A yoga mat is perhaps one of the essential props for your yoga practice, and hence it is vital to find the most suitable one. Especially given that it is available in too many types, it can be understandably tough for a beginner to sift through the options and arrive at a decision.
If you find yourself in this spot, consider the following aspects to purchase the right yoga mat for your yoga practice.
The yoga mats come in varying thickness, 1.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, and so on. The less thick the mat is, the easier it is to carry around.
Travel Mats: 1/1.5mm
Typically, a 1mm or 1.5mm mat are travel mats, which you can fold as a towel and fit it into your carry-on luggage. But they offer no cushioning, so it will be like practically practicing on the floor. The mat is just there to provide a better surface to practice on in terms of grip.
Regular Use Mats: 3-5mm
A 3mm mat would offer better cushioning than a 1mm mat and is considered practical for regular use, especially if you have to carry it back and forth to a studio. The 4mm and 5mm mats also fall in this category, it will be suitable for those who need better cushioning in the knees during their practice, but yes, it becomes a bit heavier to lug it around. So, try out a few in this category to see what feels right.
Also, note that mats of lesser thickness are ideal for dynamic practices. And if you use higher thickness mats, it is advisable to step out onto the floor for standing balance postures to achieve more stability.
Mats Ideal For Gentle Yoga: 5mm
Anything over 5mm is best for more gentle forms of yoga, and it offers more cushioning and comfort for the practitioner. But since it will be tough to carry, you can choose this option if your studio provides a good mat for practice, you don’t mind using it, and you want something nice and comfortable for your home practice.
Texture And Stickiness
Choosing the mat that offers the most effective grip is essential, especially for those with sweaty palms. This is because either you can easily slip and slide, thereby injuring yourself in dynamic practice or not gaining enough stability to stay in a pose in a static practice.
To test this feature out, try to get into a downward-facing dog pose on the mat. If you feel your palms have enough traction with the mat to sink deeper into the pose easily, it is the “one” for you.
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The stickiness factor is more critical for those yogis who enjoy hot yoga classes, wherein the stickier the mat is better as it offers better traction when the mat gets wet during the session.
But do not worry as most brands indicate aspects such as non-slip surface, suitable for the type of practice, etc., clearly so that you can have an idea of what you are getting into. Read the features of each mat on your list and compare which one matches your needs the most.
Type of material
Though the material of yoga mat might not be a significant consideration for a beginner, it does warrant some thought in the long term.
- Is Your Mat Eco-friendly?
PVC is the most common material used to produce mats. It is not just the cheaper ones but also high-end ones as it is durable and has a nice texture. However, yogis do not favour the PVC mats for being non-biodegradable. So, you can explore more eco-friendly options available such as those made of cotton, jute, or natural rubber.
- Note This If You Are Allergic
The type of material needs more consideration for those who have allergies. For instance, those with latex or rubber allergies should avoid if the mat contains such materials though it is otherwise a good option. Take some time to go through the details about the fabric details before making your choice.
By default, yoga mats are 6 feet (68 inches) long and 2 feet (24 inches) wide, and this will be just right for most unless you are quite tall, in which case you need to find a longer mat. Most of the popular brands offer an XL size variant. A quick check by lying down on the mat in Savasana will help you gauge if it is right for you.
Yoga mats typically can last up to a year or more depending on your usage, so it is worth investing in one if you are going to be committed to practicing yoga. Look around at the options available, maybe go out to a store and check out the look and feel to find the right yoga mat to purchase.