Infrared Hot Yoga: Steam Room or Sauna

SweatyYoga

Hot Yoga comes in two flavors: stream room or sauna.

Most yoga studios (in SoCal at least) resembles a steam room that heats up water in the air and then disperses it. Infrared hot yoga resembles a sauna by sending safe infrared heat instead of hot steam throughout the room.

My first question was: is it safe?
Yes. Infrared heat penetrates the body but claims that it is not harmful like UV rays from the sun. It is so safe that hospitals use this type of heating system to keep delicate new borns warm.

My second question: what are the benefits?
Since the far infrared rays penetrate the body with microns, deep tissue activation and relaxation can occur at a more efficient pace. Visit Poe Yoga for a detailed breakdown of the natural micron that your body emits. The rays reflect heat from objects around the room, similar to how the sun reflects heat. The lack of water dispersion involved means that there are less chances for mold to grow.

Personally, when I come out of a hot yoga studio I’m never sure if I’m producing sweat because of the hard work I just put out or if the studios steam machine was set on high towards my mat. With infrared yoga, your body’s energy output is the only source of moisture.

Light Up Yoga Mat: Glow Mat

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Put 15 MIT students in a Product Engineering Processes class and you get a light-up yoga mat.

So what makes this one different from the SmartMat and TERA yoga mats?

Plug it in and Glow Mat hooks up to the user’s computer to give guided assistance according to personal profiles. Using pressure censors to record body weight distribution and LEDs on the mat to visually guide users, the Glow Mat seems very similar to TERA. The only difference thus far is Glow Mat’s yoga-mat shape instead of TERA’s circle-rug shape, and the connectivity. Glow Mat connects to a computer while TERA is used through an app.

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The LEDs are protected by pvc foam, all layered underneath silicone which is the surface that is exposed.

Glow Mat offers a workout summary at the end of its user’s work out session, but the most unique feature that I find is the option of learning poses by flowing through a sequence or learning poses individually. With only a prototype in existence, eager adopters of high-tech yoga mats may find themselves going with TERA or Smart Mat in 2015.

Wearable Yoga Technology: Athos

Athos is truly groundbreaking in its advanced real-time technology. Biosignal technology is built into training tops and bottoms to monitor muscle activity, heart rate, and breath rate. The combination of these sensors is supposed to track performance to enhance a more efficient workout.

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Connected by a “core” via bluetooth, the core collects data on your performance and sends it to your device. Only one core is needed even while wearing both outfit pieces.

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The core can determine breath, heart rate and muscle output and displays this data in real time as you perform. Athos’ gear is designed to enhance the human experience and allow its users to receive details of their performance. This would give valuable insight into the user’s training and allow them to become even more efficient now that they are able to analyze their body’s output in a way that could never have been done before. Athos wearable technology shouldn’t only be limited to working out, but can be highly beneficial for medical uses due to its ability to work as an injury-prevention tool.

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Athos’ limited choices presents one long-sleeve shirt for women, capris for women, and the same outfit for men all at $99 a piece. Although limited in style, each piece of clothing is offered in a generous array of sizes ranging from xs-xxl (specific measurements provided). The core, being the brain of the system, is $199 and can be used with the shirt or pants. A whole set can be reserved from Athos’ website for $397 and will be shipped in January.

SmartMat: #1 Most Successful Yoga Crowdfunding Campaign

Why is crowd funding so powerful? It represents the needs and wants of normal people being met by other people just like themselves. The ideas being campaigned are powered by the integrity of the product and inventor, not by the bank roll of giant corporations shamelessly marketing its own ideas upon society. Crowdfunding is the result of the collective effort of individuals who believe in an idea.

SmartMat is the most successful crowdfunding campaign for yoga, reaching its goal within 24 hours. Raising $300,000 for its campaign, SmartMat promises to bring a yoga mat that may cause yoga studios to become obsolete.

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The mat is interactive to its user, offering adjustments to achieve the perfect pose. Although nothing can replace human intuition, the mat is supposed to help with pose, alignment and balance based on censors in the yoga mat. The mat connects via app to respond to its user.

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SmartMat has 3 modes for home use, class use, or zen mode which performs like a regular, non-interactive yoga mat. Its $447 price tag may be alarming, but we’ll see how many people will pay to speed up their yoga practice in 2015.

