True yogis not only practice asanas (postures) on their mat, they all have a strong spiritual practice. Ahimsa, a Sanskrit word meaning "non-injury" or "non-violence," is a deeply important focus for many yogis. Aside from living a peaceful life and eating a vegan diet (which many yogis choose to do), choosing products that protect the Earth is another way to carry out ahimsa. From wicking undies, to leggings, to yoga blocks, click through to find out which yoga gear is made with sustainable fabrics and materials so you can feel even better when hopping on your mat.
I'm not taking Bikram, but lately my teacher has been turning the temperature way up in my yoga class. The higher temp, the more I sweat. Besides not wanting to look like a drippy mess in class, the extra perspiration makes it hard to stay put on even the best of mats. After nearly slipping onto my face during Downward Dog, I knew that it was time to invest in a good towel. Enter the Manduka eQua Mat Towel ($40).
It's a lot of money to spend on a towel, but it's the only one that really works for my practice. Standard towels are rough on my skin, don't dry fast enough, and move around and bunch up on my mat. They also don't offer great traction when a little damp. My Manduka towel is the exact opposite: the texture reminds me of a car chamois because of its soft suede-like texture, and it performs like one too! It dries immediately after using it, stays put on my mat, and has a slight traction to it that stands up to dampness. Major win.
Since I've been studying the basics of yoga, I've been in the market for a yoga mat to call my own. While I have an old one that I bought while trying out yoga for the first time, I know it's time to invest in a durable mat that I can use for many years. So I've rounded up five popular mats that have graced the floors of countless studios across the world. Click through to see if your favorite one is included, and at the end vote on which one you think is the best!
Here's an excerpt of what OnSugar blogger Tom Le from yoga off the mat has to say about the money-making side of the yoga industry.
Recently a friend of mine forwarded a recent New York Times article called A Yoga Manifesto. You can read it yourself, but I can sum it up for you by saying that it's about the commodification of the yoga industry and how a few grassroots pioneers are opening studios that move away from that idea.
I can't help but support the new wave of non-capitalistic yoga. I practiced with Rusty Wells for many years, and his new studio in the Mission, Urban Flow, is a great example of how a studio can be about YOGA . . . and nothing else (well, except a big fat yoga scene).
However, I thought long and hard about this article and have to play devil's advocate for a bit. There are two sides to every story, of course. And, as most of my friends will tell you, I am very opinionated!
The article talked about how yoga has become big business. A 2008 poll commissioned by Yoga Journal magazine concluded that yoga is now a $5.7 billion dollar industry (which, for those of you cynics, means millions of jobs have been created in the yoga industry).
The article also shed a negative light on Lululemon (a successful company that makes high-end yoga clothes), Manduka (manufacturer of a high-end yoga mat that costs about $100), yoga studios that charge $20 per class, and well-known "celebrity " teachers like Rodney Yee, Baron Baptiste, David Life, and Sharon Gannon.
To find out Tom's response to the NYT article and what he really thinks of Lululemon, high-priced yoga studios, and Manduka, check out yoga off the mat. And why not start your own OnSugar blog? Your posts could be featured here on FitSugar.
If you are a fashion addict, then no doubt you are already a fan of Gilt Groupe, which sells designer duds at way cheaper prices through its two websites, Gilt and Gilt Fuse. Much like collective-buying sites, the sales last for a limited time. The savings are pretty amazing, and starting this Friday, Gilt will be running a fitness-themed sales event called Get Fit With Gilt.
Among other things, the sale will feature tracksuits from Y-3 Adidas, yoga wear from Be Present, Manduka mats, and shoes from New Balance. Besides clothing, Gilt will also offer discounted rates to Crunch, Pure Yoga in NYC, and race slots and all-inclusive packages to the Iron Girl Triathlon in Atlanta, Syracuse, and Lake Tahoe.
I know I sound a bit like a PR agent, but I'm a big fan of Gilt and saving money — especially when it comes to fitness. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the fitness items will go on sale Friday at 12 p.m. EDT and end on Sunday evening, and everything is on a first-come, first-served basis. Happy shopping!
When it comes to yoga mats, Manduka is hands down my absolute favorite brand, and I never practice without my Black Mat PRO. It's durable, thick, and firm, and still looks exactly the same as the day I bought it. It's heavy, though, weighing in at seven pounds, and doesn't come cheap at the steep price of $85 (although it's worth every penny).
