What Makes a Good Yoga Mat?

What Makes a Good Yoga Mat?

Yoga mats come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, colors and prints, and materials. If you’ve never had experience with buying one before, their assortment of features can make it difficult to understand what makes a good yoga mat.

No matter if you’re searching for one for personal use at home or if you want to sign up for a yoga class in your area, it’s important for you to find the perfect one for your needs.

As a phenomenal way to improve the overall strength of your body, there’s no reason as to why you shouldn’t be thinking about what to look for in the perfect yoga mat. 

Thinking About Thickness

Considering your yoga mat will be directly on the floor (typically a hard ceramic or wood floor), it’s important to find a design that offers premium thickness. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than having your knees, back, feet, and hands directly on solid ground for up to an hour at a time.

The last thing you’ll want to do is deal with bruises along with a sore body.

Though it’s important to remember, the thickness of your mat will depend on your personal use, as you might not want a thick design because it can make it a little more difficult to find stability through the floor. In addition, thicker mats can be impossible to travel with, for example, if you’re on your way to a yoga retreat and have limited luggage space.

The typical yoga mat measures at approximately one-eighth of an inch thick whereas thicker variations can be a quarter inch thick. If you’re looking for supremely thin mats that are recommended for travel but don’t protect you from floor hardness, they can be as thin as one-sixteenth of an inch thick. 

Finding the Right Material

If there’s one thing, aside from thickness, that is important to consider when shopping for a yoga mat it’s surely the material it’s made out of. The material itself is responsible for how sticky the mat is, whether it’s eco-friendly or not, and the texture you’ll feel underneath your palms and feet.

Similar to the different thicknesses of yoga mats, there are also several different materials they are available in.

The vast majority of traditional yoga mats are constructed out of PVC, which is essentially vinyl and is certainly not the eco-friendliest material in the world. With that being said, PVC is incredibly simple to clean and maintain which is perfect for people who prefer to sweat a lot during their workouts.

If you’re aiming for a mat that offers little to no sponginess, your best bet is to opt for more natural materials such as cotton or jute. Although they are quite eco-friendly, easy to travel with, and can be folded in a matter of seconds, they don’t give your body the comfort and support it needs.

At the end of the day, PVC seems to be the ideal material of choice as it is spongy, easy to clean, and sticky enough to stay on the floor as you transition from pose to pose. 

Choosing the Perfect Texture

The texture of your yoga mat offers far more benefits than how it feels under your skin, as it also determines how slippery it will be once it’s on the floor. When you’re participating in yoga, the last thing you’ll want is a yoga mat that forces you to slip and slide all over the floor.

This is when you’ll want to take the time to test out different textures to determine which one would benefit you the most.

Texture can come in two forms: fabricated or natural. In PVC yoga mats, you’ll experience more of a synthetic texture, which may include integrated ridges or raised bumps for additional traction. Whereas with natural materials such as cotton or jute, they will offer a roughness that is organic to the specific material.

Regardless of your needs, there are plenty of textures to choose from as mats can range from entirely smooth to incredibly rigid. 

What Makes a Good Yoga Mat? Stickiness is Key

Similar to the texture of the mat you’re searching for, stickiness is another factor to take into consideration because the stickier the mat is, the easier it’s going to be for your mat to stay in place. This is especially true if you’re working out on a hard surface such as tile or hardwood.

The main difference between stickiness and texture is that texture can make it difficult for the mat to move, but stickiness can prevent the mat from moving at all.

PVC is the ideal material for yoga beginners because it has the highest level of stickiness when compared to all other yoga mat materials. Though it is important to note that they will only be sticky once they have been cleaned, this is another important part of maintaining your yoga mat for long-term durability and reliability.

On the other end of the spectrum, organic materials are going to have little to no stickiness, meaning it will be incredibly easy to slip on any type of flooring from carpet to tile. Even cleaning the yoga mat won’t make it less likely to slip across surfaces, and as such, organic materials are typically recommended for advanced yoga connoisseurs. 

Working Out in Style

It’s hard to imagine using workout materials or tools that aren’t stylish, in fact, there have been plenty of studies that suggest the prouder you are of your workout gear, the more likely you will be to use it. This also applies to your yoga mats as choosing one with the perfect style to accentuate your other gear can entice you to be active more often.

There are plenty of different styles you can choose from including mats that are different colors, accentuate patterns, and are designed by different companies with fashionable elements in mind. 

How Do I Find the Right Yoga Mat?

By taking advantage of all of these tips and tricks, finding the perfect yoga mat is far simpler than you think. As long as you choose a model that is designed with your comfort and ease of use in mind, you’ll be reaching for it on a regular basis.

In addition, you’ll have a much simpler and fun time pushing your body into relaxing and relieving positions.

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