Yoga mats are a personal preference and luckily there are many to choose from right now. About fifteen years ago when the Yoga phenomenon was just getting started, there were only two basic choices: purple or blue.
Now, choosing a yoga mat is easy because there is one to suit every priority and preference.
Pick the Right Yoga Mat
Choose a yoga mat NOT because of its pretty color or pattern. Choose a yoga mat that meets your needs and is able to keep you stable while you are performing the many different yoga poses.
You also want your yoga mat to be easily stored and completely portable, comfy and cushy.
There are a variety of choices so choose one that is environmentally friendly as well as one that picks up on your personality.
Mats have personalities too in that some are thicker than others, made of different materials and can come with different surface textures.
Yoga Mat Guide
Use this guide to help you find a yoga mat you can be blissfully happy with — one that suits your practice, priorities, lifestyle, values and budget.
No matter what the stores tell you, that’s the best yoga mat for you!
Yoga Mat Thickness
Here are a few differences in the thickness of your mat to consider when purchasing your yoga mat:
* Thin Yoga Mat (1/16 inch)
* Standard Yoga Mat (1/8 inch)
* Thick Yoga Mat (1/4 inch)
The thickness of the mat is important because that will determine how comfortable it is and how well it will work for you. You don’t want too thin of a mat if you are going to be doing crescent lunges because you will bang up your knee.
If you pick too thick of a mat (1/4 inch) you could become more unstable in some of the poses because you won’t feel a strong connection to the floor.
The standard yoga mat is about 1/8 inch thick. This could work well for you and allow you to perform most of the yoga poses.
Yoga Mat Type
The material used in a yoga mat is important because it dictates the texture, sponginess, stickiness and eco-friendliness of the mat. This will also determine how it wears over time.
Most mats are made of vinyl or PVC.
Some of the newer mats on the market include more earth-friendly options such as recycled or natural rubber, organic or natural cotton, or jute.
- Some people are allergic to the latex in yoga mats so if this describes you, avoid any of the mats that are made of natural rubber.
- The mat that most people choose is the one made of PVC which can last for more than ten years.
- The good news about PVC is that it has the most “give” and sponginess. The mats with the least sponginess are those made from jute and cotton.
- TPE or thermoplastic elastomer is another choice. This is a man-made blend of plastic and rubber polymers. TPE mats can be a little less durable, more environmentally friendly but still deliver good traction.
- Eco or natural mats can be made of natural rubber, organic cotton or jute. Eco mats don’t grip to the floor as easily but the texture of the mat provides great traction for your body.
- Eco mats, like the TPE mats, won’t last as long as PVC mats but they are great if sustainability is what you want in a mat.
Overall, be sure to choose a mat that meets your texture, stickiness and eco-friendly-ness guide.