How to choose a yoga mat:
If you're interested in yoga, you'll need a mat. Yoga mats come in a variety of shapes and are made from many different materials. If you want a yoga mat, you should consider a variety of factors. Think about your personal needs, especially in regards to the type of yoga you perform. You should also think about the type of material you want. Also, think about physical aspects of the mat, like texture and thickness.
Consider your needs
- Consider your body type: The type of mat you need depends on your body type. Standard yoga mats are 1/8th of an inch thick and can go up to 1/4th of an inch. A standard yoga mat is 68 inches but can go up to 100 inches long.
- If your joints get sore easily, invest in a thicker mat.
- If you are more than 5’6” tall, try getting stretched yoga mat.
- Look into your type of yoga: The type of yoga you will be doing can also affect the kind of mat you should purchase. Also consider your yoga level before purchasing a mat.
If you are new to yoga, its OK to go with a basic (starter) yoga mat.
b. Flow yoga classes require more complex movements, and you’ll need a mat with more traction to keep your arms and legs in place. For yin classes, you’ll primarily be sitting on the ground, so grip is less important. You can go for a soft cushy mat.
c. For hot yoga, choose a mat specifically designed for this type of yoga. These mats prevent your sweat being absorbed while providing a good grip.
- Consider where you are doing yoga: If you are doing yoga at a studio and you have to carry your mat, invest in a light weight yoga mat (and a carry bag). You can also look into the yoga carrying bag having additional pockets to carry yoga blocks, water bottle etc.,
Choosing a material:
- PVC Mats: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is one of the most commonly used materials to make yoga mats. However, some studies indicate that it might be carcinogen and its hard to recycle. So keep this in mind while purchasing.
- Try a rubber mat: Many yogi’s prefer natural rubber to PVC mats esp. when you are starting out. They are easy to find and somewhat inexpensive.
- Use a padded mat: Padded mats are a lot softer and more comfortable than regular yoga mats. A padded yoga mat consists of an inside portion made of foam and an outer removable cloth covering.
- These mats could be great for yoga that involves sitting or lying down. They provide a lot more support. However they do not provide a lot of grip. You might find yourself slipping and falling during certain poses when using a padded mat.
- These mats can only be partially washed – only the outer cloth layer. The foam is non-washable.
- Look into cotton: Some yoga mats are simply made of cotton. Many prefer cotton because its natural & eco-friendly. Cotton mats also retain more sweat and is washable. Although its soft, it provides more grip than a padded mat.
- Consider a non-slip mat: Non-slip mats, also known as sticky mats, are designed to allow you to move into many different positions. If you are doing a rigorous form of yoga, consider a non-slip mat.
Other Aspects of a mat:
- Consider texture: Texture can make a difference in terms of your comfort. Stickier mats tend to have rough texture – while this can irritate skin, they can also provide good grip. If you prefer a smooth mat, consider a PVC mat (look for an eco-friendly option).
- Consider thickness: Consider 1/8th of an inch – 1/6th of an inch in thickness if you are new to yoga and you travel with your yoga mat.
- Consider storage: Consider a mat that’s made of lightweight material and rolls up easy. Make sure that the mat is easy to maneuver so you will not have to worry about storing it.
- Consider accessories: Consider purchasing a carrying case of your mat as well as buckle to secure your mat after you roll it up.
- Consider price: Yoga mats vary greatly in prices. A 1/8th inch thick PVC mat with no padding, stickiness or other frills will be your cheapest option. If you are serious about yoga, consider investing in high quality mat with additional features like padding, stickiness etc.,
Sources & Citations: