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Choosing The Best Yoga Mat For Your Exercise

Updated on September 17, 2011

Yoga Mats

A yoga mat is one of the most basic accessories you need to facilitate your practice of yoga. To learn more about how you can save money and protect yourself against yoga-related injuries, read more about your options and how you can choose appropriately.

Yoga Poses & Equipment : Buying Yoga Mats


Finding the Right Yoga Mat

Factors When Choosing

Given that there is a rise in number of yoga practitioners, yoga mats are highly manufactured these days and they are available in a wide variety of categories. Hence, the choices will be able to address the individual needs of users and yoga practitioners. Therefore, you can use your personal goals and preferences to compare each yoga mat you are considering to arrive at the yoga mat most appropriately suited for your intended use.

However, there are also general criteria that you can use when choosing yoga mats. Here are some of them:

*Quality: When buying things off the market, quality is always on top of the consumer's mind. Hence, you must also apply the same when buying yoga mats to use. Since you are using your mat as an investment to improve your practice of yoga and ensure your safety, quality should be one of the first few factors you must consider.
*Price: This is a practical factor to consider, which naturally follows soon after you have evaluated the mat's quality. Is it appropriately priced for the quality of mat and its performance? You have to make sure that you are paying well worth the ability of the yoga mat to do its job.
*Size: This is one of several individual factors you must consider when deciding on a yoga mat to use. Since it will serve as your own yoga space, it must be adjusted based on your own body size, to avoid placing limitations on your body during practice. Moreover, it will provide you with a space of protection, such that it can serve as cushion on your body against the floor.
*Materials: There are several materials used for making yoga mats today and you can carefully evaluate each one based on its ability to absorb sweat, grip the floor for more stability, and durability.

Common Types of Yoga Mat

To better understand your choices, learn more about the common types of yoga mats below and their respective advantages or disadvantages when used during yoga practice:

  • Foam mats: The advantage to using foam mats is that they are relatively cheaper than other types of mat, despite being durable and having the ability to firmly grip against the floor. However, it is not an eco-friendly mat to use and often comes with a chemical smell, especially when newly bought.
  • Rubber mats: If you want optimum comfort, this type of mat comes with an efficient cushioning system and is quite durable. However, it also comes with a pungent rubber odor that can annoy your nasal system and are relatively more expensive.
  • Cotton mats: This type of mat is best for yoga exercises that cause you to sweat profusely since it is highly absorbent. However, it does not grip well and can put you in danger of slipping, especially on hard floors.

Yoga Mat For Children

As you might know, there is also a specific branch of yoga that enables kids to practice it and boost their health system. As parents, you want to protect your child the best way you can. One of the first things you must therefore look into is in terms of choosing the yoga mat they are going to use for their practice.

The regular sticky mat is highly recommended for children practicing yoga due to its ability to grip onto the floor and add more stability to your child as they are trying to execute yoga poses. For younger kids, you will find a lot of design variety available to choose from so you can build up their interest and make yoga more exciting for them.

Jute Yoga Mats

Yoga Mat for Elderly

While children have special concerns, so does elderly individuals that practice yoga. They have fragile joints and knees, wherein the use of the best yoga mat will help to cushion and protect against impact to avoid injuries.

The most ideal yoga mat for elderly yogis are at least ΒΌ inch in thickness, which provides enough cushion against the floor to reduce the impact on your spine, joints, elbows, and knees.

Yoga Mat For Environmentalists

If you want to develop an eco-friendly yoga practice, there are a few yoga mats that are manufactured specifically with this concern in mind. But first off, you must begin by identifying which types of mat must be avoided. You must avoid using the PVC or polyvynil chloride mat at all times, since prolonged exposure can put you at risk of developing cancer while at the same time being hazardous to the environment.

You must opt to use biodegradable materials for an eco-friendly yoga practice, such that you can help promote the welfare of the environment while protecting your own health as well.

Daily Grommet Review: Jade Harmony - Nature's Best Yoga Mat

Yoga Mat For Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga is one of the most common yoga styles practiced by yogis. This is an intensive workout routine that involves a sequence of dynamic poses, which can provide a wide range of health benefits. Therefore, you want to be able to precisely execute the poses included in the sequence to experience those benefits. The right choice of yoga mat could mean the difference between success and failure in your practice of Ashtanga Yoga. Hence, it is one of the first few things one must consider upon practice.

Since this involves more vigorous exercises and highly action oriented, you must go for strong yoga mats that are made out of durable materials. These types of mat are able to withstand intense friction and tremendous amount of sweating. These can be quite expensive though, so be prepared to pay a large amount for a quality and durable yoga mat that can give you the utmost protection and precision. As an alternative, you can also go for standard yoga mat, which is approximately 4mm in thickness. Make sure it is equipped with durable padding, which can provide enough cushion on your body against the hard floor. Finally, choose a yoga mat with excellent absorption qualities since you inevitably sweat profusely and the mat's ability to absorb your sweat can help prevent slipping.

Yoga Poses & Equipment : Cleaning Yoga Mats

Yoga Mat For Bikram Yoga

Bikram yoga, or more commonly known as hot yoga, needs a specialized type of mat given the intensity of this practice. Although the series of movements follow a smooth pattern, it is done in a heated room, which could get one to sweat tremendously. As the environment for Bikram yoga is specific, you also need a specific type of yoga mat to facilitate in this practice.

One of the obvious concern with choosing the most appropriate yoga mat to use for Bikram yoga is the amount of sweating involved. The addition of sweat could easily make a mat slippery unless it is made out of materials that can absorb sweat effectively. A new type of Bikram yoga mat are manufactured specifically for this purpose, such that the practitioner can gain more stability during practice. It can be made from synthetic materials that comes with a breathable design to avoid turning slippery as you start to sweat. Foam and cotton mats are another alternative choices.


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