Review: Yogitoes Skidless® and Jade Microfiber Yoga Towels

I’m surely dating myself here, but do you remember the movie Mr. Mom where Michael Keaton’s son gets really attached to his blanket? Here’s a clip in case that doesn’t ring a bell: Mr. Mom. Anyway, yoga towels are my wooby.

If you are not already using a yoga towel, consider these benefits:

  • hygienic layer between you and your mat (especially good when using a studio’s rental mat)
  • sweat absorption layer, keeps you and your mat dry
  • skid/slip protection
  • increased time between mat washings
  • cushioning

As you might recall from a previous post, I’m a big fan of Jade yoga mats (Jade yoga mat review). Let’s face it though, rubber is not the plushest (plush, love that word!) material out there and my pointy tailbone and I need a little more tush cush. My ‘Go To’ towel of choice was the Yogitoes Skidless® towel, but I thought I’d investigate alternatives before the outlay of any more of my precious coin. I narrowed the candidates down to Yogitoes Skidless® and Jade Microfiber towels.

Yogitoes towels are the most popular towels where I teach. Most of the teachers I know use them. I have 2 and have spent hundreds of mat hours with them. They are super durable, though not unexpectedly, have thinned out a bit over time. The dots (we’ll talk more about those in a bit) now protrude more than the towel, lowering the comfort factor. The Jade towel caught my attention because of my previous great experiences with their mats and because they are advertised to have great grip while being highly absorbent. I’ll share my musings on both and then get more tabular.

Fabric: The Yogitoes towel has 2 faces (in a good way, not like with that high school ‘friend’). The top side is a polyester/nylon blend. The underside is the same fabric with silicone dots that grab your yoga mat. Is it just me or do these remind you of the candy buttons I inhaled as a kid?  The Jade towel, on the other hand, is uniform microfiber on both sides. When I first unpacked the Jade, I thought “No way is this thing going to be non-slip.”, but it is a magical fabric that really grips my hands and my rubber mat.  It is super soft, dare I say… fluffy. Love! I yearn for reclined poses so I can lay on this luxurious fabric.

[A brief tangent on yoga towel grip. Never ever (by this I mean NEVER) use fabric softener on these. Not in the washing machine and not in the dryer. Use a mild detergent and air dry or machine dry on low. I’ll assume we are clear on this and carry on.]

Portability: Considering how you will be toting your towel around, weight is a factor. At a featherweight 8 ounces, the Jade is a clear winner here.  The Yogitoes is a hefty 22 ounces in comparison.

Lint: A category for lint you say? A must, I say, since these score on opposite ends of the spectrum. The Yogitoes does not hold on to lint, retaining cleanliness throughout practice. The Jade, perhaps because of it’s fluffiness, seems to hold on to every stray thread, hair, and lint ball that comes around. I try to think of these as extra spots on which to laser focus my gaze, but really they are a bity untidy.

Size: Standard sized yoga mats are 24″ x 68″ same size as the Yogitoes towel. The Jade towel is larger, 24″ x 72″. I’m guessing the Jade is larger to accommodate both their 68″ and 74″ mats. Undeterred, I just tuck the extra inches under the front edge of my mat.

Price: Jade at MSRP $34.95 is noticeably less expensive than the Yogitoes at $64, though the Yogitoes is more highly engineered.

Durability: The Yogitoes has lasted me years, hundreds of practice hours. I’ve put about 50 hours on my Jade and it is holding up well so far.

Conclusion: Given the comfort and price, I recommend the Jade towel. Would love to hear what towels you like. Feel free to chime in with comments.

 

Yoga Towel Comparison – Feb 10, 2012
Product Jade Microfiber Yogitoes Skidless®
Material Polyester microfiber 80% polyester, 20% nylon – silicone nubs
Made in U.S.A. Korea
Colors 5 many
Approximate Weight 8 ounces 22 ounces
Charity One month’s worth of clean drinking water for one person in the developing world for every towel sold Donates 1% of their annual sales of all yogitoes® products
Holding power (to you) Excellent wet or dry Good when wet, poor when dry
Holding power (to mat) Excellent Very good
Comfort factor Mr. Mom Wooby Level Knobbly
Size 24″ x 72″ 24″ x 68″
MSRP $34.95 $64.00

The business side of yoga

Have you ever dreamed of being a yoga teacher, but were concerned it meant you had to commit to being impoverished? Then you might be interested in this NY Magazine article: A Yoga Studio – Joschi Body Bodega

There is an undercurrent among teachers that yoga and money don’t mix. However, we all have bills to pay. Teaching yoga doesn’t necessarily put you on a fast track to wealth, but there are approaches that can result in higher earnings. In the article, a yoga studio owner named Joschi Schwarz gives tips about his approach to profitability. It’s refreshing to see a studio owner talk about the money end of teaching in such a straightforward manner.

The article is part of the NY Magazine’s ‘Profit Calculator’ series which also provides earnings info for a diverse range of businesses; anywhere from a financial firm to a drug dealer. While the yoga studio article was most pertinent, I got a kick out of reading them all.

