Beginners Guide To Choosing The Right Yoga Mat For You.
Not sure what mat is best for your practice? Your yoga mat will be your faithful companion on your yoga journey and a mat can make a real difference to your yoga session. If you are a beginner you may be wondering how exactly to choose the best yoga mat for your practice and lifestyle. There are so many mats in the market and we will break it down simply to that you can make an inform decision on your yoga mat purchase.
Most yoga mat is usually around 4mm thick, which is what most people would use. There are mat which are thin as 2mm. If you are a skinny person with a thin frame this type of mats might be too thin for you. Because you are skinny some postures like Floor Bow Pose (Dhanurasana), may hurt as your hip bone pressing against the earth. Also if you have joint pains or sensitive joints thin mat will hurt you. In this case, it's recommended to use a thicker yoga mat (5mm-6mm). However a thicker mat makes it hard to balance especially in standing postures, like Tree Pose. Thicker mats are usually bulkier makes it harder to carry around.
The texture of the mat will have a great effect on a Yoga routine. A mat should not slide away while doing Yoga. Textured pattern yoga mats naturally provide grip, and therefore they are less slippery.
Most common textured mats are rubber mats which has a nice layer of cotton or jute. These mats are great for more gentle types of yoga. The disadvantage of these types of mats is that the sweat can get into the textured layer and might create an unsanitary surface overtime.
The best textured mat option is the yoga mat made with Cork layer. Cork layer outlast and outperforms any other natural material and, best of all, it provides a non-slippery surface even when wet. Cork is 100% natural and eco-friendly. Anti-microbial properties in cork will resist bacteria, germs and smell.
Cork layered mats also come with natural rubber base. It has strong non-slippery effect. They are environmentally friendly and bio-degradable.
Generally smooth mat surfaces can be slippery. But keep in mind that there are yoga mats with smooth surfaces can be really great with traction and have good moisture control. These types of smooth mats give a “sticky” feel to create friction. When buying such a mat ensure that the stickiness of the mattress wont fade over too soon. Having said that we recommend avoid completely smooth PVC mats, since they are simply too slippery and they can be toxic to the environment. If its a smooth mat you desire we recommend mats made from natural rubber.
The material your yoga mat is one of the, if not the most important factor of choosing the next yoga mat. It will help you understand the texture, stickiness, comfort, and eco-friendliness. Most yoga mats, especially the inexpensive ones, are made of PVC. This is not the most eco-friendly option and we would advice against it even if its a cheaper option. PVC mats are harmful to the environment and can be toxic to the humans. Many Yoga experts recommend mats made from natural materials. Cork Mats are made from Natural Rubber (and/or Cotton and Jute) and they last a long time. Note although the mats made out of natural materials, manufacturers use toxic glues which contains metals, such as cadmium or lead. Contact your yoga mat supplier and ask for details.
If you’re allergic to latex do not use mats made from natural rubber. You can use another natural material, such as jute or cotton.
You could get a cheap mat for $10-$20 dollars or you can invest over $100 in a high-quality yoga mat from a popular brand. Your budget depends on several factors, not just the money in your bank. It also depends on how serious are you in practicing yoga? If you are quite serious in continuing to practice yoga then it's better to invest in a good quality mattress which last long and will pay off in the long run. Otherwise you can invest on a cheaper mattress but ensure that the mat is made from non-toxic material that can have an impact for your health and the environment.
Other factors worth knowing
- Location of the practice - Whether its outdoors or indoors
- Length of the mat - Although a standard mat is 168cm long if you are taller get a longer mat. When you lie down your whole body should be resting on the mat (in Savasana).
- Type of yoga practicing - Some yoga (Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Hot Yoga), will make you sweaty and therefore invest in a mat that wont loose traction when you sweat.
As you see there are many factors to consider when choosing a yoga mat. Understanding your needs in yoga practice and yoga objectives will guide you to your companion; the perfect yoga mat.
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