How to Pick or Choose a Right Yoga Mat (Thickness, Size, Price, Etc)
You have many options when you choose a yoga mat for practicing yoga. There are different yoga mats designed for different types of people. Sometimes it is very confusing and you may end up selecting a wrong mat. You have to check a lot of things before you choose a yoga mat for yourself. Some of the factors to keep in mind for choosing the right yoga mat are as follows:
Tips for Buying First Yoga Mat:
Try to buy a mat that you can store easily. If you choose mats that do not roll, storing them is really a difficult task. It is better if you choose light weight mats. You can roll them easily and also store them and carry them around without any difficulty.
When you buy a yoga mat, make sure to check the surface of the mat. Look for a non-slip mat as this will protect you from slipping especially when you are going to do more vigorous forms of yoga. Non-slip yoga mats will give you the grip you require, no matter how much you move your body. You can also choose a non-stick mat. These mats have a rough texture and may irritate your skin if your skin is very sensitive. But it is very useful when you practice the intense yoga poses.
Usually a yoga mat is 1/8 inches thick. For beginners a mat with 1/6 inch thickness is better. These mats are also easy to roll, so that you can carry it with ease. If you have any joint problems or if you are practicing Yin yoga, then you should choose a yoga mat with ¼ inch thickness.
Price of the mat is also important when you buy yoga mat. 1/8 inch thick yoga mat with no frills is considered the cheapest mat. But they are not very durable. If you are really serious about your yoga practice, then you should buy a more expensive one that is durable. There are various good brands selling yoga mat. You can buy one that suites your requirements. Mats with padding, non-stick and sticky surfaces etc are more costly. You may not buy them if you do not require these features.
What Is Your Body Type?
You should choose yoga mat according to your body type. If you are petite and slim, you can go for a mat that is padded, as your body has less cushioning due to the lack of fat on your body. The correct yoga mat for you is one with ¼ inch thickness. You can choose thicker mats even if you have sore joints, as they help you perform yoga comfortably.
For healthy people, with some fat on their body, yoga mat with 1/8 inch thickness is perfect. A standard yoga mat is of 68 inches long. If you are tall, you may choose a longer mat. If your height is below or around 5’6”then you can choose a standard yoga mat. If you are taller, then you can choose a super stretched yoga mat.
Yoga Mat material:
- PVC mats – The basic yoga mats are mostly made with this material. It is cheap and affordable. But these are not recommended for yogis. PVC is carcinogenic. So, it is not good for you nor is it environment friendly. It is also hard to recycle. So, if you care for your health and the environment, it will be a better idea to avoid using this mat.
- Rubber mats – These mats are soft and very comfortable. The insides of these mats are usually made of foam, covered with cloth. It offers better support than an average mat, but the grip you get on this mat is lesser. Moreover, you can wash only the covering cloth and not the foam.
- Cotton mats – Cotton mats are made of natural fibres and easily available in the market. They are soft and absorb sweat, you can also wash these mats. It offers you more grip than the padded mats.
Yoga Mat Accessories:
If you practice yoga regularly, then you should buy accessories for your yoga mat. A cotton handle, a carrying case etc. are some of the accessories you can buy.
Yoga Practicing place:
The place of practice is also important when you choose toga mat. If you are practicing it at home, you can choose a basic yoga mat. If anywhere else, a lightweight mat is more appropriate. This way you will be able to carry it with ease. If you love travel, then you can buy a second mat to use when you are travelling.
If you are learning yoga for the first time, it is advisable that you choose a basic yoga mat that is cheaper. So, if after a few weeks you feel that you are not comfortable with practicing yoga, you may not feel guilty that you have bought a costly yoga mat. If you feel that the yoga mat is not fit for you, you may change it and buy a new one that suits your requirements.
For Vinyasa yoga, choose a yoga mat with some more friction so that your hands and legs do not slip, as this yoga includes a lot of complex movements.
Yin yoga involves slow and intense movements. So you will need a soft and cushioned yoga mat.
Hot yoga or Bikram yoga is done in a heated room. So, the yoga mat should be such that it does not absorb sweat. This way it will last longer. Basic yoga mat gets easily damaged when you do this yoga.