3 Things to Look for in A Great Yoga Mat
3 Things to Look for in A Great Yoga Mat
In traditional practice, yoga is often done on the floor, a rug, a sheet, or a towel.
The Yoga Mat is a tool for the studio and at-home practice. Normally I am unattached to objects, but I have to say that I have a particular fondness of my mat. I feel like we (my mat and I) are connected. The routines I do and the particular advances I have made with flexibility and strength as of late have to do with the quality of my mat. I mostly practice at home. At home is where all of the advanced mindfulness in my practice is activated. Home is a place where I can quiet myself and breathe further into my poses. I can remember years ago doing a routine for flexibility that consisted of a variety of quick moving sun salutations and while holding downward dog in the third round, I slipped on the moistness of the mat, with my feet going one way and my hands going slightly the other, and that nice triangular position of the downward dog became me flat-bellied on my slippery mat. I also used a mat at the gym recently and could not easily move through a routine and I felt like the mat was holding me there. I felt no sense that I was holding the pose, it seemed like the mat was so sticky that I was being held like a fly on a piece of tape. The surgery I had in 2014 has left me a bit unbalanced and stiff so to boost my own confidence I require a trusty mat. This past year I have also committed to being even more environmentally conscious, especially concerning plastic and chemicals, so anything I purchase is up for scrutiny in the Eco department.
What to look for in a Yoga Mat:
The Thickness of your Yoga Mat will determine how comfortable it is. If the mat is too thin it could mean injury, particularly to knees and elbows. If the mat is too thick it may have too much give and even wobble making it very difficult to maintain balance. With a mat that is too thick, we also may lose our sense of the floor and that is an important concept to many Yogis. Some Yoga practitioners give up comfort for the feel of the floor and in that choice, some comforts of thickness would be compromised. Yoga Mats traditionally are in the range of 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick. The 1/16th mats are reserved for travel as they are easy to fold and light but not so easy to do Yoga on in my opinion! The standard is 1/8th of an inch and my mat is just above 1/8th (4mm). It has just the right temperament for feeling the floor and for giving me the right amount of cushion and confidence.
2. Stickiness and Texture
The texture of the mat is important for your overall tactile comfort. This is truly a personal endeavor as there are many different textures available. Mats come in all variations from bumpy to smooth. Some folks are just not comfy in Shavasana on a highly textured mat. Stickiness and texture can be seen as synergistic, so the combination is of the utmost importance. In my experience the high sticky non-porous mats seem to fail when you need the grip and as you sweat it pools on the mat leaving you with a virtual slip and slide. I can attest to a microfiber mat. The top of the mat is made from popular yoga towels. These towels absorb the sweat, there is no puddling and the mat remains flat and smooth. If you do sweat the grip on this mat actually becomes better. With a microfiber mat like mine, I actually give my mat a spritz of water before a more casual workout just for a bit more grip. I also have a great towel mat and sell these cozy mats in my store. They are portable and can be used for anything. Hot Yoga studios and outdoor yoga are two places you would want a portable and comfortable mat that you can throw in the wash. The texture is perfect for these endeavors.
For my store and for my practice I believe that my mat should be as earth-friendly as I am. I do not want to compromise, but admit I am still sifting through the mass of products to have the best Eco-friendly mats available to my customers. In the Eco department here are some things to look for:
• Digital Water Based Ink
• No Trees Harmed in the Process
• No Latex or Harmful Chemicals
• Safe and Effective Glues
• Jute which is a good sustainable product
• PER is biodegradable and ergonomically friendly
• 100% Recyclable packaging
In closing, I think the price range of a good yoga mat should be between 50 and 100 dollars. I have seen people walking out of the Five and Dime stores with a new mat. In my evaluation, these mats are typically non-eco friendly, short, and don't last, which is the perfect recipe for making more waste.
Get yourself a mat that is comfortable for you, satisfies your practice, and is eco-friendly. Here at the Yama yoga Store, we have mats that will satisfy. Our mats, seen here, have free shipping. Click Here
Sat Nam ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ
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Written by Soorya Kirti Kaur
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