Which yoga mat should you choose? A Standard, travel or professional yoga mat?
Choices are not easy, although they definitely come easier for some of us. Which yoga mat should be chosen? Which one among those available on the market to decide on? And why should it be THIS one and not another? There is something we are sure of - yoga cannot exist without a good mat, a mat without yoga, and you without both of them. Of course, if you have already taken the first steps and are hooked on yoga practice, because as we all know - beginnings are differing. Sometimes it will catch right away, sometimes it will take more time, or maybe you will find that it is not for you. And we are not at all referring to choosing a partner. We are referring to the beginnings of yoga practice, which may be good for everyone, but that doesn't mean it always will be. But let's assume that you've succeeded and found your place in the yoga philosophy, and there are several choices ahead of you, each of which will take you a rung higher on the ladder of self-improvement. One of the first decisions you will face is the choice of a yoga mat - a companion on your journey through the world of yoga, or perhaps more to the world of yoga?
Yoga is the work of the inside and outside of our bodies-two aspects that cannot exist without each other. It focuses on finding the connection between a conscious body and an open mind, and understanding that a beautiful body is above all a conscious mind. It is a tool that helps discover the potential that lies within each of us. Yoga is a journey with a clear goal and a path that leads to its achievement. But in addition to all the philosophy we add to it, yoga is also a practice and working with the body on the mat. And it is the mat that seems to be crucial in this regard. After all, we have one body - our own, and we can change and select mats to suit our needs at the moment. So? If we travel frequently, flying by plane to different corners of the world, a travel mat that is ideally suited to such "extreme" conditions will be indispensable. On the other hand, if the practice of yoga involves a home retreat and a specially designated space for this, one mat that will serve for years will actually suffice. We could multiply examples that will only confirm our theory that the choice of a yoga mat is up to you.
Yoga mat = my own practice space
Actually, you don't need anything else, all you need is you and it - a yoga mat. A mat that will designate a space just for you - a place where you can fully devote yourself to working on your body and mind. A small area will not matter, because it will be simply your own. The yoga mat will become an asylum separating problems, chaos, everyday life from you. Because yoga practice is a time just for you and let it stay that way. When you give your best during your workout, it will return the favor by supporting you both during your exertion and rest.
The yoga mat is for you - it is supposed to adapt to your needs, not the other way around. It is supposed to take care of the quality of your practice, make it more comfortable and ensure its safety. Because the mat is like any other sports equipment - running shoes, skis or road bike. It has to fit perfectly, because only then does it guarantee good results and safety. A yoga mat must protect your body from injury and your psyche from its possible consequences. Therefore, what matters is its thickness and length - parameters that must be matched specifically to the dimensions of your body. The thicker the mat will be, the heavier it will also be, and you may have trouble transporting it all the time. So, if you are constantly on the move and the mat is to fit your lifestyle, rather bet on the thinner one. It will be lighter and definitely more practical. When it comes to the length of a yoga mat, most of us don't need it to be other than the standard one, measuring about 180 cm. However, most is not all, so if you are taller, you also need a longer yoga mat. After all, you're supposed to be comfortable during practice, not nervous, right? What else is important both for the mat and, consequently, for you? The adhesion of the mat is a property that is supposed to give you confidence that even when performing a complicated pose, it will stay in place. The yoga mat should also provide good insulation from the ground, after all, thermal comfort is one of the basic elements of a successful workout. Not insignificant is the material from which the yoga mat is made. We have a choice of artificial materials, as well as natural, such as rubber. Each of them has its advantages as well as disadvantages. Artificial materials such as PVC will provide the mat with durability and ease of maintenance, including cleaning. Natural rubber, on the other hand, will be more environmentally friendly and ideally non-slip, but often heavier and less durable. Whichever one you decide on, make sure it has the right certification. After all, the yoga mat is in contact with our body, so it must be completely friendly and, above all, safe for it.
Yoga mats can be universal or dedicated to specific types of yoga. Among them you will find those with intense colors, as well as soft, pastel shades. They can be plain and uniform or quite the opposite - have printed patterns and symbols. Who would have thought that the history of their existence began with...animal skins, which were used by our ancestors to practice yoga? For the more conscious and discerning there were rugs woven from plants. Today, the choice of the material of the yoga mat, its length, thickness and even certain properties is our privilege. So let's use it without restraint J
A standard yoga mat - what kind is it?
