There are already many articles on choosing yoga mats. We will try to give you as much good information as possible to make your selection as best as possbile. We want to show you all the points of view that will help you choose. The mat is basically your connection to yoga practice, it is worth investing a little time in what a quality mat can bring us at the end of the day.
Whether you have a yogi guru or a buddy at work on your first yoga session, you will always need one partner to hold you, soften and sweat with you.
Choosing a mat for yoga or other physical activity is really a matter of personal taste. While a few years ago the yoga market was rather limited, today you are able to choose your mat according to individual needs. Today there are so many types of yoga that manufacturers have begun to specialize in the production depending on the different conditions in which they practice and adapted the characteristics of the mats. Yogamats exist in a variety of shapes and can be made from a variety of materials. A number of factors need to be taken into account when making the right choice. We have sorted all of them in the order we recommend approaching the yoga mat selection.
The choice of yogamat depends to some extent on the type of figure, as it affects the exercise itself. For slimmer figures, a softer mat is preferable as you do not have enough "natural softness" :). Thicker characters may need a thinner thickness between 4 and 3 mm. Mats from 4 mm thickness are standard in yoga studios. Regardless of the figure, consider what your joints can withstand. If you feel too much discomfort and "squeezed" joints during exercise, get a thicker mat and try to get thinner over time. Finally, consider your height. Standard yogamats are made at a height of about 180 cm, so if you are more of a “basketball” type, look for “long” versions such as Manduka Black Mat PRO long or use our filter.
2. YOGA STYLE
Along with the figure, plan to choose a mat according to the type of yoga you visit regularly. In most yoga centers you will find “common” yogamats. It is recommended to try more yoga types if available and compare the quality of the exercise. If you have a chance, try different types of yoga to see how the body behaves on the mat. For more dynamic exercises (Ashtanga) you need a non-slip mat that will stabilize your movement. For static exercises (Yin Yoga), on the other hand, the surface is not so important, you will appreciate softness and comfort. In the case of hot yoga the mat is exposed to much more moisture than usual, so we recommend that you choose a mat suitable for these types of exercises. For example, jute, suede or towel surface microfiber or natural rubber. If this is not enough, your own towel can help, which absorbs most sweat and can be easily washed after exercise. An important feature is the ability of the mat to stop sweat. You can find this in description of the surface as "closed cell structure", which extends the life of the mat and is easier to maintain over time.
3. PLACE FOR EXCERCISE
When choosing a mat you should also consider where you will exercise most often. You do not have to deal with weight of the mat to practice yoga in your home environment. On the other hand, you will feel a pound or two if you carry your yogamat very often. You can also take into account the weight of the yoga bag itself, whose weight again depends on the weight of the yoga mat. Heavier yogamats require a stronger material and therefore more weight. Travelers who like to practice yoga at sunrise on the beach will certainly appreciate the ultra lightweight mats, which will not add to the weight of the suitcase too much and can save luggage space for an extra pair of dresses or shoes :)
TIP: If you practice outside, get one cheaper mat that you won't feel sorry for when it's all brown-green on one side. It cannot be washed or cleaned with time.
4. SELECTION OF MATERIAL
Do you love your health and our mother Earth? Avoid mats made of conventional PVC, which is still used especially for cheaper versions of yoga mats These mats also have a bad reputation in yoga centers. There are also studies that they could be carcinogenic. They are difficult to recycle and the only option is to discard them = the accumulation of unnecessary waste. The market leader in environmental philosophy is Manduka, which takes this problem very seriously and is reflected in the products themselves, whose essential feature is recyclability. The most common materials and combinations used for manufacturing of the yoga mats on the market today are:
- PVC / eko PVC
- Natural Rubber / + Polyurethane
- Cotton / Rugs
- Suede / Microfiber + natural rubber
- Cork + natural rubber
- TPE foam
- NBR foam
- EVA foam
5. NATURE UNDER THE FEET
Nowadays many yogis are prefering more and more yoga mats made of natural rubber. The main difference between them and "artificial types of mats" is that the artificial ones will give you a little better stability on the floor (ideal for dynamic types of exercises like Ashtanga or Power Yoga), but they cannot absorb sweat in contrary to natural mats. On the other hand, mats made of natural materials are more rapidly subject to decomposition, which is due to the inherent property of the material. You will often have a mat on your face, so it is fine to have something harmless under it :). These mats are suitable for Vinyasa, Jivamukti and Ashtanga yoga. A slight rubbery odor is natural, so if you are not comfortable, look for a jute or cotton mat. In general you can recognize better quality mats by the fact that you smell less material odor. Last thing to note is that all natural rubber based yoga mats are twice heavier than mats made of artificial materials.
6. TEXTURE OF SURFACE
In terms of personal comfort it may also depend on the type of surface of the mat. In principle, there can be two types - a rougher or smoother structure. During challenging positions you will appreciate the rougher structure of the mat, while slower sequences and movements will suffice with a smooth structure. Anyway with more expensive yoga mats your will have that grip regardless of surface. Smooth yogamats are mainly made of PVC or PU, but you can also find their ecological variants. In principle, you do not have to worry too much about the difference in exercise because even smoother surfaces can run in and will not slip at all. The leader in the market is Liforme, whose mats are exclusively smooth surface, and you feel that your hands are stuck to it, whether you have them dry or wet. It is proven by many yogis around the world.
7. WIDTH of YOGA MAT
As a standard, the mats have a width of about 60 cm, which is a space where you can have your hands only slightly away from your body when lying in shavasana. Today, wide-width mats are becoming popular, allowing you to stay in touch with the mat for most exercises and create a sense of more space. On the market today we can find mats width of 68 cm. However, it should always be taken into account that they will be "higher" when you roll up, so you will need more space in the bag or buy adjustable straps.
There are basically only two types of mats according to the pattern. One type has only one color / shade on the surface and no other interfering elements. This is most often appreciated by people who want to be immersed in their practice, concentrating the mind on one point and not being distracted by different shapes or patterns on the mat. The other type of people just prefers a certain pattern, mandala, yantra or geometric shapes that help to get into positions better and the mat stimulates the brain visually. Some patterns, like mandala, also have a direct effect on the psyche of a person, making them relax and feel better as they exercise. It is not possible to say what is better, it is purely personal preference and there is no need to worry about it. Just listen to your intuition and choose the pattern that most appeals to you, which will probably be beneficial to you. You can find beautiful design mostly on suede surfaces, just make sure to use pure colors - ideal on a water-based basis ink like the ones from Yoga Design Lab.
ACCESSORIES TO YOGA MATS
If you often carry your yogamat with you, it is worth investing in a bag that not only serves for easier transfers, but also protects the yogamat itself against bad weather. It is easier to choose between open mat holders or closed containers. Again, take into account the weight and dimensions of the yamamat for the whole package, so that the packages for the yogamat are large enough to maintain the weight. We will be happy to help you with choosing the right bag for your yogamat :)
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