Five Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats You Should Consider

Five Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats You Should Consider

If you’re looking for a great yoga mat, you’re probably thinking of looking for one in terms of thickness, durability, grip, texture, and stickiness. But have you ever considered adding eco-friendly materials to your checklist? Year after year, humans release loads of harmful chemicals into the air just by using plastic. By looking for alternatives to items that are commonly made from plastic, we do our part in helping keep our earth a beautiful place to live in. And yes, that includes choosing the right eco-friendly yoga mat.

Most yoga mats are made from PVC, or polyvinyl chloride. And if you’re wondering why, that’s because this material is relatively easy to source and therefore cheaper compared to eco-friendly alternatives. You’ve probably heard a lot about PVC when talking about pipes. PVC mats are generally soft and pliable because of the added phthalates, but studies show that this key component has major health and environmental drawbacks.

For example, research shows that exposure to phthalates increases the risk of serious hormonal imbalance. Not only that, researchers have found that phthalates are also a major culprit in polluting landfills and sewers.

The bottom line: Stay away from plastic yoga mats!

Really, there are products out there that support your health and wellness goals without trashing the only planet we call home. In fact, here’s a short list of our favorite picks from Amazon for eco-friendly yoga mats:

Gaiam Yoga Mat

Gaiam yoga mats are on the top of our list for good reason. It’s functionality and sustainability at its best. These mats are extra thick at over a quarter of an inch in thickness, making it ideal for people who need extra cushioning for their knees and joints when doing yoga. It’s also great for those who are into intense yoga positions as these mats are non-slip, giving excellent traction and added safety to users.

What we love the most about Gaiam yoga mats is that it uses materials that do not harm the environment. It is free of the six most toxic phthalates and instead makes use of eco-friendly alternatives to manufacture it. The wide range of surface designs you can choose from to express your personal style is really just more of a bonus.

What other users are saying about it on Amazon:

  • It does not slip and has a nice grip to it. I have absolutely no complaints and am quite happy with it. Plus it’s a bit thicker than regular mats which helps my aging body a lot on wood floors. It lies completely flat on the floor and the color is pretty and much like what my monitor depicted. Go ahead and buy it!
  • Overall, I am very pleased with my purchase. If you are new to yoga and don’t know what to do like me, this mat provides great support with its thickness and it has gorgeous print on it. Highly recommend.
  • This is a really nice mat, good size and I especially love the thickness. So much better having this extra padding on a wooden studio floor. The design is really lovely and overall I really like it. It’s very comfortable and doesn’t move at all on the floor.
  • This was my first yoga mat and I am very happy with it. The quality of the mat is great. It’s made by a well known and trusted name in the industry.
  • It wasn’t slippery at all, right out of the packaging. I love the variety of patterns, and it comes true to the picture. It’s also thick enough that I don’t hurt myself doing yoga.

Manduka Pro Yoga Mat

Made only from materials that do not harm the environment and are perfectly safe for you and your family and pets, Manduka yoga mats are among the finest quality mats you’ll find on the market today. It’s stylishly simple and elegant and at the same time durable. One of the few brands that actually offer a lifetime warranty for a mat that will never fade, peel, or flake over time. Plus, it’s been crafted with the planet in mind and made only in an emission-free facility.

Its closed-cell design for the surface ensures that you don’t have to worry about the mat absorbing your sweat and giving off a foul odor because of it. The mat measures 71” x 26”, making it relatively wider than the usual yoga mats you’ll find on the market. And, it comes with a thickness of 6mm, perfect for those who need extra protection for their knees and joints when doing yoga.

What users are saying about it on Amazon:

  • It is the best mat ever because it is not slippery or slick during yoga in any way and it looks great because it is obviously very tough and will last forever. My other grippier mats that came that way out of the box now look terrible while the Manduka Pro still looks like it is new and it is a year and a half later.
  • This is one heavy-duty solid mat. It looks tough. It feels tough. It is tough. The mat is dense and feels extremely firm with all my poses. I feel more grounded when using the mat compared to my old generic soft 1/4 inch thick mat. The extra 2 inches width and 14 inches length is greatly appreciated as well. The extra room is helpful when moving about the mat and staying focused holding a pose.
  • No matter how many years I have left on this Earth, I will be dead before this mat wears out. This mat and the roaches may be the only things to survive the Apocalypse. Good God, is this a durable mat.
  • It’s comfortable but it’s not at all soft or squishy, it’s a very firm stable support. I’m so glad I decided to take the plunge and get a quality mat, it is so enjoyable I find myself doing even more yoga than ever almost every single day. The surface looks as perfect as when I got it. It unrolls perfectly after the first few months, with the weight and flipping over to roll it topside out from the feet first everytime it completely flat whenever I take it out.
  • I went back and forth between buying a Manduka Pro or getting another mat that doesn’t need to be broken in. I am happy I took the plunge and bought the Pro. This mat is fantastic and I love that it has a lifetime warranty and is latex free.


This TOPLUS yoga mat has just undergone an upgrade you’re sure to love. It now uses premium TPE material, which means that while it now costs more than its previous version, you can be assured that the mat is 100% eco-friendly. It’s designed to be reversible, which means you’ll feel the stickiness on both sides of the mat. While too much stickiness might feel uncomfortable to the skin, this one is just right and does wonders in helping you stabilize yourself as you transition between and execute different yoga poses.

It’s also lightweight without compromising the overall quality of the mat. The dual-layer feature contributes greatly to its durability, along with its tearproof design. And because it comes with a thickness of 6mm, you can comfortably do yoga even on hard floors. No need to worry about getting a knee injury or hurting your joints because of the hard floor. The whole mat measures 72” x 24”, making it even longer than the usual yoga mats. It also comes with a one-year warranty.

