnasts from floor work to aerial and balance routines. This particular mat is ideal for young gymnasts who are just beginning or transitioning to mid level practice. The company suggests that children no older than 5 years of age use them for gymnastics practice. That being said, the mats do come in four sizes, so you can choose the best one to fit the area being put aside for gymnastics practice.

These mats can vary widely in price. Available from around $90 all the way up to $900, they have solid reviews and can withstand the test of time. Unfortunately, their small size means many children outgrow them. Still, many think they are well worth the investment for the support they offer younger gymnasts during their formative years.

Greatgymats Incline Gymnastics Mat (Link)

greatgymats large incline cheese mat

The Greatgymats Incline Mat features a lot of benefits that are similar to its peers. This mat is easy to clean, thanks to its vinyl covering, comes in bright color combinations, and is able to fold for easy storage. However, it is definitely designed more for adjustable practice areas than other incline options. Encouraged for gymnastics and martial art and yoga practice, this mat folds in half for easier storage. It also features side handles so that dragging it out of the way is more simple.

This mat does not offer the firmness that the We Sell Gymnastics mat has due to its bifold design. For storing, the fold sits in the middle of the incline and can signfinificantly weaken the surface if not firmly anchored in place. However, it is comparable in price. The Greatgymats is more easily stored in between practices and retails for under $400 for the most expensive option. This incline mat will also work well for children of a wider age range than the previously discussed cheese mat.

Tumbl Trak Cheese Mat (Link)

tumbl trak cheese mat

Another bifold mat, the Tumbl Trak Cheese Mat has the same features as other incline mats of this type, with the exception of sturdier connections for harder practice. While inclines are effective on their own for practicing mid level gymnastics, it is important to combine them with other mats for full coverage and routine practice opportunities. The Tumble Trak features velcro with a heavier vinyl flap for safe adherence to other mats.

Committed to versatility, this incline is losi designed to fit neatly into a cube shape. This makes it convenient for storage and a variety of practices. Unlike the other mats on this list, the Tumbl trak goes up to a size that works well for young adults. On top of this, it retails for the lowest average price of the models reviewed here.

Conclusions

These three cheese mats are covered in grippy vinyl and offer heavy duty foam core support, but are sized significantly differently. If looking for a mat that is easily stored, it may be beneficial to invest in smaller mats. However, the best cheese mats for you may be one that allows young gymnasts to grow into them as they age.

Also keep in mind the potential for evolving practice and the need for different types of mats and equipment. While cheese mats are a safe basic, their ability to pair with more complex gymnastics gear may make or break the right mat for you.

Best Yoga Knee Pads

best yoga knee pad reviews

While yoga can provide well-rounded exercise or supplement a full regiment, it is also hard on the joints. Below we explore a variety of options for extra yoga support with the best yoga knee pads.

Not meant to be used on their own, yoga knee and joint pads complement the cushioning provided by traditional mats. While they are meant to provide extra cushion, it is important to keep in mind that too much cushion can cause more problems later on. Pay attention to density when picking out a mat to assist with joint pain to ensure support as well as comfort.

Unlike full sized mats, the small area covered by these pads means that slip is less of a concern. While grip and the texture of the materials should still be paid attention to, these pads are meant to stabilize long term practice and aid in sitting in place more than ensure transitions. A good basic mat will still be needed with these practice.

Sukha Mat Yoga Knee Pad (Link)

sukha mat yoga knee pads

The Sukha Mat Yoga Knee Pad, though named for one joint, supports them all. This support mat can be rolled up with the base rectangular equipment for easy transportation. While useful as a firm layer to cushion joints while practicing stationary poses, this Sukha mat can be used to extend mats and cushion your head during resting.

This knee pad comes in a variety of cool colors and made of versatile foam that is also biodegradable. This pad has a mid-range price around $20. It is admittedly on the lower end of pads of this type, and does not offer the firmness of other options.

