Welcome, Mat: Three Great Yoga Mats by Boston-Area Designers
When used with the accompanying DVD, the targets and grid lines drawn on Yoga by Numbers’ proprietary mat encourage a Twister-like approach to learning yoga.
Plank’s super-smooth, graphic mats get grippy when activated by heat, which helps build a better foundation and improve alignment, according to owner-designer Doreen Hing.
Designed in a Beacon Hill apartment, Tomuno mats are thick, with 5 millimeters of natural rubber for optimal wrist and knee comfort. One caveat, though: Because salt from sweat degrades the material, it’s recommended that these mats be used only during non-heated practices.
A light-up mat invented by MIT students is awaiting patent: LEDs embedded in the rubber inform yogis when poses are perfect, or in need of adjustment.
The Science Behind the Stretch
Forbes called Boston the seventh-biggest yoga city in the U.S. It’s fitting, then, that the Hub is also at the forefront of mind-body-medicine, yoga, and meditation research. To wit: According to a Boston Medical Center study, just one yoga class a week can replace medications for back pain; a Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center study found that yoga and meditation may slow the onset of Alzheimer’s; and a Northeastern University study found that people who meditate are more compassionate than those who don’t.
Other local researchers are looking at the effects of yoga on depression. The latest work of Harvard Medical School assistant professor Sat Bir Khalsa, for example, examines whether the practice can help kids cope with chronic stress and reduce the psychological risk factors that lead to drug and alcohol abuse.
Get Your Om On
There’s a studio for yogis of every stripe.
Want to shake things up? Try Back Bay Yoga Studio.
This venue offers several thumping hip-hop, black-light, and combined classes every week. Sign up early, because these lively sessions sell out.
Feeling blue? Try Soulful Yoga Therapy.
For the past five years, Kate Graham has specialized in using therapy yoga to treat depression, anxiety, and trauma. Her approach also promotes healing, balance, and vitality—useful for anyone looking for a tune-up.
Into the classics? Try Down Under Yoga.
Bringing yoga back to its Indian roots, studio director Justine Wiltshire Cohen eschews star endorsements and $100 yoga pants. Go here for a solid heated or non-heated practice.
Willing to sweat buckets? Try Sadhana Yoga.
This South End spot’s all-levels class is a heated flow that’s great for untying knots—and leaving you completely drained of all negative thoughts.