What other users are saying about it on Amazon:

  • I love this mat for the thick padding on our wood flooring. It gives my body the support it needs. It’s not hard to pivot your feet or slide your hands going from one pose to the next, in fact it makes it easier having durability and the stickiness to keep you in place. This mat is easy to wipe down and roll up, doesn’t take up space and it’s lightweight. 
  • I LOVE this mat! It has a perfect amount of padding for yoga on a hardwood floor. Much better than my other mat. The quality seems very high for the price. I didn’t really notice a smell when I opened the package. I unrolled it and left it out overnight. It flattens out beautifully. This is a great yoga mat for my practice!
  • So far so good. This mat is DESIGNED to be biodegradable and break down over time (hence the “Eco Friendly”). I’ll update this post with how long that takes. Stays in place, it’s the right thickness for me. It’s surprisingly looong. Still happy though.
  • I bought this mat after going a few times to yoga with a thinner mat. The extra thickness made a world of difference. I can sit and be on my knees comfortably now. Balancing is slightly harder on this mat but worth it to me. I recommend getting this mat.
  • This mat from Toplus, on the other hand, is definitely a better quality mat compared to what I’ve had. It’s made of high density foam which gives me a feeling of good quality mat with durability but not heavy to carry around. It comes with the shoulder strap for ease of carrying it around.

Aurorae Premium Yoga Mat

Aurorae yoga mats come in two types – classic and printed, both made from natural materials such as cork, so you don’t have to worry about one more plastic mat adding to the pollution. The mat has been tested and proven safe for humans and animals as it has no phthalates or Phenols. Plus, it’s latex-free, which is good especially for those who are allergic to latex.

 It comes at a dimension of 72” x 24”, making it suitable especially to those who have larger body frames. And, it’s 5mm thick too—just the right amount of thickness for comfort and your safety without compromising quality. These mats promise to be odorless and lightweight, making it the ultimate choice for those who usually do yoga with a group.

What other users are saying about it on Amazon:

  • Even with sweaty hands and feet I get a good grip and rarely slip. Finding how to distribute your weight and find stability is all part of yoga practice! This mat is my little yoga home wherever I take it. I find unrolling it and stepping on it almost magical- I relax and start to breathe and let go of stress!
  • After reading so many positive reviews about this line, I felt compelled to give it a try. It was such a good decision. This is the perfect mat! Although I still use a mat towel during my hot & bikram practices, this mat has great grip and is adequately padded. I feel completely secure on the floor and can really focus on my poses rather than worrying about slipping. The mat had zero odor. I would definitely purchase again.
  • I purchased this in November 2013, and I’m still using it: no problems, no wear and tear. I have hip problems, among other things, that mean a hardwood floor is pretty uncomfortable on its own. This mat is plenty thick and cushioned, and I don’t ever get up due to discomfort. I’ve used it on both wood floors and carpet, and it worked equally well on both. I’m very pleased with how it doesn’t slide. Between that and the cushioning, I feel very stable.
  • I got this mat to use with P90X (and more recently P90X3), and it performs very well both as a yoga mat and a jump mat for the plyometric routines. It has a good non-slip texture (no slipping issues even during intense routines), and just enough give to be supportive but not overly thick. Would definitely buy again.
  • Great yoga mat. I’ve only been doing yoga a little over a year, but for a new person to it, this is the only mat I need. I got this after a lot of research as my first yoga mat. The padding is easy for the knees, it’s nice and long, provides good grip for my hatha yoga and is so lovely.

Jade Harmony Yoga Mat

This is everything you’ll ever look for in a yoga mat. At 3/16” thick, it’s got just the right thickness, which means it’s not too soft but at the same time not hard on the knees, back, and joints. It’s got a superior level of traction, primarily because these mats are not made from PVC or any other synthetic material but rather are made from natural rubber. So this one’s a good choice if you are doing some really intense yoga postures.

And here’s a bonus feature—for every Jade Harmony Yoga Mat you purchase, Jade will plant a tree. So far, they’ve already planted over a million trees since they started doing this last 2006.

What other users are saying about it on Amazon:

  • I’ve been using Jade Yoga mats since 2012 when doing heated Vinyasa upwards of 10 hours a week. I tried every other “sticky” mat out there, but when you’re in 100+ degree rooms doing a 90 minute flow and sweating, Jade mats are the only ones that will keep you from slipping.
  • This mat, while similar in thickness to my old one, provides me with more support. It also doesn’t move around on the floor. Although I tend to sweat, I feel that I have more grip, so that I’m not slipping in downward dog. So far, so good.
  • I work with a lot of jump-throughs, arm balances and other precarious poses requiring serious grip of my mat, and I just love how secure and confident I feel on the Jade Harmony. It’s nice to be able to do things like jumping into bakasana from down dog without worrying if your hands are going to slide out from under you! I have to get insanely sweaty to feel even the slightest hint of slipperiness.
  • The grip is phenomenal! This mat has definitely allowed me to take my head and handstands to a new level. The cushion on the mat is pretty minimal, and perfect for balance poses. It is not too hard on my knees either because of the slight spring it provides since it is rubber.
  • This is a really great mat, well worth the hefty price tag

Top Five Yoga Mat Picks for Fragile Knees

Top Five Yoga Mat Picks for Fragile Knees

Having fragile knees can make yoga extremely uncomfortable, even painful, but it doesn’t have to keep you from working on your fitness. All you need is the right yoga mat—something that would allow you to execute different yoga poses without it being more of an ordeal than a fitness routine.

But with so many yoga mats on the market, how do you know which one to pick? In this article, we compile four things that should be on your check list before deciding which yoga mat to choose.