And how do you imagine it? For us, it's very simple, often monochromatic and to the point, practical (although this feature doesn't necessarily mean anything bad!). We associate the word "standard" with something typical, routine, traditional, maybe a little boring? Anyway, according to the definition, that's what it is. But a standard yoga mat can be just basic - with standardized dimensions and colors. Among such mats we can include those with a width of 60 cm and a length of 180 cm. They are a good choice for beginners, the undecided and all those for whom a mat is "after all, just a mat" J But standard does not mean inferior at all, on the contrary! Such a mat is often multipurpose in nature and is used for different types of activities, not just yoga. This means that it must be made of good quality materials, which will give it much better durability and practicality at the same time. We will be able to take a standard mat with us to fitness training, pilates or yoga classes. After all, it's hard to imagine that we'll be taking a different mat to each of these workouts, right? Also, the point is not to make our lives more difficult, but to make them easier. And such a standard mat is supposed to provide us with that. It will be perfect for anyone who is just starting their practice and doesn't quite know yet which direction it will take. Or maybe it won't take any particular direction and will end quickly for various reasons? Although no, we are of the opinion that it is better not to forecast and to think positively. But if, however, it were to happen, the standard yoga mat is versatile enough that it will certainly manage to be used somehow.
It is said that when something is for everything, it is really not good for nothing, but in this case it is hard for us to agree. Standard mats can also have excellent quality, good grip and comfort. All you have to do is to look well and select such a mat to suit your needs. So much and so little J
A professional yoga mat only for professionals?
Can professional running shoes only be used by professional runners? Of course not. The same is true of a yoga mat, moreover, as with virtually any sports equipment. The question is, what exactly is a professional yoga mat? In our opinion, one that is simply perfectly matched to the needs of the practitioner. Often chosen by trial and error, or perhaps more on the basis of personal experience. It is rare that the first mat is the best one, which will be 100 percent good for us. But isn't that natural? Our skills, needs, competencies are changing, and with that we want something more. Although sometimes it will just be something different for us. Professional yoga mats were created for those more demanding, confident in their skills and knowing what they want. Experienced yogis are definitely more likely to appreciate the craftsmanship of them and benefit from their qualities. Wondering who we can call an "experienced yogi"? In our opinion, someone who is confident in his practice and knows that few factors can deter him from it. Not always dozens of hours spent on the mat can predispose us to this "title". In addition to practicing, yoga must also be thoroughly learned and understood. Only then can one fully enjoy its benefits.
A professional yoga mat is designed to protect our body as much as possible from any injury or trauma. It is supposed to ensure safety and the highest comfort of practice. At the same time, it provides a guarantee of the best quality, for which you have to pay accordingly. The price is also one of those factors that distinguish professional mats from others. After all, you have to pay more for good quality, but at the same time you can be sure that this expense will pay off. The pro version of the yoga mat must provide uncompromising grip and perfect slip resistance. It is perfect for practicing more advanced asanas. Durability and resistance are qualities that it cannot lack. So can we say that it is perfect? Probably yes, though of course it depends on who it is for. After all, we are all different, and different people mean different needs.
Travel small and large with a yoga mat under your arm (or in your carry-on luggage)
Lightweight, thin, durable and weatherproof - this is what an ideal travel yoga mat should be. Just fold it into a cube and it will easily fit into a suitcase or hand luggage. The condition is one - it must not take up a lot of space. And, of course, it can't be heavy, after all, there are certain weight limits on airplanes. What material should it be made of? Both PVC and rubber or a combination of them will work.
A travel mat is also a bit of an all-purpose mat, which will work well not only for yoga practice, but also for Pilates training or morning stretching. The great advantage of travel mats is that they work well in a variety of conditions. You can use them as a base during a picnic, instead of a blanket at the beach, or even when spending the night in a tent. In our opinion, a travel yoga mat is also an excellent motivator. Once you decide to buy one, you won't be able to use excuses not to also practice on vacation or during business trips. However, a travel mat will not be indestructible, so care must also be taken to ensure that it is properly cleaned, disinfected and, of course, stored - including during transport. So a travel mat also means certain accessories - cleaning sprays and covers that will protect it from mechanical damage.
You're wondering if a travel mat can replace the one used during daily practice? You probably expect our answer. In exceptional situations it can, but after all, that's not what it is. Travel mats used too often will simply deteriorate much faster. They are thin thus lightweight, but at the same time less durable. While they are ideal for traveling a few times a year, when used daily they will not serve their purpose. In addition, travel mats will not provide as ideal comfort as mats intended for everyday use. We don’t advise changing their purpose.
What is the best yoga mat...for you?
You have to answer this question for yourself. We can advise you, guide you through the inconveniences, dispel your doubts, but we will not choose for you. You must remember that there is no one-size-fits-all mat to suit the needs of all of us. Over the years, so many have been developed precisely to best adapt to our individual requirements. Nowadays, the number of options available can make your head spin. Before choosing, consider what kind of yoga you practice. Do you practice more often at home or, in a studio? You ask yourself how important environmental issues are to you, and are you going to take your mat on the road often? You bet on proven quality & durability. And finally you consider whether your future yoga mat simply appeals to you, after all, you will see it almost every day.
P.S. We know as much as anyone about mats, so we invite you to a place where the world of yoga mats has no secrets - Moonholi. We are here for you and...your future yoga mat from Moonholi. See you on your mat!