Choosing your yoga mat is an essential part of beginning your practice. A good quality, well-made mat can transform your practice, helping you to maintain your balance, support your body and cushion your joints.
Here we discuss the do’s and don’ts of choosing a yoga mat so you can make a good decision when choosing yours.
Thickness of a yoga mat
Less than 5mm
A mat of this thickness is ideal for travel as you can easily fold it into most travel cases, including carry on luggage. This mat is also great for those who enjoy practicing outside, or on softer surfaces. You can use a mat with less than a 5mm width to top studio mats for hygiene purposes too.
5 - 10mm
This mat can be used both at home and in the studio as it is still easy to transport with a good carry bag. You will find this mat more comfortable than a thinner style too.
This style of mat offers the most ‘cushioning’ and is great for practising on hardwood floors. It also provides additional support for your joints, so is ideal if you suffer from any knee, wrist or back issues. This size mat is ideal for home practice.
Yoga mat bags
Yoga mat bags are great if you practice in the studio. Most studios require you to bring your own mat, and using a mat bag is the easiest way to do this. Carried over your shoulder, you can transport your mat to class hands free. A mat bag will also protect your mat from the elements.
Other things to consider:
Size of mat
As well as the thickness, make sure your mat is long enough for your body. Most good quality mats are ‘one size fits all’, however some of the camping style mats can be too short for some bodies.
Some mats already come with a carry strap, making this an easy way to transport your mat. You should consider that this doesn’t protect it from the weather if you take it outside.
Mats made from plastic tend to be ‘stickier’ which can aid your practice, or you can opt for natural rubber - this can provide more cushioning for your joints.
A smooth mat can be nicer to practice on, but make sure the surface is sticky enough to keep you in place.
Small ridges in your mat can make it easier for you to grip.
You want to feel comfortable, without the mat being so soft that you can’t keep your balance
Bear in mind that you will spend a lot of time looking at your mat, so make sure you are happy with your colour choice
By choosing a mat made from natural fibres, or which can be recycled you will be supporting the environment
We want you to be really happy with your mat, as hopefully you will use it a lot, so check to see if there is a 14 day money back guarantee system in place before you order.
You don’t want to overstretch your budget when buying a mat, but remember that choosing a better quality will keep your mat working well, for longer.
Yoga mat maintenance
Check your mat, as some can only be hand washed, but most can be washed on a gentle, cold water cycle. Skip the dryer though.
An easy way to keep your mat in good condition is to hand wash after each use. Simply fill a spray bottle with some water and a few drops of natural soap, and use a microfiber cloth to clean gently.