  1. Thickness: A lot of yoga mats, especially the ones you can buy really cheap, come in 1/16-inch thickness. For those who do not have hypersensitive knees or knee injuries, that thickness would be okay. Unfortunately, executing those different yoga poses on a thin mat can be unbearably painful for those with bad knees. So, the best option would be to choose a yoga mat that’s at least 1/8-inch thick. That should be enough to cushion your knees from the hard floor.
  2.  Material: It’s not just enough to check how thick a yoga mat is. It is also important to consider the material used for the mat. Some yoga mats may be thick but are made of materials that are hard on the knees. So, when choosing a yoga mat that would suit your physical condition, look for one that is not only thick but also flexible. Yoga mats made from PVC or vinyl are the best options for this criteria.
  3. Texture: Yoga mats have textured surfaces for added friction. While mats like these are great for those who want to do complicated yoga poses, mats with very rough surfaces are a bad idea for those who have bad knees. Bumpy patterns on the mat only irritate the knees further, adding to the physical strain of the poses. Remember, you’re looking for a yoga mat that would make yoga easier on your body. So, choose to buy yoga mats that have a relatively softer and smoother feel.
  4.  Stickiness: The thought of using a sticky mat for yoga might not be appealing, but it is necessary if you don’t want to lose your balance mid-pose. The stickiness of the mat keeps it in place while you do your yoga poses, helping keep you safe as you execute your routines. The best material for yoga mats in terms of stickiness would be PVC. Most yoga mats are made of this material so you shouldn’t have a hard time looking for one.

If you’re buying a yoga mat online, make sure not just to take the seller’s word for their products. Always check what the reviews say. In the end, these users’ honest opinions and reviews will help you determine which is the best product for your knees.

And speaking of product reviews, here are five best selling yoga mats from Amazon designed for those with hypersensitive knees. Check them out and see what other users have to say about these products.

Prosource Fit Extra Thick Yoga Mat

If you’re looking for a yoga mat with a really thick cushion for your hypersensitive knees, Prosource Fit Extra Thick Yoga Mat is one of the best options for you. Manufactured at a thickness of ½ inch, this yoga mat keeps you from straining your joints so you could have a more comfortable workout session. It is also water-resistant to make it easy for you to clean it after your workout. All you have to do is just wipe the surface with a wet cloth or a sponge and then let it dry. Plus, its moisture-resistant feature means you don’t have to worry about sweat soaking into the mat and making it smell.

It also has a slightly textured surface—enough so that you don’t slip and the mat stays in plays as you do your moves—but it is cushioned well enough so as not to hurt your knees and joints. The mat even comes with extra length to it. Its dimensions, 71” x 24”, are longer than the standard size for yoga mats. And one more thing, this mat comes with a lifetime warranty!

What other users are saying about it on Amazon:

  •  Long lasting and great back-saver. After three years, I’m reordering again. Highly recommend this mat!
  • It came with an elastic band that’s used to keep the mat rolled and has a carrying handle. Makes the mat very easy to stow away and, if we ever need to, take it wherever we go. Would definitely buy this again if we ever need another.
  • I like the color variety they offer, the length is great (not that I needed it being only 5’1″ tall), and the thickness of 1/2 inch keeps me from hurting my bad knee when I stretch, do lunges, or yoga.
  • Other than the strong smell, the quality of the mat is good, and it’s very cushioning if you have fragile knees.
  • Still using this yoga mat four years later. Its thick enough that doing yoga on hardwood floors isn’t a problem and it also helps insulate if the floor is cold.

Sivan Yoga Mat

Highly durable and conveniently thick (½ inch) for a more comfortable workout, Sivan boasts of combining efficient design with style in this non-slip yoga mat. It comes in various shades, and has a built-in carry strap that allows you to easily carry this anywhere. This one is also easy to clean, no need to wash it, just wipe and then leave it to dry. In terms of texture, the mat is integrated with memory foam to cushion your knees and joints especially during an intense yoga session.

What other users are saying about it on Amazon:

  • The mat held up even after having it accidentally exposed to a rainstorm.
  • Nice padding, especially if you’re doing indoor sessions.
  • It’s got extra thickness for my hands, knees, feet, and back.
  • Definitely the mat for anyone who is particularly sensitive around their knee joints or their tailbone.
  • Substantially thicker than others I’ve seen in stores and substantially more comfortable.

BetterGrip Yoga Mat from CleverYoga

This mat from CleverYoga promises long lasting durability, even during the toughest yoga sessions. Although this is relatively thinner than the other three, just ¼ inch in diameter, the thickness is just right for those who have hypersensitive knees. Remember what we said above? The ideal thickness for yoga mats is ¼ inch.

Compared to most yoga mats, the BetterGrip Yoga Mat is wider, with a dimension of 72” x 25” x ¼ “. It’s also got a reversible non-slip surface so you don’t have to worry about slipping out of position while using it. And it’s 100% eco-friendly, so you’re showing Mother Nature some love while keeping your body healthy too. That means you’re not going to breathe in harmful chemicals from the mat when doing poses such as the downward dog pose. Also, in the event that you’re not happy with the product, CleverYoga promises to replace your product or give you a full refund without even asking questions.

What other users are saying about it on Amazon:

  •  The mat’s got all the things I look for in a mat—good grip, non-slip, thickness, weight, and color.
  • Very pleased. I don’t think you can find a better mat for this price.
  • A thick yoga mat, relatively comfortable for practice, average sweat absorption, relatively light for its size, highly durable under extensive use.
  • The overall design of this mat looks great and the thickness is very good too. Many mats tend to be too thin for my liking and this one was thick and cushy.
  • Didn’t have that gross “new mat” smell.

HemingWeigh Extra Thick Foam Exercise Mat

Some yoga mats easily wear and tear after just a few intense yoga sessions, but HemingWeigh yoga mts are designed to withstand that. Manufactured with superior materials, this yoga mat is built to last. It is thick enough to protect you from injuries and keep your knees and joints cushioned during your workouts. It’s non-slip features further keep you safe, especially when you’re already sweating from your yoga session. Now you don’t have to worry about your mat slipping out of position.

The HemingWeigh yoga mat is also lightweight, with a self-strapping system that allows you to easily take the mat with you to your yoga classes. And if you have concerns regarding the mat, HemingWeigh offers a two-year replacement warranty.

