If you’re interested in yoga, you’ll need a mat. Yoga mats come in a variety of lengths and textures and are made from many different materials. If you want a yoga mat, you should consider a variety of factors. Think about your personal needs, especially in regards to the type of yoga you perform. You should also think about the type of material you want. Also, think about the physical aspects of the mat, like texture and thickness.
1. Considering Your Needs
- Keep length in mind if you’re tall. A standard yoga mat is 68 inches long, which may not be long enough if you’re on the taller side. Look into a super-stretched yoga mat if you’re more than 5’6″ tall.
- Consider any injuries. For example, if you have knee issues, you might want a thicker mat to pad your knees.
- If you’re new to yoga, it’s okay to go with a less high-quality mat. Go for a basic mat between $10 and $20. You may decide yoga is not for you, so you do not want to invest in expensive equipment. Also, as you figure out how your body responds to yoga, you’ll be better able to figure out your personal needs. Go for a cheap mat now and then choose a more expensive one down the road.
- Flow yoga classes require more complex movements, and you’ll need a mat with more traction to keep your arms and legs in place. For yin classes, however, you’ll primarily be sitting on the ground, so grip is less important. Instead, go for a soft, cushy mat.
- Some people engage in a form of “hot yoga,” in which they engage in yoga in a heated room. If you’re doing hot yoga, you may want to choose a mat specifically designed for this type of yoga. These mats are designed to keep you from slipping when sweat gets on your mat.
3) Consider where you’re doing yoga. Where you’re going to do yoga also makes a big difference in your mat type. If you intend to primarily do yoga at home, for example, you do not need to worry about a lightweight mat you can transport easily. However, if you take yoga classes outside your home, you may want to look into a mat you can carry around easily.
- You may also want to look into a lighter weight mat if you travel a lot and do yoga when on the road. You may also want to consider investing in a second yoga mat that you can bring on trips.
2. Choosing a Material
3) Use a padded mat. Padded mats are a lot softer and more comfortable than regular yoga mats. A padded yoga mat is made of two parts: an inside portion, made of foam, and an outer removable cloth covering.
4) Look into cotton. Some yoga mats are simply made of cotton. Many prefer cotton because it’s a more natural material. While cotton may retain more sweat, it is easily washable. It is also soft but may have slightly more grip than a padded mat. However, cotton can more easily retain sweat. A cotton yoga mat may require frequent washing.
5) Consider a non-slip mat. Non-slip mats, also known as sticky mats, are mats designed to allow you to move into many different positions. These mats provide added grip and stick. If you’re doing a particularly rigorous form of yoga, consider a non-slip mat.
3. Considering Other Aspects of the Mat
1) Consider texture. The texture of your mat makes a difference in terms of your personal comfort. Mats come in a variety of textures, so make sure you consider texture carefully before making a choice.
- Stickier mats, like non-stick mats, tend to have a rougher texture. While this can irritate the skin, it can actually be an advantage if you’re doing yoga that involves a lot of intense poses.
- If you prefer a smooth mat, PVC mats may be the best way to go. However, many yoga supply companies sell more eco-friendly mats that offer a smooth texture. Try looking into a company with a reputation for being environmentally conscious if you want a smooth, non-PVC mat.3.
- A good in-between would be a mat of 1/6 of an inch. If you’re new to yoga but more petite in frame, this may be a good option for you. A mat of in-between thickness may also be good if you travel a lot, as they’re easier to roll up and transport.