RatPad Eco-foam Yoga Knee Pad (Link)

ratpad yoga knee pad

An even cheaper mat, the RatPad is exceptionally light a colorful. This pad is a simple addition to yoga practice. Its oval shape allows for better versatility when practicing several different poses. It has a lot of cushion, but the size is much smaller so two will be needed for supporting two joints like both knees.

The Ratpad is also good for protecting other problem areas during regular exercise. Even when used without a mat, this pad will cushion the lower back or elbows from hard floors. Each one sells for a bit over $10, which is reasonable.

ADiPROD Thick Sponge Climbing Sports Riding Protector Protection (Link)

adiprod knee pads

Though not specifically designed for yoga, the ADiPROD is a great choice for a variety of exercises and yoga practice that requires the versatility to shift poses smoothly. These pads are worn rather than lain on top of a mat. While they will not cushion against something as high impact as falling, they are excellent for coming into contact with hard surfaces.

The ADiPROD is very flexible, so movement is easy. They also provide pressure around the joint to hold everything in place. This knee pad option is also extremely affordable and the cheapest in this review.

YogaJellies (Link)

yogajellies

Something different than the traditional foam of usual yoga gear, YogaJellies are made of silicon. This offers a high level of stick for joint support that does not slip. These discs can be used with a mat for knee or wrist support when practicing a variety of poses. However, using them will require smart placement. Their small size means they have to be adjusted or placed with exactness every time their extra support is needed.

Being silicon and not foam, these pads are quite dense.

YogaJellies come in a wide variety of colors. They are on the more expensive end of joint support at around $50.

Yilo Warrior (Link)

yilo warrior foam yoga pad

A thick but forgiving mat, the Yilo Warrior comes in a longer strip so that it can be placed generally during practice without too much movement needed. This mat offers an inch of gripping polymer support. This mat will not slide on hard surfaces or when layered atop other foam mats.

While it can be rolled for storage, it will have to be moved and stored separated from your regular mat due to its thickness. One downside is that the foam of this pad has a strong odor. Though it should dissipate after unrolling and airing out, the smell may turn some users off from using it for a few practices. This mat is somewhat pricey but high quality.

Five Steps to Choosing the Right Yoga Class

how to choose a yoga class

 1. Understand your own personal goals and motives for wanting to try yoga.

While most practitioners come to yoga with the goal of de-stressing and relaxing, that is not the case for everyone.  Today, yoga is being recognized for its amazing and powerful healing benefits.  It seems as though there is not one condition that the practice of yoga cannot at least alleviate in some way.  But because of this, before you choose a yoga class, you should sit down and really think about what it is you would like to achieve with yoga.  Are you recovering from an injury or fighting a disease?  Are you interested in meditation, spirituality, or Yogic philosophy?  Or are you just interested in adding another type of workout to your fitness regimen?  Maybe it’s a combination of all three. Whatever your reasoning, keep it in mind because it will be important when determining what type of yoga may be best for you.

2. Choose your preferred yoga style.

With so many yoga class options out there today, one could go insane trying to decide which ones to try!  Though the postures in each style are all essentially the same, the sequence, speed, and temperature of each style varies.

Here is a basic rundown of the different styles of yoga:

Hatha Yoga: Hatha yoga is a slower, more meditative type of yoga that focuses on moving the breath and building heat and prana (life force energy) in the body by holding the poses for several beats before moving.  This class is best for someone who is looking to quiet the mind and get more meditative in their practice.

Vinyasa Yoga: Vinyasa yoga focuses on dynamic movement and flow sequences.  The poses are not held for very long at all; in fact, the classes usually move pretty quickly and you will definitely feel an increase in your heart rate.  Vinyasa yoga is best for people who are really looking to get a workout in their yoga class.  Typically, runners, HIIT trainers, and other high intensity exercisers can be found in a vinyasa class.

Ashtanga Yoga: Ashtanga yoga consists of six series of yoga poses that are performed in the same order in every class.  Each pose is specifically sequenced to build heat in the body.

