Why Your Yoga Mat Selection Is Important And How to Choose The Right One
Are thinking of or beginning to do yoga? You are going to need a yoga mat. You may need to consider some of factors:
1. Materials, thickness, size, texture or stickiness;
2. Your body size and height;
3. Type of yoga you are practicing.
1. Material.The majority of them are made of a plastic named PVC, short for polyvinyl.This mats tend to be cheaper and less slippery. Although, PVC is a toxic plastic and hard to be recycled. For environmentally-friendly options try recycle rubber, jute, cotton and bamboo! The material your yoga mat is made of dictates how fast it will wear off, its texture, stickiness, eco-friendliness, and sponginess.Yoga mats made of natural rubber should be avoided for the ones allergic to latex. If you want to stick with the tried and true sticky mat, choose a yoga mat made out of PVC are, perhaps, the most used ones as they will normally last longer, are sticky, and cheaper then other materials.
1.1. Thickness. It is important to consider thickness of at mat as it is related to how comfortable it is. Thin mats, travel mats (1/16 inch thick) may hurt knees and elbows when performing some postures, but they are lighter, handy to carry around and fit into suitcases. The standard mat is 1/8 inches thick, they offer enough support to the body, and allow the yogi to feel connected to the floor. If you want some extra cushion a thicker mat, closer to 1/4 inch — could be you best choice. Although it can make it harder for you to feel a strong connection to the floor, making you unstable for some postures.
1.2. Size. Yoga mats are normally around 72″ or 182 cm long and a width of 24″ or 60 cm. Some yogis prefer extra-wide mats (30″ or 78 cm).
1.3.Stickiness. You want to prevent slipping or sliding when moving around and maintain alignment as you move from posture to posture. It is also important when you have to hold pose for a long time. Stickiness is determined by the texture of your mat material. PVC mats are usually super sticky, and softer and it, normally, stays put, whilst jute is quite rough. But many eco-friendly mats have a raised texture to avoid sliding or are made with naturally slip-resistant rubber.
Tip. If you need help staying put in your poses and you would like a yoga mat with a raised texture, a PVC yoga mat is probably your best choice.
2.1. Slimmer bodies may benefit from thicker mats or padded mats, as you have less natural cushioning from fat deposits on your body.
2.2. If you have a more robust frame, you may be fine with a standard mat, only 1/8 inch thick.
2.3. Look into a super-stretched yoga mat if you are a tall person.
2.4. You may need a thicker mat if you have sore joints. Thicker mats can be easier on them.
3. Your type of yoga.
3.1. For transitional type of yoga, that require more complex and constant movements, you’ll need a mat with more traction to keep yourself in place. Although, for some yoga types, you’ll primarily be sitting on the ground, so grip is less important. Go for a soft, cushy mat.
3.2. For hot yoga, where your are practicing it under high temperatures, you should consider you will sweat a lot. You will want a mat that prevent your sweat from being absorbed, do not forget to place a towel on top.
Price. Standard thick PVC yoga mat will often be an affordable option. Prices increase by the design, brand name, thickness and if they are eco-friendly materials. Investing in a reliable yoga mat is important, but your money, surely, needn’t be sacrificed.
- If you’re new to yoga,and do not know if it is your thing yet, go for a cheap mat under $20 if you wish. As you do your first lessons, you may be able to figure out how your body responds to yoga, and may want to acquire a better one.
- It may be worth investing in a no-slip towel that lays right on top of the mat (especially for hot yoga, where we normally sweet heaps of high temperatures. Take a bottle of water with you.
- And definitely don’t forget to keep the mat clean, too.
- A good sign the mat needs a wipe-down is if it loses its stickiness. Pay attention to it.
What’s your favourite yoga mat? Tell us below!
The Health and Fitness Ally Team – Written by rayrocks83
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