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How to Choose a Yoga Mat

by:Skypro     2021-03-23

If you practice yoga, you understand the importance of a quality yoga mat that meets your needs and expectations. Your yoga mat is a sacred space where you devote your practice of Yoga. It is important that you feel comfortable with your mat for a variety of factors: price, durability, eco-friendliness, grip, and cushion. Given the wide variety of yoga mats available on the market, selecting a yoga mat isn't an easy task.

First and foremost, your yoga mat must fit your budget. Mats can range in price from as low as $10 to as high as $100 dollars for a premium mat. As expected, you get what you pay for. You may save some money going with a budget mat, but you'll have to live with a chemical smell that may not ever go away.

'Green' mats are not only environmentally friendly, they are better for your health. Cheap plastic mats contain chemicals called phtalates that are toxic and harmful. Phytalates have been linked to health issues such as endocrine disruption, obesity, diabetes, and allergies. When you're practicing yoga for an hour or more, breathing deeply, you want to ensure that you have a clean material mat.

Premium mats are often made of high quality eco-friendly materials, however certain fibers can have issues with durability and fall apart after a month. Cork or jute (a long vegetable fiber) mats are the 'greenest' mats as far as environmentally friendliness goes. The materials are also highly porous. As you practice, sweat absorbs into the mat and starts to break down the material over time. For this reason, these mats tend to have the shortest lifespans.

A great option for price, durability, and green factors is to go with a natural rubber mat. Natural rubber mats are produced using environmentally safe processes. The production process creates minimal by-products and the mats are easily recyclable. Often, rubber mats contain latex. If you have a latex allergy, many latex-free options are available.

If you're like me and tend to sweat when you practice, you value a mat with a good grip. When you're trying to focus on alignment and the breath, the last thing you want to deal with is sliding hands in a downward-facing dog. Certain materials tend to grip better. Typically, the thicker the mat, the better the grip.

Finally, cushioning becomes an important factor. Strong cushioning will protect the knees in kneeling postures or provide a more relaxing foundation for savasana.

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