If you're looking for a thinner, lighter, and less-expensive mat, then you'll love its new eKO Lite Mat ($42). It weighs 3.5 pounds, so it travels easily, but the best part is that it's environmentally friendly. This Manduka mat is made from non-Amazon harvested, natural tree rubber. It contains no PVC or toxic plasticizers, and will leave no footprint in landfills. This mat has a wonderfully grippy surface and doesn't lose its stickiness even when I sweat. Plus, the material won't flake or disintegrate with use, so you'll have this mat for years to come. I think the mat's endurance makes it environmentally friendly as well.
There's something even more special about this green eKO Lite Mat. To find out the details read more
Since many of you will be traveling this Thanksgiving, and eating tons of yummy food, I'm sure you don't want to abandon your exercise routine completely on that long weekend. If I go on a trip, I always bring a mat along so I can do some yoga stretches or some of my favorite Pilates moves.
I'd bring along my Manduka Black Mat if I could since it's the best mat ever, but it's way too heavy to stuff in my suitcase (it weighs 7 lbs.). So that's why I also own a PurpleLite Travel Mat. This mat weighs only 4 lbs., so it's much easier to travel with. It's made by Manduka so you know it's constructed out of the same dense material as the Black Mat. The PROLite Mat is slightly thinner, but it's still extremely cushiony and durable. I'm such a fan of Manduka Mats because I've had mine for six years and they haven't torn, pilled, or worn whatsoever. I plan on keeping these mats for life, which is good news for the environment.
Are you looking for the world's best yoga mat? One that isn't too slippery, is thick and dense enough to cushion your bones, and will last a lifetime? Well, I have found it. The Manduka Black Mat is my absolute favorite mat ever. I've had mine for over six years and it looks exactly the same as the day I bought it.
This 7-pound mat is made of extremely durable material that won't tear, wear, or pill unlike thinner yoga mats. That means the Manduka mat will be the only mat you'll ever have to buy. In speak that would fall under the category of "reduce."
The surface it slightly textured on the bottom so it won't slip on the floor, and the upper surface provides traction. If you are an extreme sweater, you may want to purchase a cotton rug or a Yogitoes skidless towel to place on the mat to absorb your perspiration.
Fit's Tips: This is seriously one of the best purchases I've ever made, but I didn't fall in love with my Black Mat right away. This mat, like all mats, takes some breaking in. The surface may be a bit slippery at first, so if that's the case, rinse it with warm water and a sponge. Also, practicing on it is the bet way to break it in. It may take 10 or more classes, but it'll lose its slickness and be well worth your money and effort. Plus, talk about motivation. You can talk yourself into doing some yoga just to break in your mat!
If you have a thick yoga or Pilates mat like the Manduka Mat, you know that it's tough to find a mat bag that can hold it and a bunch of other stuff. If you are going to a class right after work, you need room for your exercise clothes, post-workout clothes, a water bottle, snacks, your phone, and maybe sneaker or post-workout shoes. Who wants to carry around a mat bag and a separate bag for all your stuff? I found just the thing to solve your mat woes.
I'm in love with this Gravis Yoga Bag - it even comes with a mat. The sleeve on the side can fit any size mat or rug, and there is an exterior pop-out water bottle pocket for easy access. The large compartment has a handle attached to the 2 zippers so when you open it up, you can see all your stuff and get to it easily. There's also an interior key clip so you won't have to fish around for an hour trying to find your keys.
The best part is the 2 handles. It makes it look more like a cute purse than a hefty gym bag. It comes in Grey (shown), Black, or Cork, and for $39.95, this Gravis bag is quite a steal.
When I teach a yoga or Pilates class, many of my students complain that they're in pain. No, it's not their muscles burning from working too hard - it's their poor bones that dig into the ground. Ouch!
Regular mats are fairly thin, and offer no cushion for your bones when they're pressing into the mat. Some mats are thick but too cushy, and your body parts end up sinking into them - not so good for balancing poses.
I've found the Queen of Mats - Manduka. The Black Mat is my absolute fave. It's thicker than regular mats, but it's also dense, which is what sets it apart. That firmness makes this mat ideal for any postures - even headstand.
This mat cushions your spine, hip bones, knees, elbows, and feet without you having to fold it in half (like other mats). The Black Mat is a bit expensive, $79.50, but completely worth it because this will be the last mat you'll ever need to buy. You can buy them in 2 lengths - 71" or 85" if you're a tall yogini.
Fit's Tips: This mat is also heavier than typical mats, weighing 7 lbs, so if you want a firm mat that's a bit lighter for when you go on those yoga retreats, check out the PurpleLite Travel Mat. It weighs 4 lbs, is $57, yet is still durable enough to last a lifetime.