Review of Alignment Yoga Mats

When you start doing yoga, there is a lot of new information to take in. Remembering the names and the basic forms of the postures is first and foremost for new yogis. Your teacher can go into more detail about the alignment, but in a group class, the teacher cannot have all the students correct them in every pose. Still, alignment is very important and it is better to create good habits than to try to correct bad ones later.

Why alignment is important in yoga

So what should the conscious yoga student do? Well, there are several yoga mats on the market that try to help you establish the correct alignment for yourself.

Yoga alignment mats have markings on the surface of the mat, so they are an easy way to help you position your body correctly. When comparing brands, consider things like thickness, material, traction, size, and of course, price.

Read on to see if using one of these mats can improve your yoga practice and which one is right for you, and check out the comparison chart below for a quick overview of the relevant vital statistics.

1. Gaiam alignment mat

The first is the simplest of rugs I have ever tried. Three horizontal bands of the geometric pattern are printed on Taos, a "premium" version of Gaiam's PVC mat, which, at 5mm, is slightly thicker than the basic mat. This mat does not contain the six most harmful phthalates (6P free). The bands act as guidelines for the placement of the hands and feet. By lining up your fingers and toes with the horizontal bands, you can be sure that your left and right sides are doing the same thing.

The symmetrical design also allows you to measure the midline when setting up your poses. This design is quite simple, but it works well and is flexible enough to allow for different body sizes and styles of practice.

The original Taos mat that I tested is no longer available, but Gaiam still makes a 5mm alignment mat that is available on their website and offers the same features as the Taos mat.

2. CopyCat yoga mat

The CopyCat mat is a 6mm PVC mat, phthalate free, but its markings are much more complex than the Taos mat. A series of nine standing yoga poses are cut out in the center of the mat. The prints and hands mark the ideal position for each of these poses. The alignment guides are based on Iyengar yoga. Thus, each standing posture is illustrated with the heel of the front foot aligned with the arch of the rear foot, as if on a tightrope. While this is one way to do these poses, many beginners benefit best by adopting a wider stance.

Since bodies come in all different sizes, the user must know enough to adjust their own position relative to the guidelines as needed. While you can use it in a classroom, it is best suited for practice at home. Following the sequence of nine poses is a great way to start your daily practice. As a teaching tool, this mat works great to illustrate how the rear leg position changes in selected poses. The CopyCat rug was created by Sarah Mark, who runs this small business.

3. Yoga in figures

Another approach is the Yoga by Numbers mat, which uses an extra-wide, custom-sized version of the popular Jade Yoga mat as the base. This generously proportioned rubber mat offers great traction. The mat is printed with 28 numbered ovals, as well as horizontal and vertical hatch marks. Creator Elizabeth Morrow sees her mat as a gateway to yoga for people who want to learn the practice at home.

An accompanying DVD introduces beginners to 30 basic yoga poses, using the numbered ovals as alignment guides. The number system works well, although it is tempting to perfectly position yourself on the ovals, even if that's not the ideal alignment for you. It takes a little getting used to, but this mat is adaptable enough for both beginners and more experienced students to use.

4. Liform carpet

Finally, we come to the Liform rug (pronounced "way of life"). This rug really stands out from the rest in terms of the quality of the rug itself, the elegance and flexibility of the alignment board, and the price. The rug is made of polyurethane and rubber, with a soft, absorbent surface reminiscent of the popular Lululemon "rug". A biomorphic design adorns the center of the rug, divided in half by a line running down the center. In addition, two different horizontal guides for hands and feet allow variations in the user's height.

The most attractive design element is the four diagonal lines around the center that act as guides for the feet for standing postures. Since you can place your foot anywhere along the diagonal, this design accommodates a wide variety of alignment strategies for different styles of yoga. This mat is also more suitable for an evolving practice: it offers both an advanced student and a beginner.

Enjoy Watching This Video About Yoga

Source: NinaYogaNow

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