Bikram Yoga: Bikram yoga is a type of yoga which focuses on the same 26 postures in every class, similar to Ashtanga yoga.  The postures are practiced in a room that is heated to about 105 degrees Fahrenheit and 40% humidity in an effort to clear toxins from the body.  This type of yoga can get pretty intense and it’s pretty common for first time practitioners to become dizzy during the class, so remember to stay hydrated and to take breaks when you feel like you need to.  It’s best to practice this type of yoga if you don’t mind extreme temperatures, and if you are new to yoga because the classes are open level and easy to follow given that it is the same sequence every time.

Yin Yoga: Yin yoga is an extremely slow, extremely gentle type of yoga.  Each pose is held for a few minutes and uses props to fully support the body so that you can release into the pose without tension.  Yin yoga promotes lengthening, elasticity and stretching of the muscles.  This class is best for people who may be stiff and need to stretch out all the muscles.

Restorative Yoga: This type of yoga is essentially like taking a nap, but its benefits are so wonderful.  In each pose, the body is fully supported by blocks, blankets, and bolsters to encourage complete relaxation of the physical and mental aspects of your being.  You’ll hold each pose for a long while as the nervous system relaxes completely.  This type of yoga is best for everyone!

Iyengar Yoga: In this type of yoga, alignment, precision, and detail are the focus.  You’ll use a lot of props and hold the poses for a longer period of time.  This class is best for people who are very detail-oriented and who may be fascinated with human anatomy and movement.  It is also very beneficial for people who may be recovering from injuries (though, as always, it is important to check with a physician before beginning any type of exercise regiment).

Kundalini Yoga: The goal of Kundalini yoga is to release the Kundalini energy, which is the energy coiled at the base of our spines.  Once that energy is released, it is said that the practitioner can reach a higher level of self-consciousness, perhaps bringing him/her in closer contact with the divine.  In a Kundalini class, there is more chanting, kriyas (a series of postures, breath, and sound), and meditation.  This type of yoga is best for those who are looking to learn more about or increase their own spiritual practice.

Chair Yoga: Chair yoga is a system which adapts the postures to a chair for people who have mobility issues, are wheelchair bound, or simply have a hard time getting down on the floor.

3. Determine Your Ability Level

Beginner: Being a beginner at yoga simply means that you have never practiced, or are very new to practicing.  You might not know the postures by name and will still probably need help with alignment in class.  If you are a beginner, you may want to stick with beginner (or level 1) classes.

Intermediate: As an intermediate student, you have a working knowledge of yoga.  You recognize some of the postures by name and are familiar with alignment and modifications.  You may be working on nailing your inversions and arm balances at this stage.  If you are intermediate, you may still find comfort in going back to a level 1 class every now and again, but for the most part, you may be practicing in a level 2 class.

Advanced: As an advanced yogi, you are very familiar with yoga and have a solid foundational practice.  You can flow through a class easily just by listening to the instructor and you feel secure when going up into your headstand or forearm stand.  Advanced practitioners would do best in a level 3 class.

Of course, all types of practitioners may also attend an open level class.

4. Find a local studio that aligns with your goals/ideas & budget

Most towns have at least one place to practice yoga now-a-days, but in the big city or places where there are many options, how do you determine which studio is the right studio?  Well, as a fair warning, you may need to start by trying a few different classes in different locations and at different times before you find the right one for you; you can try a spiritual yoga studio, a gym, or a community center.  Each place has a different vibe and different benefits, so it’s important to keep your goals in mind as you search for the place that you can best achieve them.

A few things to keep in mind when looking for a new studio are: 1- the class times.  Don’t let a packed out class deter you from practicing.  Most studios/yoga facilities get packed in the hours after work (6:00PM-7:30PM).  If that’s not appealing to you, you can try a morning or mid-afternoon class; 2- equipment.  If you don’t own any yoga equipment, you may want to find a facility that does.  Most yoga studios and gyms have yoga mats available to rent for $2 or $3; they will usually also supply blocks, bolsters, and any other props you may need.  However, some of them do not offer equipment, and as  a practitioner, you must decide if you are willing to invest in it.

