I feel like I might not ever progress from a beginner in my yoga journey but one thing is essential regardless of your ability, and that is your own yoga mat. Personally the thought of child’s pose on a mat which has been used a lot of times before by others would take away any of the calm and meditative state I’ve managed to achieve. Yoga is a wonderful hobby and stretching your body is such a great feeling. We’ve put together some top tips for choosing the best yoga mat to compliment your practice and your personality.
Think about the use
It sounds simple enough but it’s worth some consideration. Do you need to are you a commuter or frequent flier who needs to travel with your mat, do you need a mat that is slightly thicker to support your joints and knees (which will be heavier and bulkier) or do you need a mat that is slightly thinner so that you are able to feel more of a connection to the floor?
Consider the surface of the mat
I definitely prefer a non-slip surface – a ‘sticky’ mat. There are a few different types of surface to consider; some have ridges, raised bumps or a textured surface. Some mats will combine a non-slip side and a bumpy side on the same mat or some even have a yoga mat/towel combination. If you’re just starting out then a beginners sticky mat should suffice but as you progress you may want to spend more and invest in a more technical mat.
I had no idea how many amazing designs can be printed onto a mat. You can, of course, have an off the peg design sold in multiple sport shops or specific yoga outlets. It’s also possible to have a yoga mat/towel combination and have designs such as paintings, photographs, drawings, digital art and mixed media printed on to the top of the mat.
Yoga mats can be made of PVC, cork, organic cotton, rubber or naturally sourced sustainable rubber. Costs of mats can differ greatly and you’ll need to weigh up the ethical and environmental cost too.
Mats can experience wear and tear so it’s definitely worth looking at reviews. Signs that a mat needs to be replaced include an uneven surface where your hands and feet have repeatedly flattened the mat. If you have noticed some small particles from your mat on the floor or on your clothing then it has started to deteriorate. This deterioration is most common among cheaper mats after approximately a year however a natural rubber mat should last 3-5 years.