From ancient times, people practice Yoga on grass or ground, then on skins of animals. (There are some very critical circumstances over the use of mats made of animal skins). Yoga mat might or might not be the top priority for a Yoga performer all the time though.
If you mainly seated meditation on a carpeted floor, you will be just fine. Yet, if you intend to stand or balance on your hands, spend time on your abdomen or back or knees, or performing any trickier postures, making use of a mat offers a bit of protection for sensitive skin and provides better cushioning than bare grounds or traditional mats.
A good yoga mat cushions your spine and provides a hygienic barrier against dust, splinters, and anything else you might pick up from the floor. It offers a stable, nonslip surface so you do not need to fret about sliding or falling.
Must read – What does Yoga have to offer?
Not all mats are created the same, so ensure you know what kind is right for you. Use this article to guide you in finding a good yoga mat— the one that suits your practice, priorities, lifestyle, values, and budget.
How to choose a best Yoga Mat
Several years ago, there used to be PVC material yoga mats available at stores that were famous for stickiness and that too in basic purple or blue color. Today, there’s a yoga mat to fit every priority and preference with the option of favorite color, design, and pattern.
Your yoga mat needs to maintain you stable in your positions; it needs to be storable and also mobile, yet comfortable. You might also desire your floor covering to be eco- friendly.
These elements will take to some buying points like; how the mat is made: how thick it is, what it’s made from, and its surface texture.
Dimensions to be considered
Yoga mats typically range from 1/16 of an inch to 1/4 of an inch in thickness.
Thin Yoga mat – A thin yoga mat is about 1/16-inch thick is suitable for practicing balance postures, providing you a strong connection to the ground. The drawback to thin mats is that it provides less cushioned support for you. Thin mats are good if you’re traveling; they fold up down small and light, yet do not provide much cushioning comparatively.
Thick Yoga mat – A 1/4-inch yoga mat is thought about thick and considered more ideal for back support during core work, inversions, and other postures that cause your bones to dig into the ground. The thicker a mat is, the heavier it is and the harder to fold, though it additionally offers more cushioning.
Most yoga mats are either 68 or 72 inches long, but you can also buy extra-short or extra-long types, as short as 5 feet or as long as 7 feet.
Picking a yoga mat thickness and length is again a matter of personal preference. I usually prefer to use a 1/8 inch thick with 72 inches long for daily purposes.
Material type is important
The material of a mat will figure out the texture, stickiness, sponginess, and eco-friendliness. Mats made of less-sticky materials often have responsive tactile patterns to provide extra grip.
PVC – Vinyl mats last a long period of time and can be found in many yoga classes. According to Consumer Reports, PVC yoga mats may contain lead and cadmium. Some yoga mats also consist of phthalates which could actually link to hormone disruption. PVC mats often tend to be sticky and smooth.
Rubber – Rubber mats usually have jute and cotton in them making them more eco-friendly. Yet they appear to be less spongy.
There are many eco-friendly yoga mats available online (1) or at stores made of plant fibers, toxin-free or biodegradable plastics, and natural rubber latex.
And texture too!!
The mat’s texture will be specified with the amount of traction it has. The mats have two sides, the bumpy one and the other is shinier. The bumpy texture offers more grip than the shining part.
If you sweat a lot in yoga class or have joined a hot yoga session, a grippy mat will keep you from slipping about. If the bumpy texture bothers you, make sure the smooth mat has a moisture control mechanism.
Some brands offer a reversible mat that’s usable on either side, depending on your practice. One offers more sweat-wicking capabilities for a hot yoga class and the other a little more convenient for a gentler session.
Below are a couple of hints that inform you which side is “up” when it comes to using a mat.
You must be aware that making use of the wrong side of the mat can have very real implications for your practice. Rather than using a sticky surface on which you find a grip, you may end up sliding into postures you never intended to do.
- The logo or Tag should face up.
- Some yoga mats made from a combination of polyurethane, rubber, and latex don’t feature nubs — the material itself is grippy. Usually, these mats have a shinier side that should face up for practice.
- If both sides of your mat are rough or bumpy, look for the one with more pronounced bumps, as this is likely the side that should be face up.
It also need care…
Even a good yoga mat will resist the regular wear and tear of use, and stubbornly resist smells. But even the best yoga mat requires regular care to perform its best.
It is recommended to rub your mat with normal or slightly warm water along with a couple of drops of detergent or dish soap, wiping it clean, gently rubbing with a cloth, and then allow it to dry.
Keep your Yoga mat well folded or rolled and tied, or should to be kept in mat covering box.
Typically, a basic 1/8 inch thick, plain solid-color PVC sticky yoga mat will be toward the low end of the price range. From there you may pay more for patterns, designs or logos; premium thickness, antimicrobial treatments, and cool textures, especially raised tactile patterns. Eco-friendly yoga mats tend to be toward the high end of the price range.