What other users are saying about it on Amazon:

  • Amazing! Super thick, high quality, great price. Highly recommend!
  • Best mat for the money. It doesn’t stay compressed and it’s one of the thickest mats on the market. The skin is durable, easy to clean, and doesn’t break down.
  • This is a good weight, thick and durable mat, for anyone needing extra protection while exercising. It’s a must for me due to some spinal irregularities needing comforting support.
  • Excellent cushion and perfect size for me at 6’1”. I have two knee replacements and this mat allows me to kneel on both with a great amount of comfort while i do stretching and floor exercise.
  • This approximately ¾” thick mat is ‘comfy’ for this 71-year old guy. I am overweight but I don’t ‘bottom out’ on this.

Gaiam Yoga Mat

Last, but definitely not the least, on our list is Gaiam Yoga Mat. If you’re looking for comfort and style combined, this is the best choice for you. You’ll have over 40 prints to choose from for your yoga mat so you could express your individual style even as you keep yourself fit.  And if you’re wondering about its size, it’s 68” x 24” and ¼” thick, so you don’t have to worry about straining your knees on the mat during your yoga sessions.

What makes purchasing this yoga  mat unique is that it comes with a bonus downloadable yoga workout class to help you get started on your fitness routine. And while you’re at it, you can be assured of the mat’s superior grip. No worries about sweating out on the mat during yoga; its textured design will keep it fixed on the floor while you execute your yoga poses. Plus, it’s got the right amount of stickiness to help you keep your balance all throughout your fitness routine.

What other users are saying about this on Amazon:

  • I have absolutely no complaints and am quite happy with it. It’s a bit thicker than regular mats, which helps my aging body a lot on wood floors.
  • I am very pleased with my purchase. If you are new to yoga and don’t know what to do like me, this mat provides great support with its thickness, and it has gorgeous print on it. Highly recommend.
  • This is a really nice mat, good size and I especially love the thickness. So much better than having this extra padding on a wooden studio floor.
  • Arrived fast, perfect condition, nice, thick material. No odor or chemical smell. Lifetime warranty and a free yoga routine. It’s my new favorite mat!
  • Very pleased with the good quality feel and thickness. No smell at all and a slight tacky feel so it shouldn’t slip around on a hard floor like my old one did… and it’s absolutely gorgeous!
Health benefits laughter

Health benefits laughter

The Health Benefits of Laughter

It’s fun to share a deep-rooted belly laugh. Not only is laughing a great way of drawing closer to others but also of improving physical and emotional health. 

Indeed, laughter is the best medicine, and we couldn’t agree more! Especially that this assertion is actually backed by science.

Laughter can help reduce blood pressure

High blood pressure (or hypertension) is one of the most prevalent causes of death. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), more than 100 million Americans have high blood pressure. 

“The death rate from high blood pressure increased by nearly 11 percent in the United States between 2005 and 2015, and the actual number of deaths rose by almost 38 percent — up to nearly 79,000 by 2015,” reported by AHA. 

According to the American Institute of Stress, stress has long been linked with hypertension. And while there are several other factors that impact blood pressure, “stress can be shown to aggravate almost all.”

“Job stress… has been clearly shown to be associated with increased rates of hypertension and coronary heart disease,” says the study. 

Clearly, stress can affect your blood pressure. The good news is, laughter can help reduce stress and, therefore, prevent you from elevating your blood pressure levels. This is supported by the study published by the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (206 Jun 23; The Laughter Prescription). 

The study concluded: “…both laughter and humor can have deep and long-lasting psychological effects. Research is indicating that the physical act of laughing, even without humor is linked to chemical changes in the body that potentially reduce stress.”

Laughter Reduces Anxiety

We all feel sad sometimes. In most cases, our sadness, worries, and sorrows fade. But there are also times that getting away from all these negative emotions seem out of the question.

When everything is gray, you have to remember that there is a way out. Science proves that laughter can help us fight anxiety as well as other negative feelings. 

A study by the Educational Technology Research and Development (Sep 1995, vol. 43, Issue 3, pp. 6-28) tells us that humor can reduce anxiety. 

Humor also has an emotional impact that increases motivation, improves self-esteem, and produces a higher perceived quality of life. 

A 2015-study looked into the effects of laughter therapy on cancer patients with anxiety, stress, and depression. The results were thrilling. The study proved that laughter therapy may decrease anxiety, stress, and depression. It may also increase the quality of life in patients with cancer. 

Laughter Can Strengthen the Immune System

Before the cold and flu season come, it may be a good idea to fortify your immune system. Eating healthy and taking supplements sure are steps to reinforce your body’s defense system, but did you know that your giggles and chuckles can also boost your immune system?

The Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine published a study to support this fact. In 2007, they looked into the evidence for the effect of humor on various immune system components. 

The journal states that there have to be more studies to establish the claim. But it also mentioned that a patient named Norman Cousins has been cured from ankylosing spondylitis with the help of therapies including laughter. 

Laughter Can Improve Your Breathing

Don’t hold your laughter. It turns out that laughing can actually increase your heart rate, oxygen consumption, and respiratory rate — the exact same things that happen when you’re working out. 

A 2009 study, the International Journal of Humor Research, revealed that these changes in the body last as long as the laughter itself. So, if you laugh for 20 to 30 minutes, then you can skip the gym already. 

Final Takeaway

Humor does more to the body than just making us chuckle and giggle. You get to improve your body both physically and mentally when you laugh. You can battle depression and anxiety, lower your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system, and improve your breathing. 

And you know what else is great about laughter? It’s free! So when you’re feeling down or physically weak, then a dose of laughter can help! Studies prove that laughter can do a lot in your body.

8 Yoga Poses to Boost Your Digestion

8 Yoga Poses to Boost Your Digestion

What immediately comes to your mind when you think of yoga? You probably think of breathing exercises and next-level stretching. But really, it’s more than just a flexibility workout. Did you know, studies show that practicing yoga has health benefits to it as well?

A recent article by the National Institute of Health mentions several results of such studies on yoga, and presents this 2,000-year old discipline as a possible measure against stress, sleep disorders, anxiety, and depression. The article also cites how yoga helps relieve muscle pain, as well as people who are trying to quit smoking or lose weight.

But researchers are discovering that those benefits are not all there is to yoga. They’ve also found how yoga can do much to benefit our guts.