5. Find an instructor

Next, and perhaps the most important part of choosing a yoga class is finding the right instructor for you.  You may want to be aware of their teaching style: are they mostly verbal or do they do a lot of hands-on adjusting?  Which one do you feel more comfortable with?  If you’re going to a studio, keep trying all of the different instructors.  If your budget allows, try private and group glasses; private classes have a much different dynamic than group.  An instructor you  might not enjoy as a group teacher may have much more to offer you as a private client.

Though each instructor is amazing in their own right, there are a few things they should never do.  For instance, a teacher should never be too pushy.  You are aware of your own body and its limits, and it is not another person’s right to push you past that.  If you find an instructor is being too pushy, stand your ground.  If you feel very uncomfortable, you may totally leave early.  They should, however, make you feel safe and supported.  They should offer different variations and/or modifications for each pose to make it accessible for all students in the class, and they should make you feel welcome by encouraging you to do your best and follow along.

Remember, when choosing a class, the most important thing is that you learn a lot, and that you start working towards the goals you had originally set for yourself.  The beautiful thing about group teaching is that in a class of 30 people, there can be 30 different outcomes. Everyone is different, and yoga really is an individualized practice, so it’s important to put your needs ahead of anyone else’s.

Best Yoga Mat Brands

best yoga mat brands

When choosing a yoga equipment, the brand can be as important as the materials used. There are many producers of yoga gear out there! Below we explore the best yoga mat brands.

Not all yoga mats are created equally. Similarly, not all brands create the same product or offer the a high level of customer service. A good yoga mat brand should supply a quality product, great value, and solid core values.

Manduka

Buy Manduka Yoga Mats Here

Manduka mats are constructed from natural and renewable resources. The idea behind them is simplicity and solid design. They are designed to endure use over a long period of time. In a market flooded with cheap PVC mats, it’s rare to talk about craftsmanship when discussing yoga equipment, but the creations of the ex-architect that founded this company definitely fit the bill.

Since its start in 1997, Manduka has expanded to offer a variety of yoga essentials and accessories. These include mats, towels, and well-made props, as well as clothing and options for transporting everything needed to the next practice site.

The founder is a practitioner themselves, and the name was inspired by their yoga practice. Manduka is named for the frog pose in yoga, and the mats put out by the company are meant to last longer, therefore cutting down on the need for a replacement.

Manduka also partners with charities to fund positive change through donation-based events. Some of these are yoga events available locally and others are online classes. This initiative is called Project:OM. One of the best yoga mat brands available, Manduka pairs excellent products with a strong community to produce a positive yoga experience for their customers.

Clever Yoga

Buy Clever Yoga Mats Here

Clever Yoga’s mats are made from natural rubber. The company prides itself on using ecologically sound and biodegradable materials. It is one of the best yoga mat brands for the eco conscious, offering the basics, along with accessories needed to practice more advanced yoga, such as balance pads and blocks.

This brand was founded in 2014 by a marathon runner who began using yoga to reinforce her ailing joints. The brand grew from its founder’s understanding of what yoga practitioners want from their equipment. Clever Yoga creates well made equipment for practicing yoga, with an excellent warranty. The company is run by practitioners who are interested in producing effective yoga experiences for users of all levels.

In 2016, the company was featured by Yoga Journal as the producers of some of the best props and accessories for improving practice. Clever Yoga offers an individual seven piece set that includes everything needed for those beginning or advancing their yoga journey.

Jade Yoga

Buy Jade Yoga Mats Here

Jade Yoga focuses on the earth with its products, while also offering yoga mats that don’t slip. The company began in 2000 to solve the problem of the slippery yoga mat. Since then, it has been producing mats made from natural rubber and other products. Its line includes basics like yoga towels and mats, alongside blocks and accessories.

