Sports Minded Review: Gaiam Mind-Body Fitness

Monday, July 23, 2007, Inc
One of the most appealing aspects of Eastern Philosophy is the diversity of disciplines; there is a specialty to accommodate the needs of virtually any potential student. For many, this diversity can be overwhelming. How exactly does one pick a specialty when one knows practically nothing about it? My response to the "Do you do yoga" question for years was, "Uh, I'm looking into it." Combine this feeling of being overwhelmed with foreign philosophy and antiquated language and it’s easy to see why it took practices like yoga so long to catch on in Western Culture. And really, it's hard to expect a person to decide whether they want to study Kundalini, Sivananda, Vinyasa, or Iyengar when they can barely pronounce them let alone keep straight the differences between them.

Yoga For Beginners DVD
Yoga for Beginners I

Available at:

The recent trend is to make some of these practices more accessible to the average person by focusing on ability level. Some of the more intense spiritual elements of the practices are toned down or eliminated, and basic theories and elements from several disciplines may be combined in beginning level classes. This allows people just starting out in their practice to get a feel for a variety of disciplines, and then specialize based on what they find they enjoy the most or what works the best for them. One of the leaders of this de-mystification movement has been a company called Gaiam, which is probably the top producer of mind-body fitness products on the market today. This being the case, I decided to take a peek at what they offer in the "Mind-Body Fitness" section of their site.

Well, for starters you can find pretty much anything you would ever need to practice yoga or pilates at Gaiam. Actually their instructional videos for any discipline are probably the best out there, but their Yoga for Beginners I and Yoga for Beginners II DVDs with instructor Patricia Walden were recently rated as the top instructional videos available to beginners by several exercise magazines, including Shape, and each has sold millions of copies.

They also have a whole host of products for general fitness and meditation. One of the coolest was The Balance Ball Chair, which costs about the same as any office chair and has the added benefit of improving your core fitness the entire time you're on it.

Batik Yoga Mat Bag
Batik Yoga Mat Bag
icon$8.99 (was $20-- save 55%!)
Available at:

Concerned about the waste generated by all the plastic water bottles that are the by-product of the bottled water revolution? Gaiam has a portable water-bottle that will filter tap water for you. This is also completely cool if you run out of water at the gym and have to resort to the gym water fountains, which are usually... sketchy at best.

One of the greatest things about Gaiam, besides the fact that they are an Earth-Conscious company, is that they really focus on quality so anything you get from them is going to be high end, be it a mat strap or instructional video. Really, it's hard to go wrong with anything they offer. Batik yoga mat bags are on sale right now though, get 'em before they're gone!

Click on any photo or linked text to link directly to where you can purchase that mind-body fitness item, or browse all of the eco-chic offerings at Don't miss any Sports Minded columns. Subscribe to Stiletto Jungle and get free updates by e-mail or RSS.

Hannah Foster is the Stiletto Jungle Sports & Fitness Editor. Hannah's current athletic pursuits include snowboarding, motocross, yoga, and avoiding the high school guys in the gym. She's played soccer, volleyball, and football competitively, loves swimming, hates running, and is certain being Captain of a 30 girl cheerleading squad gave her grey hair. Her degree is in biology/genetics.

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