Whether for a first timer or a subsequent buyer, choosing a yoga mat is always an overwhelming experience. It is always a hard decision of evaluating materials, different sizes, texture and thickness of the mat.
Without proper information or guidance, one will choose a wrong mat. As you read this guideline, bear in mind that a mistake in choosing a yoga mat is felt quite deeply when fitness exercising.
The following guidelines should make your selection process simpler, helping you make a more informed decision.
Evaluate the Material Composition of the Mat
The nature of the material will determine how you practice yoga. When practicing, you need balance and your body need to be relaxed. If you are a beginner, choose the mats made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). They are durable, sticky and comfortable. If you are not allergic, you can choose foam mats.
Unlike PVC, they are environmentally friendly. To enhance more support, you can include a cotton yoga mat as an add-on to another mat. When you sweat, cotton will absorb it and increase the grip. If you are looking for superior support, jute yoga mat will create an excellent traction.
The Level of Thickness in a Mat
A very thin mat makes it hard to do some poses, especially on your joints and knees. Consequently, a very thick mat will make it hard to maintain your balance or hold a pose.
There are three mat thicknesses to choose from; 1/4″ thickness, 1/8″ thickness and 1/16″. 1/4″ is typically the thickest, and will offer best comfort and stability. It is, however, less portable and hard to fit a standard bag. 1/8″ is the most common, combining both performance and portability.
Choose a 1/16″ if you are mostly on-the-go. It is ultra-portable, and its small thickness gives a better feel of the floor.
The Size Occupied By the Mat
A standard mat measures 24″ by 68″. Whereas the length can vary, the width remains constant. You will commonly find 72″ and 74″ lengths although they can go up to 84″.
Choose the size of the mat depending on your hight. Most yogis fit into a standard mat. Check the mat length sufficiency by trying a downward-facing dog pose.
If your hands and feet fit on the mat, the length is good. If it is not, keep trying a bigger mat until you find a size that fits.
How Well Will Your Skin Stick to the Mat
Remember, it is not gooey, sticky feeling that matters when choosing a mat. Rather, it is that suction-like stickiness which helps in holding the pose and maintaining proper alignment.
This stickiness is highest with PVC and foam mats and moderates with rubber. For jute and cotton yoga mats, there is no stickiness. Be informed, however, that stickiness in PVC and foam yoga mats is only experienced if the mat is clean.
How Rough is The Mat (Texture)
The mat’s texture undoubtedly assists in maintaining balance and alignment. It prevents occasional slipping and sliding. Indeed, the right texture will protect you from injuries resulting from pose slides.
Ensure, therefore, you choose rubber, jute or cotton yoga mats. Their additional grip on the raised textures will secure your poses no matter the level of sweating. You may choose PVC or foam for additional comfort, but remember they won’t provide additional grip when wet. A proper amount of grip and traction is undisputable in yoga practice.
How to Choose a Yoga Mat
The Type of Yoga to Practice
If you have your favorites already, choosing your mat will highly depend on them. For power yoga, choose a high-textured mat since a lot of bending, stretching and bending are involved.
In case of a lower-intensity yoga like restorative yoga, choose comfort ability since you will be lying down for long hours. PVC or foam mats will do well here. Those are just a few items to consider when selecting a yoga mat.
To wrap it up, the effectiveness of your yoga will depend on its comfort ability. You do not have to choose the most expensive one or the best looking. Your comfort ability will increase your safety, little else matters.
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