When you are starting a yoga practice, many things seem complicated and foreign. Everyone around you seems to know what there are doing, while the teacher is speaking to you in another language and bending you in the opposite way your body is supposed to bend.
When I took my first yoga class, I needed to purchase my own mat, or rent one from the yoga studio. Quickly I learned that renting a mat is the least desirable option, since they can be sticky dingy, smelly and usually crawling with bacteria. Even if the studio is neat and clean, after one class of you dripping sweat all over the mat, you will know why it is more preferable to have your own mat.
I made the mistake of buying the cheapest mat I could find at target to start my yoga practice with. It was fine, for a few weeks, but soon, the abuse of a college student’s life took a toll on the mat and soon the plastic or whatever mystery material the mat was made of started to peel away. I would be left with little blue pills of material on my hands and clothing. And when I tried to wash it, the mat became slick, and I no longer was able to get a grip on downward dog.
On recommendation from my yoga teacher I went to the Gaiam website to buy a new mat. He said their products were both stylish and made with good materials. When I visited the site, I found it really easy to navigate and find what I needed. There were a lot of yoga mats to choose from, priced from $16-$30. They also sold mats in kits, where they come with a combination of water bottles, yoga blocks, straps and towels.
When I got my yoga mat, I was first disappointed because it felt as if it was very thin. My old mat was much thicker. But it was also lighter, and therefore easier to tote around. My mat was red with a Koi Fish design. I felt special since I was the only student with a red mat. When I first used the mat, the difference in thickness didn’t affect my practice, and I didn’t notice it until a particular pose where you need to balance on your hip bones. But mine are particularly boney and I feel as if this pose is uncomfortable regardless of the mat.
After about an entire semester of throwing it in the back of the trunk, shoving it in moving boxes, luggage and mailings across the country and almost never taking the time to roll my mat up properly, my mat still is in excellent shape. I have washed it a few times, and it still feels the same.
I have since bought a yoga DVD and some gym clothing from Gaiam and have also been very happy with the quality of their product. They also sell over Amazon.com and offer amazing deals on yoga things. I love this brand and will continue to use them for all my yoga needs.
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Gaiam is a lifestyle company that creates media content, information, experiences and products that appeal to consumers interested in any aspect of living more healthfully and lightly on the planet.
The company coined the term Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS), encompassing everything from renewable energy solutions to yoga, inspirational films to eco-travel, and organic foods to eco-friendly apparel and furnishings. As described on the company website, "Gaiam is a provider of information, goods and services to customers who value the environment, a sustainable economy, healthy lifestyles, alternative healthcare and personal development."
Gaiam is probably best known for fitness media, such as their award-winning yoga videos taught by well-known instructors such as Rodney Yee.