One of the hardest thing to do when you start doing yoga can be how to choose your yoga mat. Or if you’re already doing yoga for a while: how to choose your new yoga mat. There is such a big variety out there. Which yoga mat suits you? Here are a few tips that can help you to pick the perfect mat.
Type of yoga
Most important of all: what type of yoga are you going to do? If you do an intense practice like Ashtanga or Vinyasa flow you probably want to have a more sturdy mat than when you’re going to do yin yoga or a gentle hatha yoga. If you’re going to do Bikram Yoga keep in mind that you will sweat a lot. Some mats get slippery when you sweat; yet with other mats the grip just gets better.
This might be a personal issue, but choose a yoga mat with the right length for you. Especially if you’re a little bit taller than average you want to get an extra-long mat. I travel a lot and I didn’t always bring my own mat with me. In Central America I’ve been a lot on mats where I can’t step back decently, without being off my mat. On the other hand: when you’re not so tall; do you need a long mat? It’s just extra weight you’re carrying with you on your way to your favorite yoga studio.
Yoga mats don’t only come in different lengths, but there is also a variation in how wide they are. As a bigger person, you probably want some extra mat. In this case not only taller, but a bit bigger in general. Another thing you want to keep is what type of yoga you want to do. If you’re on the floor a lot a wider mat can be nicer. Otherwise you have to move around on your mat all the time to be comfortable.
How much cushion do you want? How thick do you want your yoga mat to be? This is also related to the type of yoga you do. Are you going to sit and lay on your mat a lot? In that case more cushion will be nice. Or are you going to stand mostly on your mat? And how sensitive is your body? If you lay on your back, do you feel pressure on your spine? More cushion will be nice in that case.
Home, studio or travel
Where will your yoga mat be? Will you have a home practice? In that case it doesn’t matter if you have a heavy, sturdy, thick mat, but if you’re going to carry it around the weight makes a difference. Are you going by car to your studio or by bike or by foot? In that case you want to look into the weight of your mat.
Maybe you’re a traveler. I love to have my yoga mat in my hand luggage, so I can do some yoga during a layover. For me that’s the perfect way to get the blood running in my body again. It does mean I have a very thin (travel) mat.
How much money can and do you want to spend on a yoga mat. Mats go from really cheap to ridiculously expensive based on material, thickness, length, width and of course brand. With a lot of yoga mats you just pay for the name.
Last but not least: what kind of material do you want to have for your yoga mat and how should your mat being produced? All we do, eat and use has got an impact on the environment. If we want to stay healthy, we have to keep mother Earth healthy as well. I strongly believe we are responsible for our deeds. That’s why I prefer to use yoga mats made from recyclable material or from material that can be recycled.