Choosing a New Yoga Mat for Your Yoga Classes
When it comes to practising yoga, one of the only pieces of equipment you’ll need for this is a good yoga mat. While you can add on yoga blocks and bolsters, these aren’t strictly needed to get started. However, practising on carpet and hard floors won’t offer you the same experience as using a yoga mat, which will also protect your joints from the hard floor beneath you. When it comes to choosing a yoga mat, you’ll see they are now made from a wide range of materials and come in a huge selection of patterns. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know to help guide you through purchasing your next yoga mat.
The Material for Your Yoga Mat
When it comes to the material that your yoga mat is made from, your number one consideration should be your comfort. Some people enjoy a thin mat, as they feel more connected to the floor, and it can be easier to balance during standing poses. However, a thicker mat can offer you extra padding, which is important for anyone who struggles with their knees during poses such as cat-cow. If you are naturally quite thin, you’ll probably find a thin mat very uncomfortable when it’s placed on a hard floor, so look for a medium to thick mat.
If you are using your mat for other workouts as well, you may want one with extra cushioning. 9mm yoga mats are the thicker size, but 6mm is considered to be a standard yoga mat size. Remember, the thicker your yoga mat, the heavier it will be. If you walk to your local studio, you want to ensure your mat is going to be portable and light enough to take to class with you each day. A thin mat would be 4mm in thickness but is more likely to get torn or worn out in the long run. However, if you enjoy this type of mat, you’ll find it to be a great option for your home sessions.
The Size of Your Yoga Mat
You may think that yoga mats only come in one shape and size, but there are various options available to suit everyone’s height and size. You need to ensure your yoga mat is around six inches taller than your body so that you have enough space to practice properly. A standard sized mat is about this size for the average woman, but you could always upgrade to an extra-long yoga mat if you are a taller man or woman. On top of that, you’ll find extra wide yoga mats, which offer you more space to move and roll around. This is great for when you are doing spinal twists on the floor, as you’ll enjoy having the support on either side of you.
Should You Buy a Sticky Mat?
Stickiness is something else you should consider when you are choosing a yoga mat. A sticky yoga mat can stop you from sliding all over the place. This is especially important if you do hot yoga or Ashtanga yoga, which are more intense, as you are likely to get very sweaty. Sticky mats are often made from PVC, and they are a good option for anyone who practices most days. However, you might find you prefer a more textured mat, but that will be a personal choice to decide whether you think it’s comfortable for your sessions. Make sure that whatever mat you purchase, you keep it clean so that it retains its texture and stickiness. Yoga mat wipes are ideal for cleaning your mat down quickly, and they will ensure it retains the non-slip surface you’ve purchased the mat for.
The Weight of Your Yoga Mat
We often spend so much time worrying about the size of the yoga mat that we overlook the weight of the mat. If you travel to and from yoga each day, you won’t want to carry about a mat that weighs 5lb. Of course, this is completely up to you, as you may drive to the studio every day and not have to worry about the weight of your mat. Some heavy mats are also extremely high quality, which is often worth the extra weight. Many yogis enjoy heading out in nature and working out, such as in the woods or at the beach. This would mean you’ll want a very light mat, however, if you are using it outdoors, make sure you clean it properly between each session. Your yoga mat is a very personal decision, similar to your yoga practice. Make sure you find a mat that you enjoy using and that brings you joy every time you roll it out to start your session.
A yoga mat is the key piece of equipment you need for your yoga sessions, and it’s something that beginners and advanced yogis will need to invest in. Fortunately, yoga mats are very affordable, but if you are looking to elevate your practice, you may want to invest in a fancier one that will support you throughout your practice each day. Make sure you think about all of the elements we listed above, so you find a yoga mat that you’ll love working out on every day to keep fit and flexible for many years to come.