If you’re currently suffering from constipation, indigestion, gas, acid reflux, and other digestive health issues, we feel you. And while you can try to address your digestive problems by changing the way you eat and the types of food you take in, why not try out a more holistic approach? Now we’re not saying that you shouldn’t switch to a healthy diet. We agree that you need to ditch eating junk food and processed sugars and go for wholefoods instead. But doing yoga along with that diet change can work wonders for your digestive system.

Take a look at 8 yoga poses you can do wherever and whenever to help boost your gut health.

1. Marjaryasana Bitilasana (Cow Pose)

Photo: Micheal Winkler.  Credits to:   

What it does: The cow pose helps you warm up for the next set of yoga poses. It serves as a gentle massage to your stomach and other belly organs, as well as to your spine. It also helps in circulating blood to your digestive tract and helps stimulate peristalsis.

Step 1: For this pose, you first need to get down on your knees, making sure your legs are a hip distance apart. Next, position both of your hands firmly on the floor or on your mat. Check that your knees are directly below your hips, and your shoulders and elbows are perpendicular to the floor or mat, as shown in the photo.

Step 2: Take a deep breath. As you inhale, raise your head and look straight forward, lifting your hips and curving your back as you do. If you have a neck injury, make sure to keep your head in line with your torso.

Step 3: Exhale and return to the neutral position outlined in Step 1. Repeat the process for 10 to 20 times.

2. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)


What it does: This pose works to relax your nervous system and restore energy levels. This is important as our digestive system works in tandem with the nervous system. High stress levels can take a heavy  toll on our guts. In fact, stress and anxiety are a major cause for common digestive problems such as indigestion, constipation, and acid reflux. So, learning how to relax our nervous system can help relieve our digestive tract as well.

Step 1: Start this pose by getting down on your hands and knees, almost similar to the first position of the Cow Pose (Marjaryasana Bitilasana). This time, however, position your hands slightly forward of your shoulders, as seen in the picture above. Make sure your palms are spread open and angled away from your body, while your feet are angled inward.

Step 2: Take a deep breath and then exhale, gradually lifting your knees and heels off the floor and arching your body as you do so. In this position, your sitting bones should be lifted up towards the ceiling.

Step 3: Next, stretch your heels so it is positioned flat on the floor. This should straighten your knees and you should be feeling a firmness in your outer thighs. However, be careful not to lock your knees in this pose.

Step 4: Focus on the upper part of your body, and slowly broaden your shoulders, pulling it away from your ears as you lengthen your spine.

Step 5: Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing as you hold this pose for 1 to 3 minutes.

3. Balasana (Child’s Pose)

What it does: Balasana helps you to rest in between challenging yoga poses. Done correctly, this helps you to focus on your breathing and calm your thoughts at the same time stretches your lower body. However, caution is needed for individuals with knee injury. If you have diarrhea or are pregnant, it would be best to perform a different pose as the Child’s Pose could be extremely uncomfortable for you.

Step 1: Get down on your knees and sit on your heels, your big toes touching. Then spread your legs, keeping it a hip-distance apart.

Step 2: Lean forward with your hands stretched out in front of you, head down until you feel your forehead touch the floor or mat.

Step 3: Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds or up to several minutes while you focus on your breathing.

4. Matsyasana (Fish Pose)


What it does: This pose helps stimulate your digestive organs and aids in detoxification. It thus works best for individuals who suffer from constipation, dysmenorrhea, respiratory ailments, and mild back pain, among others. It also offers relief to those who are suffering from anxiety and fatigue. The traditional Matsyasana involves complicated positions which beginners may find difficult to perform. To keep things simple for you, we will stick to a simpler form of this pose, where you have the option to bend your knees or keep your legs flat on the floor. You may also want the assistance of a yoga expert if you’re performing this pose for the first time.

Step 1: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Then, take a deep breath, slightly lifting your pelvis off the floor so your hands could slide underneath your buttocks. Keep your elbows close to your body as you do this.

Step 2: Gradually arch your back and lift your chest as you inhale. Be careful not to put too much weight on your head as you do this to prevent a neck injury.

Step 3: Hold this pose for at least 15 to 30 seconds. Keep your breathing normal. Then slowly lower your back to the floor and then draw your thighs up to your belly and squeeze.

5. Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Twist)


What it does: The supine twist is effective in relieving discomfort and digestive cramps. This twist also aids the body in expelling waste, which works well for people suffering from constipation.

Step 1: Take a few deep breaths as you lie flat on your back with your legs stretched out and your hands to your sides. If your chin juts upward toward the ceiling, try elevating your head a bit with a folded blanket or a pillow.

Step 2: Bring your thighs up to your chest, and then extend your left leg and your right hand.

Step 3: Keep your right leg bent and then with your left hand, draw your right leg across your body, as seen in the photo. Try to bring your right leg as close to the floor as you can while keeping your back flat on the floor as you do this.

Step 4: With your right leg drawn across your left leg, fix your gaze on your extended right hand. Hold this pose for at least 10 breaths and then do the same with the other leg.

6. Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Crescent Twist)


What it does: The crescent twist, also known as a revolved side angle pose, helps strengthen your legs, knees, and ankles.It also stimulates belly organs, thereby helping improve digestion and relieve constipation. Caution is needed for individuals who suffer from high or low blood pressure as well as those suffering from insomnia. For those who have neck injuries, skip the part where you need to turn your head. Instead, keep your head straight or look down on the floor.

Step 1: Put your left foot forward and extend your right foot backwards. Then bend your left foot so as to stretch your right leg.

Step 2: Bring your hands up to your chest as if you’re praying. Make sure to keep your back leg straight as you do this.

Step 3: With your hands in the same ‘prayer’ pose, twist your torso over to your left side and then bring your right elbow down towards your left knee. Keep your head turned up as you do this.

Step 4: Hold the pose for 1 to 3 minutes, and then repeat the process on the other side.

7. Pawanmuktasana (Wind Relieving Pose)


What it does: As the name suggests, this pose works particularly well for those who feel bloated and helps relieve indigestion by aiding the body in pushing out unwanted toxic gas from your stomach and intestines. However, this pose is not advisable to those who are pregnant or are still recovering from abdominal surgery. It is also not for those who have spinal injury.

Step 1: Start this pose by lying on your back with your legs and arms extended. Take a deep breath and then draw your thighs up to your chest as you exhale.

Step 2: Hold your right leg, keeping it curled up to your chest as you extend your left leg out.

Step 3: Hold the pose for up to 1 minute before repeating the process with your other leg.

Step 4: Bring back both of your knees to your chest and then slightly pull your body up, drawing your head to your knees. Keep your hands clasped around your knees and hold this pose for at least one minute. Then gradually release both legs and let it rest against the floor.

8. Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose)

Photo by: Jeff Nelson. Credits to:

What it does: This pose stretches out the stomach and digestive tract, helping relieve common digestive problems such as indigestion and stomach cramps. It is also particularly helpful for those who are constipated.  This pose is not advisable for those who have knee injuries. If you are a beginner, it would be helpful to perform this pose with a rolled-up blanket placed between your thighs and calves.

Step 1: Go down on all fours, and keep your knees a hip-distance apart. Your hands should be perpendicular to the floor.

Step 2: Stretch out your upper body, extending your hands above your head and with your forehead almost touching the ground. Keep your arms straight and make sure that your elbows do not touch the ground as you do this.

Step 3: Pull your hips back to fully stretch your spine. Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds to a minute and then slowly release the pose and sit on your heels.

Caring for Your Body While Doing Yoga

Yoga positions involves a lot of movement and requires a certain measure of flexibility. If you are just beginning yoga, here are some safety tips before you begin:

1.       Listen to your body

Although a minimal measure of discomfort should be expected, especially if you’re doing the poses for the first time, be sensitive to your body’s limits. If a certain pose is painful, don’t force it.

2.       Don’t overthink things

Flexibility comes with practice, so don’t expect yourself to be as graceful as yoga experts during your first few tries. Yoga is not a competition, so don’t stress yourself out thinking that you should get everything right the first time.

3.       Consult an expert

Some poses can be challenging for beginners. If you are unsure whether certain yoga poses are suited for your health condition, make sure to consult a medical expert or an experienced yoga teacher.

Get Yourself Started!

Want to start doing yoga to relieve your digestive problems but still at a loss of how to properly execute them? Watch this video and see how you can do yoga to boost your digestive health.

 “What you are is what you have been. What you’ll be is what you do now.”

–         Buddha

Keep Practicing!

If you’re just starting to do yoga, keep your expectations realistic. Don’t expect to see results overnight. Yoga can improve your digestion and your overall health, but consistency in practicing it is the key.

Can You Lose Weight with Yoga?

Can You Lose Weight with Yoga?

For many years, yoga has helped countless people achieve better physical, mental, and spiritual development. This light and low-intensity workout can substantially improve your quality of life. 

Many people believe that yoga is fundamental in reaching physical and mental harmony. By performing specific yoga techniques, people can heal physical injuries and be more mindful. But did you know that yoga is great for losing weight?

Yoga is an effective tool to help you slim down and burn that pesky fat, especially the forms of yoga that are more active and intense than restorative yoga forms. When done properly, yoga can help you gain awareness through controlled and relaxing yoga practices, and this can help you tone your body and trim down your waistline. 

Is Yoga backed by science? Definitely. Experts believe that yoga works in various ways to help manage a healthy lifestyle.

Yoga, Mindfulness, and Weight Loss

Mindfulness is one of the principles of yoga. Certain yoga practices can help you focus on the now. The intense concentration that you get in yoga can help increase your awareness on so many levels in life.

The more mindful you are, the more likely you are to become conscious about how various foods can impact your mind, body, and spirit. 

According to Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Volume 2016, Article ID 2914745), increased consumption of foods high in calories and fat but poor in nutrients, stress, and the lack of physical activity are the main factors of obesity. 

In their study, they discussed how yoga can improve obesity-related outcomes. 

“Yoga [is] an ancient discipline involving physical poses, breathwork, and mindfulness techniques. [It] is the most commonly used non-dietary or supplement complementary and alternative therapy to weight loss.”

A review article published by Jennifer Rioux and Cheryl Ritenbaugh entitled Narrative Review of Yoga Intervention Clinical Trials Including Weight-related Outcomes concluded that yoga can aid in weight loss. Here are a few of the general conclusion the research team had:

  • Programs with a yogic dietary component are more successful when it comes to demonstrating a higher degree of efficacy in weight-related outcome measures. 
  • The frequency of performing yoga appears to affect weight loss more than the intensity (or length of a session) of practice. 
  • Yoga sessions with 60 minutes of sustained asana practice seem to be adequate in achieving a beneficial result when combined with pranayama and meditation, and;
  • Yoga for weight loss is equally appropriate and potentially successful in preventing obesity or weight maintenance. 

Also, the people who develop mindfulness through yoga sessions can better able to resist the temptation of eating unhealthy foods and comfort eating. They also get more in-sync with their body so that they can immediately notice when they’re already full, which helps prevent overeating. 

If you’re struggling to lose weight, then yoga might be the best way to go. A 2017-meta study Obesity Research & Clinical Practice (Vol. 11, Issue 5, Supplement 1, 09-10/2017, pages 90-111) reported that mindfulness training has been closely associated with the adoption of healthier behaviours. It also reported that mindfulness can help decrease binge and impulsive eating and increase physical participation. 

However, in their study, mindfulness training has no effect on weight loss in adults with excess weight. And in conclusion, mindfulness training does not have a direct impact on weight loss. Further studies are needed to back up these findings. 

Also, if you want to engage in yoga, you will be advised not to perform yoga poses on a full stomach. This alone will get you into the notion that you must make healthy eating choices before performing yoga. 