The company was founded by the grandson of the creator of a rug pad company, and uses the same materials. This means they came from two generations of familiarity with the materials. On top of eco friendly values, Jade Yoga plants a tree for every yoga mat sold through their partnership with Trees for the Future.

Jade Yoga mats are also made in the United States, and the company strives to help raise money for U.S. based organizations that would benefit from their patronage. Jade is an ethical and eco conscious company with a solid track record with their products.

Hugger Mugger

Buy Hugger Mugger Yoga Mats Here

Hugger Mugger, founded by furniture craftswoman Sara Chambers, began with the invention of a better strap for yoga. From there the company grew to importing European made sticky mats, and since then has been providing well-designed mats and equipment that are free of toxins and sourced in the United States.

Famous for their Tapas mat, Hugger Mugger has made a name for itself creating improved yoga gear with promised quality. They also value a high level of customer service and an excellent work environment, making them one of the more ethical companies out there.

On top of its ethical practices, Hugger Mugger donates a portion of its sales to a new charity every quarter. They also list previous charities on their website, so the opportunity to give does not go away after the quarter ends.

Best gymnastics mat reviews

best gymnatics mats reviews

The best gymnastics mats for home practice combine convenience with safety. There are lots of options out there, but this list contains some of the best ones.

Picking out a gymnastics mat for home use can be overwhelming. When looking at the options, pay attention to how much cushioning they provide and what materials are used. Also think about whether or not you want a permanent practice space, where the mat can be left out. Otherwise, storing your mat is required.

These mats should serve at home or in class, though the list is specialized toward using them to get the hang of gymnastics at home. This is because transporting these mats between classes and home can be cumbersome. Gymnastics mats are heavy due to the padding, which is meant to provide cushioning for safe falls. The weight also prevents them from slipping out from underneath the gymnast. Also, in between classes it is important to have a dedicated to practice space for repeating movements.

Best Overall Gymnastics Mat

best gymnastics mats

We Sell Mats (Amazon link) offers the best multipurpose mat. These mats come in vibrant colors and are optimized for use in a variety of activities. Beyond gymnastics, they can be used for other high-impact sports such as parkour and martial arts. These mats are easily combined to cover larger practice areas thanks to strips of velcro located on all four sides. This feature makes them ideal for use during intense cardio workouts or lower impact exercises such as pilates or practicing yoga.

The mats are stuffed with polyethylene foam, giving them plenty of cushion to protect joints. The vinyl covering makes any necessary cleanup easy, and is resistant to puncturing and mold buildup. If not being used in a permanent exercise area, this mat can be folded up and stored.

This mat varies from around $80 per section to $150. The mat comes in a variety of solid and two toned hues. For your convenience, it also comes in different dimensions and thicknesses. One thing to keep in mind is that while having several hooked together will eliminate the fear of the mat slipping on the floor, it will still require some care as the vinyl covering is not absorbent and is prone to pooling after use.

Best Cheap Gymnastics Mat

best cheap gymnastics mat

The largest benefit of the Giantex Mat (Amazon link) is that it is affordable, retailing for less than $40. This is not the only benefit of this easily portable mat. Its design includes handles for mobility and velcro on two sides to combine with other mats.

In use, the mat can be very hard, but it does provide enough cushioning for children’s tumbling and dance exercises. This gymnastics mat is also suggested for low impact exercises that are done on the floor. Like other mats, it can be conveniently folded to be stacked for storage when not in use.

For use by adults or older children, it is suggested that two are purchased. This mat retails for between $30 and $35, depending on what color is desired.

Best gymnastics mat for cartwheels

best gymnastics mat for cartwheels

The Z-Athletic Gymnastics Training Mat (Amazon link) is the best one for practicing cartwheels. This is a child’s sized mat, so it is very small. However, it does include instructions for how to do one of the most basic gymnastic moves right on the mat. On one side, the mat features hand and footprints for an optimized cartwheel. The other side features a straight line that can be used to practice balance beam techniques.

