What to Know Before Buying a Yoga Mat
For effective yoga mats, you need to get one that suits your preference. Yoga mats range in terms of texture, stickiness, portability, size, weight, pattern, colors and general functions. They also provide a certain atmosphere for meditation and moving to a different sphere. You can either buy it for use at home or in your yoga classes. It is not compulsory to have a yoga mat, but it is advisable to have one when practicing yoga.
Why you need a yoga mat
For starters, yoga mats help you to mark your territory during a yoga lesson. It will help you relax in your space and perform the tasks assigned by the instructor with no distractions. Also, get one that provides extra space when you are on it and when stretching.
They are ideal for protecting your body, knees, joints, arms and all other sensitive parts. They provide good cushioning for the body. If you have body aches at times it's practical to have a yoga mat that will provide adequate cushioning and comfort.
A yoga mat is important when you are on a slippery, rough or dirty surface. That’s why it is important to find a mat that has a grip and great padding. A natural rubber mat is ideal for easy folding and unfolding and for portability. They are highly recommended for hygiene purposes.
It helps define your space and brings a feeling of safety and security while performing the poses. This also helps to create a relaxing mood.
It also helps in body alignment; the front edge can be used to line up your fingers or toes. Alternatively, you can mark your mat with tape to indicate the placement of the feet, fingers and shoulder distance.
What to Know Before Buying a Yoga Mat
Before buying a yoga mat, there are certain considerations that you should make:
1. Consider the grip and texture of the mat
When shopping for a yoga mat, you need to get one that won’t slide around when you are on it. Neither should your palms nor your feet slide while performing any yoga exercise. However, if you get a slippery one, you may roll it on the concrete outside to get rid of the slippery surface on the mat.
Also, the yoga mat should be padded enough for building joints, muscle strength and preventing any form of injury while using it. However, it should not have a giant piece of foam that is more ideal for the gym or sleeping.
The texture of the mat highly matters; the sticky texture causes more sliding while in use. The mat needs to be made from rubber, natural cotton or jute and have a raised tactile pattern. Look for a non-skid gripping surface to ensure your sweaty style of yoga doesn’t affect it.
2. Opt for a PVC-free mat and light-weight
An ideal mat should not be made from PVC; rather, natural rubber that is more suitable. The PVC material tends to be toxic and can affect you. The yoga mat also needs to have a balance of lightness and thickness. If it is light-weight it won’t trouble you while carrying it around during yoga classes. If it is portable, you can travel with it easily.
3. Find one that fits your budget
You need to purchase a cost-effective yoga mat. However, don’t settle for cheap which will cost you in the form of your comfort and health. High-quality yoga mats are long-lasting and won’t wear out fast. Ensure it is also made from environmentally friendly materials. The brand also matters and you should check the reputation of the manufacturer.
4. Yoga style and personal lifestyle
The yoga style that you practice is also essential in finding the kind to buy. This will help you know the thickness of the mat to buy, its absorbent nature to water/sweat, and the traction. You need to find a yoga mat that motivates you. It should also be made from recyclable materials. Always remember that the yoga mat’s pattern, size, and color matter a lot.
5. Aesthetic nature
Get a yoga mat that is pleasant to look at, and you will enjoy using it. The mat should motivate you to go to yoga classes or perform yoga exercises at home. They come in a variety of colors to choose from. Some have lines for proper alignment. They are ideal but can be a form of distraction if you have a weak attention span. Also, ensure that it is interesting and beautiful.
6. Right size
The size (length and width) of the mat depends on your physical appearance. If you are tall, you need to find one that is long, and vice versa. There are also round options that you can go for if it suits you more. However, they are most suitable for home use than in crowded places due to the space they occupy.
A standard yoga mat has a thickness of 1/8” with the thickest being ¼” thick. However, you can play around with the thickness; either thinner or thicker, depending on your preference. Thinner yoga mats are ideal for traveling. If you have sensitive joints, you should get a thicker mat. The downside of this is that it reduces stability even with the comfort it offers.
8. Environmental Sustainability
Yoga mats need to be environmentally sustainable and be socially responsible. They need to be made from eco-friendly materials that won’t affect the environment. If you want a travel yoga mat, find one that is 1/16 inch thick and is light-weight for easy fitting in the suitcase. The material dictates its stickiness, eco-friendliness, resistance to pressure, grip, strength, and texture.
Always remember that thick mats can make you lose the strong connection with the floor and can affect you when trying out the tree pose. If you are allergic to latex, avoid yoga mats made of natural rubber. Also, the sponginess of the yoga mats depends on the brand. Jute texture tends to have a roughness while PVC has a slightly softer feel. However, there are a variety of yoga mats that range from soft to rough. Always test drive a yoga mat before purchasing it. Good traction is a major component of comfort and provides a physical barrier to injury.