Whether you’ve been practicing for a long time, are new to yoga, or are just looking for an exercise mat, the amount choices can be vast and overwhelming. There are many options from mat thickness to materials used that you could choose from that allow you to fully customize your yoga mat needs.
First off, let’s talk about mat thickness, what it is, how it’s measured, and why it’s important. The thickness of a yoga mat is going to determine how much squish, or padding, a mat has and is measured is usually measured in millimeters or inches. Since mats are placed on the floor, it can be nice to have some extra cushion for your joints or, if you are doing a lot of kneeling in your practice, it can be a bonus to have a thicker mat. ¼ inch is a moderate amount of thickness for a mat and works for many people but if you’re an individual who has achy joints or someone who uses your mat on a daily basis, you may want to look into getting a 6mm or 8mm thick mat. Mats also come in different lengths, so if you’re a taller individual a longer mat may be more comfortable for you.
The materials used to make a yoga mat can vary from cork to recycled PVC. If you are planning to sweat a lot on your mat or use it for hot yoga, then you will want to make sure that the material you choose is slip-resistant so you don’t loose your grip. There are plenty of options for sustainable, recyclable, and eco-friendly yoga mats, and it pays to shop around for a quality mat within your price range. A good-quality mat can last you for many years (I’ve had mine for nearly 12 years and have used it on an almost-daily basis during that entire time!). Another reason for choosing quality material is because a mat will be something you sweat on and roll around on regularly so having material that isn’t toxic that could possibly affect your body.
Another option to consider when looking for a mat is whether or not to get an alignment mat. Perfect for beginners, these mats come with visual markers to help align your hands and feet in yoga postures. If an alignment mat doesn’t sound appealing, there’s no need to worry! Mats come in all colors, styles, with drawings or without. Some mats are even customizable so you will have a unique experience each time you step on your mat to practice.
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