Yoga – What Should I Look For in a Yoga Mat?

What-You-Need-to-Know-About-Yoga-Mat-Types

At my first yoga practice, I borrowed a mat that my studio had on hand. I quickly realized I needed a mat of my own. The borrowed mat was too thin, not long enough for my height, and covered in somebody else’s sweat! Being a total novice, I headed to the local discount store and bought the first mat that caught my eye. Having, at the time, more money than common sense, I ended up buying several more mats in the search for the one that was really right for me. From experience, I know that when you look for the perfect yoga mat recommendations, you should consider 5 factors: size/shape, thickness and weight, composition, aesthetics, and price. If you take the time to carefully think through these factors, you will be happier with your choice, enjoy your yoga practices more, and maybe even save money.

Size/shape: As your instructor will probably tell you, your mat is your universe. Too small, you may be uncomfortable; too big, you may crowd other students. “Standard” yoga mats are rectangular in shape, approximately 24″ by 68″. For people of average weight and height, this size and shape will likely serve well. It will give you just enough horizontal space to do seated poses and twists and enough length so that vinyasas and supine poses don’t have you hanging off the back. If, however, you are carrying a little extra weight or you are tall (say 5’10 or over) you may want to consider getting an extra long mat to give you extra space to move forward and back and to stretch out. Or, you may want to take the leap of getting a round mat, like the Mandala 6′ Round, which gives you more room to stretch out in all of your poses. I take a long mat to class but use a round mat at home. Long, rectangular mats can easily be accommodated at the studio, but the round mat (unless everyone in the class uses one) just disrupts the arrangement of the other mats in the class. So if you take one to the studio and you’re the only one using a round mat, be prepared for some disgruntled stares from classmates and maybe your instructor.

   

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