Yoga can be relaxing and provide pain relief. It can also be very strenuous. Regardless of what kind of yoga you do, you’ll probably want a mat, and there are plenty to choose from. So how can you make the right choice? What factors should you look for?
Yoga mats range from ultra-thin, compact travel styles weighing less than two pounds to 1/4-inch thick mats that weigh up to seven pounds. For your first yoga mat, you may want to try a standard 1/8-inch (3.175mm) thickness. However, if you primarily enjoy restorative yoga, a style with fewer poses that you hold longer, you may prefer a softer, more cushioned mat. Thicker mats are also more comfortable for forearm and kneeling poses and for yogis with tender knees or achy joints. Keep in mind that thicker mats make can be difficult when balancing during long-duration poses. Finally, if your yoga plans include air travel, look for a travel yoga mat that`s specifically designed for portability, like the travel mats Jade sells.
With the popularity of practicing yoga, some companies have started marketing expensive options for mats. However, there is no need to make a heavy investment in a yoga mat. You can easily find good options at affordable prices.
For beginners, you can always buy a standard sticky mat from Gaiam to get started. Kulae mats are another good brand for yoga mats although not as popular.
If you want a forever mat and are willing to pay extra for a premium brand, Jade and Manduka are valid options.
Yoga mats are made out of various materials, such as PVC, rubber, cotton, and jute. All these materials offer different types of durability and grip, so you can make your decision based on your individual needs and desires. If you like to consider the environment, look for a 100% natural rubber yoga mat that is compostable.
Stickiness is one of the major benefits of a yoga mat. If your mat slips a lot while you’re doing yoga, that can interrupt your flow, and even cause injury, so be sure to find a mat that is sticky enough.
Don’t let a mat decision keep you from starting a yoga practice. You can get by without a mat, or pick up a mat at a local discount store. Once you are further into your practice, you can then decide which is the perfect mat for you.