How to choose the right yoga mat?
Choosing a perfect yoga mat can be tricky. Regardless of whether you are new to yoga or whether you have been practicing for a while, the yoga mat you use can make or break your session. A yoga mat is a yogi’s private space – the place where you find peace, mindfulness and zen. In other words – you want the flow. The last thing you need from your yoga mat is to mess up your flow. No one wants to be slipping or sliding, and one definitely does not need bruised knees or a painful spine after practice. You want to maintain focus and avoid injury. So if you are a regular yoga enthusiast, invest in your own mat.
Yoga mat – what to consider when buying a yoga mat?
A good yoga mat can be an investment, but it will sure be worth it. If you invest in a good quality yoga mat and take good care of it, it will last you for years.
In the past, there was only one type of yoga mat available - the PVC sticky mat, which had a quite a good grip, but was not too friendly to the body, or the environment, as it contained toxic polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Nowadays there are plenty of yoga mats available, including eco options and various designs, to suit your every need.
Most yoga mats may look quite similar, but there is a big difference in quality, comfort, grip and, of course, price. Ideally, a yoga mat should have a great grip, the right thickness, beautiful design, and its size, weight, texture and material should feel right. You may also want to go eco with it. Choosing the right yoga mat can therefore be pretty overwhelming. We have prepared this guide to make buying a yoga mat easier. Before buying a yoga mat, ask yourself these questions and use these tips to find a yoga mat that suits your lifestyle, type of practice, yoga skills, values and budget.
Yoga mat – guide
1. Yoga mat - stickiness
There is nothing more annoying than sliding on your yoga mat during practice. It disturbs your flow, making it difficult to focus on your zen and be fully in the moment – which is what yoga is all about. A good yoga mat grip will prevent you from sliding around and help you maintain your pose in a perfect alignment. It is probably one of the most important factors to take into account when buying a yoga mat. You may decide to go for the PVC yoga mat for its good stickiness, however if you are eco-conscious - a natural rubber yoga mat is the perfect choice. These eco friendly yoga mats are made from natural or recycled rubber, or other natural materials, and provide just as much grip as the non-eco mats.
2. Yoga mat - thickness & comfort
The thickness of a yoga mat determines its comfort, so if you need extra cushion for your knees, hands or back, consider buying a thicker yoga mat. A typical home yoga mat is usually between 3 to 6mm in thickness, and those are great for beginners. Lighter mats of typically 1.5 to 3mm in thickness make great travel mats. Some of us have lower pain thresholds and might need extra padding, so those can go for the really thick yoga mats 7mm and more. Professional yogis though choose thinner mats as they enjoy the connection to the floor and being grounded in their asanas.
3. Yoga mat – consider where you’re going to use it
Another important factor to consider is where you are going to practice yoga. If you travel a lot and spend a lot of time on-the-go, you’ll want to go for a yoga mat that is foldable, compact and light, so that you can easily roll or fold it up and carry it around to classes, or pack into your suitcase when you are going away.
Also, if you plan to practice a lot outdoors, you may want to choose a better quality, more durable yoga mat, and maybe in a darker color, with less need to clean or replace it regularly.
4. Yoga mat - material & texture
The material of your yoga mat determines a lot of factors – from texture and how pleasant it is to practice on, through comfort, stickiness, durability and eco-sustainability.
Most standard yoga mats use PVC - polyvinyl chloride – a toxic compound unsafe to both your body and the environment. There are plenty of new more eco-friendly yoga mats made of natural rubber yoga mats, cork yoga mats, jute yoga mats or even cotton yoga mats.
Different yoga mats materials have different pros and cons. PVC mats are generally more adhesive, however they are not very Earth-loving. Jute yoga mats are environmentally friendly, but a lot of yogis are not too happy about the itchy texture. Cork yoga mats and cotton yoga mats are another eco option, however cork yoga mats will not normally be very exciting design-wise, plus the feel may not be that great either. Cork, cotton and jute yoga mats are also the least durable ones usually.
At Moonholi we recommend a great alternative that offers the planet-loving sustainability, pleasant texture and required stickiness - a natural rubber yoga mat. Natural rubber yoga mats can also deliver gorgeous and unique designs, making your yoga mat and session truly special.
5. Yoga mat – quality & durability
If you want your yoga mat to last you a long time, choose a reputable brand. You may spend a little more, but it will be well worth it. Cheap yoga mats are usually thin, flimsy, not eco-friendly and do not last long, so at the end of the day you end up having to spend more anyway. Quality can go a long way.
6. Yoga mat – Earth-loving is our responsibility
It is our duty to look after the environment and leave this plane flourishing for the generations to come. In the past yoga mats were not manufactured in a sustainable way, and most of them were made of PVC. From an environmental point of view – PVC is a disaster. It can hardly be recycled and it releases well known carcinogens such as dioxin or hormone-affecting phthalates, not to mention it contains toxic heavy metals. If you do not want your body to be exposed to these toxic materials, plus you are environmentally conscious, you may want to go for a natural rubber yoga mat.
7. Yoga mat – you got to love it!
Finally, you need to buy a yoga mat that you love at first sight. You’re going to spend a lot of time with your yoga mat, looking straight down at it, so you better love it. Choose a fun mat, that is beautiful and that will turn a few heads whenever you practice. There are plenty of yoga mats designs available now to express your personal style and meet your individual preferences so enjoy your shopping and we hope you find our little yoga mat guide helpful.