And after a long yoga session (which would have generated mindfulness already), you are likely to crave fresh and unprocessed foods instead of unhealthy snacks. And because you’re in the now, you’ll learn to chew more slowly and thoroughly, which can then result in less consumption. 

Remember, your food choices and consumption of food are two of the main factors of obesity. You can battle the urge to eat unhealthy knick-knacks and eat more consciously when you’re in a mindful disciplined state. 

Yoga, Sleep, and Weight Loss

Did you know that yoga can help improve the quality of your sleep? According to the latest statistics published by Sleep Advisor (February 2019), 35% of adults do not get enough sleep (7 hours a day), and 37% of people aged between 20 and 39 reported short sleep cycles and difficulty sleeping. Pretty crazy right?

Are you one of the many people who struggle getting a goodnight’s sleep? When you perform yoga consistently you’ll find yourself to be able to fall asleep more easily and more deeply. 

The quality of your sleep is associated with weight loss. A 2018-study posted in Oxford Academic by Sleep Research Society (Sleep, Vol. 41, Issue 5, May 2018, zsy027) examined the impact of moderate sleep restriction (SR) on body weight, composition, and metabolic variables in people undergoing caloric restriction (CR).

In the study, a group of overweight adults were randomised to an eight-week caloric restriction (CR) regimen alone or combined with sleep restriction (CR+SR). 

All subjects were instructed to limit their daily calorie intake to 95% of their measured resting metabolic rate. Those in the CR+SR group were also asked to reduce time in bed on five nights and to sleep as necessary or desired on the other two nights each week. 

The result? The study found that those who have restricted sleep five nights per week lost less fat than those who followed their normal sleeping routine. Both groups were instructed to limit their caloric intake, suggesting that sleep loss has a negative impact on body composition, fat loss included. 

Again, yoga can help you sleep more deeply while increasing your mindfulness. Yoga Nidra is a form of guided relaxation that can significantly help improve your sleep quality. And while performing this relaxing yoga pose, you can set goals to boost your weight loss. 

In another 2018-study published by Holistic Nursing Practice (May/June 2018), the effect of yoga Nidra meditation was put into test in health care workers. 

“As health care workers provide emotional support to patients, it is not uncommon for workers to experience both physical and mental exhaustion,” explained in the abstract of the study. 

“One holistic approach to support employees is mindfulness training. iRest Yoga Nidra is a complementary and integrative health therapy that increases mindfulness,” it added.

The subjects of the study (the health workers) were asked to perform yoga Nidra for eight weeks. And as a result, their levels of mindfulness exponentially increased. However, there was not a significant improvement in their sleep at baseline and follow-up. Clearly, there has to be more research to be done to expand these findings. 

Nevertheless, it all falls down to achieving the state of mindfulness, which, as discussed above, can essentially aid in weight loss, albeit in passive ways. 

Yoga, Calories, and Weight Loss

Yoga is technically a form of aerobic exercise. Take note, however, that there are different types of yoga, and some forms can be more active and intense than others. 

 Physical and intense forms of yoga can help you burn the most calories. The more you are able to burn calories, the less are to gain weight. Our bodies need a certain amount of calories to maintain our weight, when we eat less than this we lose weight. This is what is known as a caloric deficit.

Certain yoga styles like ashtanga, vinyasa, and power yoga are a few examples of more intense yoga. 

When you go to gyms offering yoga or yoga studios, you’ll find most of them offer vinyasa and power yoga. These yoga styles will keep you moving almost constantly, which then results in burning calories. 

Performing yoga can also tone your muscles, improve your metabolism, and sculpt your body. 

Restorative yoga, on the other, is not as intense as the other physical yogas, but it can still aid in weight loss. According to one study, restorative yoga is effective in helping overweight women to lose weight. 

More research is needed to expand these findings. Nevertheless, the studies prove that even low-intensity physical workouts can help a person slim down. 

Another study from the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (Yoga in the Management of Overweight and Obesity, published on July 17, 2013) revealed that yoga may assist with weight loss and maintenance by heightening mindfulness, improving mood, and reducing stress, all of which help in reducing food consumption. 

Yoga also allows individuals “to feel more connected to their bodies, leading to enhanced awareness of satiety and the discomfort of overeating,” the study concluded. 

Then again, these findings must be backed by more research and studies. 

How Frequent Should You Do Yoga to Lose Weight?

Yoga is way less intense compared to fat-burning cardio exercises and heavy lifting workouts. Hence, if you want to lose weight through low-intensity, light yoga practices, then you should perform yoga as often as possible to trim down. 

And if possible, do more active and more intense yoga poses at least three to six times a week for at least 60 minutes. 

On the other days, you can perform light yoga styles like yin, Hatha, and other restorative yoga options. 

If you’re just a beginner in yoga, you can start slowly. Then, you can gradually increase your intensity from there. This will allow your body to build up strength and develop flexibility, which are empirical to prevent injuries. 

However, if you do not have time for a full yoga class on some days, you can do a self-practice for at least 20 to 30 minutes. You can perform yoga at home, in the park, or in any place that’s quiet enough to help you concentrate and get into the now

You don’t have to perform yoga seven days a week. You can give yourself one full day break each week. 

To make weight loss even more effective, it’s best to combine your yoga with other physical and intense activities, such as cycling, walking, swimming, and other cardio workouts. 

And most importantly, you need to be smarter in your food choices, habits, and lifestyle. The food you eat, your habits, and your way of living are factors to obesity. It’s practically unhealthy to perform yoga but stay on your bad food habits. 

Yoga Poses to Perform

As emphasised in this article, there are certain types of yoga practices, some are more intense than the others. It’s good to know each pose to better understand what yoga type best fits your needs. 

Take note, these poses can be performed at home. All you need is a matt, a quiet space, and a flat surface. 

Sun Salutations

Also called the Surya Namaskara, the sun salutation is a series of poses done in a sequence. The goal is to create a flowing movement. Each pose coordinates with your breathing: inhale when extending and exhale when bending. 

  • Standing Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Place your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Press your palms in a prayer position. Rest your thumbs and take several breaths. 

  • Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)

Inhale while sweeping your arms out to the side and overhead. Push your head back gently, then gaze to the sky. 

  • Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Exhale while you fold forward from the hips. Gently bend your knees if needed. Then, rest your hands beside your feet. Your nose must meet your knees. 

  • Half-Standing Forward Fold (Ardha Uttanasana)

Inhale while lifting your torso halfway, extending your spine toward to flatten your back. Your torso must be parallel to the floor. Keep your fingertips locked on the floor. Alternatively, you can bring them to your shins. 

  • Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)

Exhale while you step back into plank pose. Your hands should be under your shoulders and your feet should be hip-distance apart. Exhale as you bring your body toward the floor, while keeping your elbows tucked in on your sides. 

Keep your legs stretched and reach back through your heels. 

  • Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

Inhale while drawing your chest forward and stretching your arms. Draw your shoulders back and push your heart toward the sky. Press through the tops of your feet, then gently lift your thighs off the floor while engaging your leg muscles. 

  • Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Exhale while lifting your hips. Then, roll over your toes. Place the soles of your feet firm on the floor. Your heels don’t need to meet the ground. 

Ground down through your hands and the soles of your feet as you stretch your spine. Lift your belly up and sit bones toward the air. Breathe five times. On your last exhalation, bend your knees and look down. 

  • Half-Standing Forward Fold (Ardha Uttanasana)

Inhale while you step both feet between your hands. Lift your torso halfway, stretching your spine forward to flatten your back. Your torso must be parallel to the floor. Keep your fingertips on the floor, or you can bring them to your shins. 

  • Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Exhale while you bend your torso over your things. Fold your knees if needed. Rest your hands beside your feet. Your nose must meet your knees. 

  • Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)

Inhale while sweeping your arms out to the side and stretch them up again. Gently lean your head back and look upward. 

  • Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Exhale while returning to the mountain pose. Bring your hands back into the prayer position. Repeat the entire sequence two or more times. 

Boat Pose

Boat pose is also known as Paripurna Navasana. This yoga pose puts emphasis on your ab and hip. It requires you to have a balance on the tripod of your tailbone and sitting bones. 

  1. The first step is to simply sit on the floor. Your legs must be straight in front of you. Place your hands on the floor. Ensure your fingers are pointing toward your feet. Stretch your arms. 
  2. Lift through the top of your breastbone and gently lean back slightly. When doing this, ensure your back is flat. Sit on the tripod of your two sitting bones and tailbone. 
  3. Exhale as you fold your knees. Then, lift your feet off the ground, ensuring your thighs are angled about 45 degrees to the floor. If you can, slowly straighten your knees and raise the tips of your toes a little bit above your eye level. If this is impossible, you can remain with your knees bent. 
  4. Stretch your arms alongside your legs. They must be parallel to each other and the floor. 
  5. Stay on this pose for 30 seconds or longer (only if possible).
  6. Repeat this sequence at least five times. 

Plank Pose

Plank pose is good for yoga beginners. It’s the best yoga to start with. Plus, it promotes balancing your arms. 

  1. Start in downward-facing dog position or Adho Mukha Svanasana (see Sun Salutation pose). Inhale while drawing your torso forward until your arms are parallel to the floor and your shoulders directly over your wrists. 
  2. Press your outer arms inward and lock your position with your index fingers into the floor. Lean your shoulder blades to your back, then spread them away from the spine. Stretch your collarbones away from your breastbone. 
  3. Lift your thighs up to the ceiling, but resist your tailbone toward the floor as you stretch it toward your heels. Gaze to the floor while keeping your eyes and throat soft. 
  4. Perform this pose for at least 30 seconds or more. 

Is Yoga for Everyone?

Yoga is beneficial for losing weight, toning your body, building leaner muscles, reducing stress and anxiety, and achieving mindfulness. But yoga also has some caveats. 

Yoga can induce blood pressure. It can also worsen carpal tunnel syndrome (pain, tingling, and numbness in the arm and hand). 

There are also some physical dangers in performing yoga, especially the advanced level yoga poses like backbends and headstands. When you fail to perform the poses correctly, it may cause back injuries, muscle strain, and even eye complications. 

The best thing about yoga is that you can perform it at your home. However, when you’re lacking experience in yoga, it’s not best to engage in it alone. Some yoga poses can be dangerous to your body, and without guidance from an expert, experienced instructor, you might put yourself on a lot of risks. 

Is Yoga Better Than The Gym?

The answer depends on what you want to achieve. If you want to gain muscle, lose fat, and increase your stamina and stability, then the gym and a structured weight training routine is the way to go. 

Gyms have the heavy equipment you can use when working out. Most workout programs in gyms are strenuous and intense, which can help you lose weight and gain muscle faster. 

On the other hand, if you want to tone your muscles and lose weight through light, less intense workout, then yoga is the better option. Yoga is also focused on helping you become more mindful. 

And notably, yoga will not only shape your body, but it can also improve your joints and bones, all the while alleviating stress and pain. 

Final Thoughts

Through yoga, you can lose weight and sculpt you to your desired physique. It’s worth noting, however, that yoga is way less strenuous than cardio workouts. So while you can lose weight with yoga, the effect is not as quick as when you perform heavy, physical workouts. 

Yoga can help you improve your sleep and be more conscious, and, in effect, you’ll prevent obesity and promote weight loss. It’s also best to combine active, intense workouts on top of your yoga sessions to lose weight faster. 

It’s important to remember, though, that yoga is not for everyone. We highly recommend speaking to your physician before engaging in any workout. If you want to commit to yoga, it’s best to speak with a yoga teacher or instructor to guide you throughout the course. 

If you don’t have much experience in yoga, we advise seeking help from experienced yogist to assist you with poses, especially the hard positions to prevent injuries. 

Disclaimer: This site does not provide medical or legal advice. This site is for information purposes only. Viewing this site, receipt of information contained on this site, or the transmission of information from or to this site does not constitute a physician-patient relationship. 

The medical information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this site.