Mirrors in your yoga room…do you love ’em or hate ’em?

Nataranjasana pose in mirrorEvery yoga practice room has its own personality. Some are Zen-tastic with a soothing color scheme and just a handful of carefully chosen adornments. Others offer a little more to look at, or distract you, depending on your mindset. There may be a Buddha or two; perhaps Ganesh makes an appearance.

Whatever the decor, the best environments are ones that enhance your practice.  This might be through a minimalist approach or, less likely, with a wall of mirrors for you to check your alignment.

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How to start a home yoga practice

Most of us start out on our yoga journey by taking group classes. This is a fantastic way to learn yoga. BalasanaYou will be in the hands of a trained professional who can teach safe alignment and keep you injury free. At some point, after you’ve absorbed the fundamentals, you might develop an interest in practicing yoga at home.

This is easier said than done. As hard as it may be to get yourself to a yoga class, once there you are mentally dedicated to staying. Barring illness or injury, it is unlikely you would ever get up and leave.

In contrast, the home environment is full of distractions that challenge our commitment to practice. Phones ring. People come and go. Kids and pets don’t understand the ‘Do Not Disturb’ edict you have laid out for them (I’m talking to you Seabiscuit).

I struggled for a long time to establish a home practice and I’d like to share a little about how I finally made it work.  Here are a list of common reasons your home practice is nonexistent, followed by my tips.

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Free you pelvis with yoga hip openers

Gomukhasana

gomukhasana

At the start of each class, I ask students if there is a pose or body part that they would like to work on. One of the most frequent requests is for hip openers. It’s in the top 10 along with neck and shoulders.  Hmmm…all places we commonly carry stress.

The anatomy of the hip is complicated to say the least and there is a spectrum of physical reasons our hips tighten. The desk jockey’s inactivity and the runner’s repetitive muscle contractions are just a couple.

There are also emotional reasons that cause the hips to feel closed off. In yoga, the pelvis is often referred to as the body’s ‘junk drawer’. It’s the perfect analogy.  In it, we stuff experiences and emotions that we don’t know what else to do with.  From an energetic anatomy perspective, the pelvis contains our first and second chakras, energy centers.  The first chakra, muladhara, is located at the perineum and is associated with our root survival needs for nourishment and security.  The second, svadhisthana, is just a couple of inches above muladhara and is associated with our sexuality and how we communicate with others.  You can probably think of your own ‘junk’ related to these chakras that you have stashed in here.

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Yoga: Are you a poser?

What would you think if I called you a poser? Isn’t everyone who practices yoga a poser? Or are we? I guess that Tree Posedepends on how you define poser. I’m thinking of it in 2 ways:

  1. a person who aligns their body into yoga poses
  2. a person who acts like something they aren’t

From my perspective, we all start out being both. Now you might be saying, wait just one minute missy, I love yoga. I’m no poser! Let me explain.

Can you remember when you first stepped on a yoga mat? For me, it was at Innerlight yoga studio in Newport, RI. It was 1996. This was a traumatically whirlwind year for me. I started a new job as a software engineer with IBM. I had recently moved to Rhode Island, having renovated a small cottage on the Sakonnet River with my husband. It was to be our dream home. It was also the year my husband died of leukemia. Looking back, I don’t know how I made it through that challenging year.

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Yoga class sequencing

short warmup sequence

short warm-up sequence

Sequencing a yoga class is akin to choreographing a dance. Like a dance, a yoga class should have a sense of flow and feel coherent.  At the same time, it should target a variety of postures to open energy channels throughout the body.

There are hundreds of basic yoga poses. Add to to those, the myriad variations of these postures and teachers have thousands of postures to choose from. Sorting through these variations to create a fluid and safe class sequence can be a real challenge. This challenge, luckily, doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start with a basic framework and add variety from there. Continue reading

Why chant Om?

What is Om and why would you want chant it?Om Symbol

I was first introduced to the nuances of Om during my yoga teacher training. Beryl Bender Birch was a guest speaker and she gave a great explanation of the mechanics of chanting Om. She explained that it is actually 3 verbal syllables and 1 non-verbal: ah, oh, um and anahata nada (the unmade sound). The first 3 are associated with palpable energetic vibrations. Ah tingles the whole mouth. Oh moves the vibration to the back of the throat. Um lifts the vibration to the roof of the mouth sending energy up through the third eye and crown chakras (2 of 7 energetic centers in your body).  The vibrations have the effect of dusting you off.  Shaking up your thoughts and feelings to give you a clearer perspective. Anahata nada is the silence that remains after Om ends. It has no beginning and no end. It exists as a representation of the eternal nature of all existence, the universe.

The universe, naturally, includes us. So, when you are chanting Om, you are joining your prana, your life force, with all beings chanting with you and with the whole universe. You are putting energy back into this eternal system. Cool!

If anything symbolizes our interconnectedness, it is Om.  When I chant Om, I am reminded that we are all more alike than different. We are all intimately connected through our prana. So, the next time you are inclined to act unkindly toward someone, remember Om. Remember you are part of the same universal energy as that person. Chant Om, feel the connection. Be universally beautiful.