Non-slip Yoga Mat Technology Review: Kulae

Kulae boasts its new tpECOmat™ designed with traction-inducing rubber and TPE technology to eliminate bacteria growing on their yoga mats. The new technology in this yoga mat seems promising in solving some of the most common yoga frustrations.

First, the smell. Second, the embarrassing and frustrating moment that you have to stop your flow to adjust your mat. Never having to slip around and readjust? Never having to clean another yoga mat again? I’m sold! Before diving into buying what seems to be a life-changing mat, here’s a review of what Kulae’s tpECOmat offers.

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Kulae epECOmat: $48-$78

The epECOmat line comes in 3mm for $48, 5mm for $58, and 8mm for $78. All of the mats in this line are 100% biodegradable, 100% recyclable, and contain no PVC, latex, cadmium, lead or rubber. Found in other yoga mats, these materials are known to cause allergic reactions. epECOmat seems to provide a truly eco-friendly mat free of chemical huss and fuss. These mats have dual layers which provide two color options. They also provide extra grip that surpass the grip found in other yoga mats by using TPE. This material uses closed cell technology, which means that bacteria and germs cannot linger in the mat, which is what happens with most natural rubber mats. To sum it up, you get a non-slip, anti-bacterial yoga mat that is also eco-friendly.

See more at: http://www.kulae.com/#sthash.yLhE6aJa.dpuf

For the features that this mat can offer, $48 doesn’t seem like a high price to pay for a stink-free, frustration-free mat.

Best Free iPhone Yoga Apps

Looking for a way to carry out your yoga practice without hitting the studio? Searching for yoga apps may be overwhelming, but the search for free yoga apps leaves you with a choice of two popular free apps: Daily Yoga and Simply Yoga. For your at-home yoga session there are numerous amounts of paid yoga apps. However, I’m going to review the two iPhone yoga apps that offer a free trial.

Daily Yoga

Daily Yoga

Best for:

  • Quick yoga sessions
  • Relaxing yoga
  • Serene background music
  • Quick guide to yoga poses

If you’re looking for a relaxing and slow-paced yoga session, Daily Yoga offers 5,10, or 15 minute sessions in their free trial. These sessions are guided by a calming female voice with what I depict is an Asian accent, seeing that the app features three Asian instructors. Although the sessions flow together pose by pose, she explains how to get in and out of poses but offers very little adjustment reminders or little tweaks that keeps your poses in check. Daily Yoga is not as engaging as Simply Yoga when it comes to sessions, but it does offer plenty of other features. There is a pose dictionary that allows users to click on a thumbnail of a pose to summon a short video on how to perform that pose. There is also a surprisingly wide variety of background music to choose from.

Simply Yoga

Simply yoga free

Best for:

  • Long yoga sessions
  • At-home yoga instructor vibe
  • Personal tracking system

If you’re looking for something that is more engaging, Simply Yoga replicates a yoga instructor better than Daily Yoga. You are given explanations of the pose, guided adjustments, and clear instructions. However, sessions do not flow from pose to pose but instead uses mountain pose to end and start almost every single pose. With Simply Yoga, users are given the option of 20, 40 or 60 minute sessions which mimics studio sessions more closely. As far as other app features, users can choose to play an ocean wave background, make a personal profile, and set reminders for their next yoga session. Even though Simply Yoga does not offer a pose dictionary, users can play a video that allows them to skip through a video to select instructions for a pose.

Both are great apps for at-home yoga sessions so I’d suggest to download both (they’re free anyway!) and explore!

Revolutionary Yoga Mat: Tera

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LUNAR introduces a product that allows home fitness equipment to be easily assimilated into the home habitat with TERA.

TERA, a revolutionary fitness mat that interacts with the user’s motions to improve balance, poses, and acts as a guideline for performing poses correctly. Designed by LUNAR, a European fitness company, this mat is unique in its shape, reflecting the full-range circular motion of the body’s movement. It also lays as a decorative rug.

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The mat lights up with LED lights that respond to your pressure. It guides your safe transitions between workouts by illuminating where your body should be placed next and senses your incorrect weight distribution then guides you to correct it. Paired up with an app that leads the workout, the user simply follows the instructions and tips provided on screen.

Personally as a yoga enthusiast, my yoga practice is performed on a sacred, sweaty mat that I wouldn’t want laid out for the world to casually chit chat over. This would be an interesting item of conversation to have in the home purely for novelty purposes, but would definitely need to provide more value than it currently does to be considered as a fitness equipment or a piece of home decoration.

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