The mat is also easily cleaned up before and after practice, thanks to the heavy duty vinyl cover. After being unpacked, the mat may have a plastic smell until it is aired out. It also has to be folded for storage, but is without guidelines for this. This gymnastics practice option is best used in spaces dedicated to gymnastics practice, rather than stored between practice sessions. Another option is pushing it under a piece of furniture, such as a couch, so that it can remain flat.

This mat is a midrange one, priced in the mid $50s or so, depending on sales and stock.

When shopping for the best gymnastics mats, pay attention to how much protection is offered for tumbling around. Unlike pilates or yoga mats, these must be able to cushion a landing, and not just your joints. Another thing to keep in mind is how easily cleaned they are, and whether or not storing them in between working on gymnastics techniques is needed.

Best cat print yoga mats

best cat print yoga mat reviews

Everyone deserves a yoga mat which suits their personality. Whether you’re a serious cat enthusiast or you just want to pay tribute to your beloved animal, you should have a yoga mat that you love and enjoy to practice on every single day. Below, you can read about the best three cat print yoga mats for you and your home.

The Bolder Mat Company’s Yoga Mat (Amazon link)

best cat print yoga mat

Perhaps one of the greatest perks to buying this yoga mat is that you know it’s made with careful consideration of the environment. It’s latex free; therefore, your own safety is taken into account because a countless number of people have allergies to latex and there are some people who’s sin is simply resistant to it. This yoga mat is also free of heavy metals; therefore, the production of the yoga mat will not cause the runoff of heavy metals to pollute the world’s oceans and water systems.

The mat has a perfect combination of thickness and cushion. This allows you with the perfect stability as you move from pose to pose, and it allows you to deepen your asana so that you fully benefit from it.

RNK Shops Hipster Cats Yoga Mat (Amazon link)

hipster cats yoga mat

Are you a cat lady and proud of it? Well, you’re in luck with this yoga mat. The best thing about RNK’s yoga mat is that you can customize it. Within a single day of ordering it, you’ll get an Email with a link that shows you how to customize your order. This way, you have the opportunity to use a mat that really suits you and the very essence of your home. You can even order your mat with a custom image or logo on it.

The yoga mat has a non-slip surface to ensure that you’ll stay still while practicing. There’s nothing worse than being in downward dog and feeling your hands and feet begin to slide away from you.

If you’re looking for something professional and able to be customized, you should look into buying this yoga mat.

Uneekee’s Yoga Mat (Amazon link)

kitten hearts custom printed yoga mat

This yoga mat has a combination of cat and heart designs that are optimal for anyone with an intense love for cats. Made in the USA, you can also have the confidence of supporting the US economy when you’re doing yoga. It is made of a mixture of a rubber and polyblend, which provides yogis with the absolute best quality while they’re going from pose to pose.

For under a hundred dollars, it’s hard to beat this excellent yoga mat. If you’re going to spend money on anything, it might as well be something you love!

Conclusion

Do you have an intense love for yoga? Do you also have a great adoration for cats? If this is you, then you’ve come to the right place. Any cat lover should consider buying cat print yoga mats so that they can be reminded of the thing they love while they’re standing on the mat.

How to Begin a Home Yoga Meditation Practice

home yoga meditation guide

Meditation seems to be an elusive topic: often researched, seldom understood. However, it is one of the most important parts of a yoga practice. Many people are drawn to yoga for a whole litany of reasons, but they stay because they feel calmer, happier, more open, and less stressed; developing a meditation practice can increase those feelings tenfold! While yoga helps us achieve those feelings through movement of the physical body, meditation helps us care for the mind. It helps us to live presently by showing us how to separate from our thoughts, not by stopping our thoughts. It is impossible to stop the thoughts, but through meditation we can come to understand that we are not in control of them. They arise and disappear just like the ebb and flow of the ocean; for example, when you first get in the car to drive somewhere, you may start thinking of your plans for the weekend, which gets you thinking about your friends, then that one time your friend told a joke about her grandma, then about how your friend’s grandma moved to Florida, then about how you should call YOUR grandma who lives in Florida, then about grandma’s famous apple pie, then about how you should go apple picking this October, and before you know it, you’ve arrived at your destination without even knowing how you got there. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does cause us to miss out on a lot, which in turn creates feelings of stress and anxiety, and the cycle continues.

