We Tried It: Yoga by Numbers

This take-home guide, complete with a numbered mat and DVD, can help anyone get over their yoga fears.

Yoga by Numbers Downward Dog photo by Lauren Engel

Yoga by Numbers photos by Lauren Engel

Have you ever taken a yoga class and felt like you could be playing Twister? Yoga by Numbers, an instructional mat that we profiled when it was still in its Kickstarter phase, uses the idea of that classic kid’s game (you know, left hand green, right foot red) to break down each yoga position so that anyone can understand it. The DVD gives you detailed instructions on how to do each position based on the mat with a numbered grid on it. In 10 short sessions, each about three minutes long, you won’t just learn all 30 positions, you’ll learn how to do them correctly.

What you get:

In the starter package you get one extra large, durable and premium quality yoga mat. You also get the “10 Sessions to Yoga” DVD, which you’ll probably go through very fast, and a carrying strap to help you move the hefty mat. In total, this package costs $119.95.

What you need:

A DVD player and lots of space because this mat is HUGE. Also, make sure to wear clothes you can stretch in.

How it works:

The sessions teach three positions and are ordered like a real yoga class. It starts with the basics, then moves into slightly more complicated positions, and it ends in savasana. Each position is explained based on the grid on the mat, which works for people of all sizes and flexibility. In an orientation session of the DVD, creator Elizabeth Morrow explains how you can modify each position for your body. Though the numbers are helpful, Morrow says that it’s really just a guide, and so it’s okay if you deviate.


Who’s it for:

Yoga by Numbers isn’t exactly for yoga aficionados, it’s mostly for beginners. Your first yoga class can be a little intimidating, and this kit is a great way to get started and rid yourself of any yoga apprehension you may have. Yoga by Numbers is also helpful for someone who has tried yoga but feels confused when in a class, because this package explains the steps slowly and in great detail. You can use Yoga by Numbers while taking yoga classes as to further understand what you do in class, or you can complete the program first and then take a class.

The Bottom Line:

Yoga by Numbers is not a workout or a yoga class. It should be your go-to yoga guide when you want to deepen your practice by learning the proper way to do the poses. The in-depth instruction will help you feel confident in any yoga class you attend. The gridded mat is mostly helpful for alignment, but if you worry too much about getting your hands and feet exactly on the right numbers you may miss some of Morrow’s valuable instructions. And although Yoga by Numbers is a great starting point for beginners, after you finish the sessions and feel confident in your practice, I wonder if there will be a use for the mat or the DVD? Because the mat is such high quality, I’m hopeful they will come out with more advanced DVDs so you can keep putting that numbered mat to good use.

For more information check out yogabynumbers.org