Thing to consider when you’re choosing a yoga mat, and finding the right mat for you.
BY YJ Staff
We did some long, hard hours of in-depth research (okay, we asked some instructors we know), and have some up with the definitive article on how to buy the perfect yoga mat for you. That’s the important bit: it’s for you. Yoga mats are extremely personal items, much like a toothbrush, you’ll probably never share it and it has to be right for your body, your practice and your lifestyle. Sure, there’s heaps of advice on what mat to buy for different situations: travel, beginners, hot yoga, etc. But that misses the point. The best yoga mat is the one you like best. It’s the one that will make you want to roll it out; Choosing the right yoga mat means you’ll need to know yourself, as much as you need to know about the constitution of the mat. So, without further ado, let’s start.
Choose the Yoga Mat You Like the look of.
Sounds simple enough, but it should be the foundation of your search, in several instructor’s opinions. The reasoning goes that if you like how it looks (and feels, but we’ll get to that), then you’re more likely to use it. So if you want to do downward dog and see images of your holiday in Greece or pictures of your two cats, then that should be the starting point.If that’s a bit too chintzy, go for a colour or pattern that makes you happy; that you want to see. This is your mat, your space and your time.
Chose the Yoga Mat with the right thickness
Yoga mats range in thickness from 4mm up to 10mm. The most popular thickness is 4mm. Beginners are often tempted to get thicker mats, thinking they’ll be more comfortable. They are, in floor poses, but in standing poses, like Tree, they can make maintaining your balance very difficult. However, if you’re planning on doing lots of Yin or restorative classes, where you’ll be lying down, you could go thicker.
Choosing the right feel
This hard to gauge as it’ll comprise of the material the mat’s made of, it’s thickness and texture. Most important is its slipperiness. If you get a sweat up, and you will, especially in hot yoga, does your new mat turn into a slip’n’ slide? This is hard to gauge, but you can get an idea by looking at the texture and material and rolling it out in the store and get into down dog.
Choose the right material.
We’d suggest you steer away for simple cheap PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) mats. The main ingredient in PVC is vinyl chloride, which is a known human carcinogen. Rubber mats are popular, as are rubber and jute fibre. Suffice to say there and there’s a truckload of cool eco-friendly mats out there, and that’s another post. We like this one.
Choose the right weight
A lot of blogs talk about weight, and is should have some consideration, but really, if you’re one-kilogram yoga mat’s too heavy to carry from the car to the class, then you’re going to have trouble doing yoga at all. And some cite travel considerations, suggesting more compact mats. Again, if you’re flying to Europe (and no-one’s flying anywhere atm) you’d take your mat as luggage, so these considerations seem superfluous.