Meditation is for everybody and is one of the best natural remedies for a lot of life’s problems. If you’re thinking of starting a home meditation practice, here’s five tips to help you get started.

1. Start small and keep at it!

If you set out to meditate for 30 minutes on your first time, you most likely will not reach that goal, and that’s perfectly okay. It takes much time, effort, and practice to be able to sit for long periods of time. Reaching a state of meditation is something you must build up to, and even then, it’s more important to look at quality, not quantity. Even if you only sit down for 2 minutes a day, it’s a wonderful start. If in those two minutes, you were in a state of quiet, peaceful bliss, you’re already a meditating pro!

As you meditate more and more frequently, you’ll soon see your sessions increase in length, and you’ll see the effects of your practice in your daily life. This is why it is so important to continue your practice, no matter what!

2. Accept what is

Don’t fight yourself! The whole point of meditating is to stop that resistance between our conscious selves and our thoughts, so if you’re forcing yourself to stay seated with your eyes closed for 30 minutes OR ELSE, you are probably not going to reach a state of meditation. Instead focus on the positives! Be proud that you made the choice and followed through with your meditation practice on any particular day, even if it was not a particularly effective session. It is important to remember that meditation is not a game; there are no rules and nobody is keeping score. You are doing it for yourself to bring peace into your life, so it would be counterproductive to beat yourself up for not sticking to your own regulations.

3. Find a quiet, comfortable place

Once you feel ready to begin, find your meditation sanctuary; this can literally be anywhere that you feel safe and happy. Whether it be a specific room or area in your house, your parked car in the garage, a garden or park, or at your favorite yoga studio, your meditation sanctuary should have minimal distractions. If you like, you may sit on the floor on a pillow or folded up blanket; you can also lay down or sit in a chair if you have back pain and need the support. Make yourself feel as cozy and serene as possible because in a relaxed state, you can leave the physical body by itself and enter into meditation more easily. While not necessary, a meditation mat or zabuton can be helpful as well.

4. Choose a focal point

As mentioned above, the whole purpose of meditation is to separate yourself from your thoughts. Having a focal point serves as sort of a distraction for the brain so that you can watch your thoughts pass by but not get carried away with them. Most meditation teachers use the breath as a point of focus. The way the abdomen rises and falls with the ebb and flow of the breath, or feeling of the air moving in and out through the nostrils allows most people to anchor themselves in the present moment. Other people listen to the natural sounds of their surroundings, or they may pop on a guided meditation or some relaxing music.

Mantras are another wonderful focal point. A mantra is a word, sound, or phrase that is repeated over and over to aid in meditation. Some common mantras in yoga include “Om,” which is the sound of the cosmic vibration, or “Om Namah Sivaya,”a mantra dedicated to the Hindu deity Lord Siva. In English, its translation is “I offer to Siva a respectful invocation of His Name.” These are typically used because they are associated with the creator of the universe, and it is believed that one can be closer to the creator by aligning him/herself with them. However, mantras do not work if they do not mean something to you personally, so if you choose a mantra as your focal point, make sure it is something that has some personal significance. Mantras are recited mentally, while focusing on either the third eye (or the point between the eyebrows), or the spiritual heart (the right side of the heart).

5. Find the practice that best works for you

Being human is so wonderful because we are all so vastly different. Meditation in its traditional sense might not be working for you, but guess what? There are many other ways to meditate. When you’re in yoga class focused on yourself, your breath, and your movement, that is meditation. When you’re driving listening to your favorite music without a care in the world, that is meditation. When you’re washing the dishes and the rest of the world seems to disappear, that’s meditation. Any activity that helps you stay PRESENT and grounded in the right now is a form of meditation. And if it’s something you enjoy doing, that’s even better!