One of the best things about yoga is that you can practically do it anywhere at anytime. However, using the right equipment can spell the difference between an ordinary yoga session and an excellent yoga session. The yoga mat is an important tool that will help you practice yoga safely and more effectively. Yoga mats provide comfort, balance, and stability to enhance your yoga practice even more. During practice, a specially chosen yoga mat will enable you to create a space to rest and relax. Finding the best yoga mat to meet your needs depends on what kind of yoga you practice and your physical makeup.
Searching for a Quality Yoga Mat
The best yoga mat should have five important qualities. These qualities – stability, support, portability, durability, and eco-friendly – ensure that your yoga mat is the best for your total well-being.
Yoga Mat Stability
To begin with, your yoga mat should prevent you from sliding and slipping when you go through your asanas or postures. Buying a sticky yoga mat will solve this problem since it can provide the solidity you need. Try lying down or sitting on your yoga mat to see how comfortable it feels.
Your yoga mat should provide enough padding to support you and keep you suitably cushioned from the floor. This means that your yoga mat should be the right thickness and length to support your body. The dimensions of your yoga mat should fit your frame accordingly. The type of surface you practice on will also affect the kind of yoga mat you’ll need. For example, thicker mats are better for hard surfaces such as wooden floors.
Your yoga mat should be portable and easy to clean. Some yoga disciplines such as Power Yoga can result in a lot of sweating during practice; therefore you should consider yoga mats which allow for easy cleaning. Furthermore, portability is an important factor in selecting your mat. Although denser yoga mats may be more durable, it is also much heavier to carry. If you practice yoga at home then this is a non-issue. However, yogis who attend classes should consider lighter yoga mats which are more portable and easy to carry.
Your yoga mat should be durable enough to withstand many hours of yoga practice. You want to have a yoga mat that lasts longer than a few yoga sessions. Think about buying a well-built yoga mat that is proven to last for at least a couple of months (or even several years).
Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat
Last but definitely not least, your yoga mat should be made from eco-friendly material. Unfortunately, yoga mats made from eco-friendly materials such as cork and jute are prone to causing allergies. Plastic yoga mats may be more portable, but they don’t last very long and are bad for the environment. The best option is a rubber yoga mat, which is recyclable and is a better alternative to plastic. Rubber yoga mats are highly recommended since they are affordable and good for both the body and the environment. The great thing about rubber yoga mats is the fact that they are biodegradable and will break down eventually.
Caring for Your Yoga Mats
Take care of your yoga mats so that they stay clean and last longer. Using a yoga mat bag to carry your yoga mat around is a good way to protect and maintain its cleanliness. Just roll or fold your yoga mat and place it in your yoga bag whenever you need to go anywhere with it. You can clean your yoga mat by hand washing it or throwing it in the washing machine. Either way, yoga mats are pretty easy to take care of and won’t need a lot of maintenance. Consider your yoga mat as a good investment. Taking care of it will ensure that you’ll be enjoying your yoga sessions for a longer period of time.
Where You Can Find Yoga Mats
There are several yoga mats out in the market today so finding the right yoga mat just takes a bit of time and research. Buying a yoga mat has been made even more convenient with the advent of online shopping. To find good deals, you can search among the items featured in Amazon.com or eBay.com. You can also try going straight to the source, such as manufacturers and direct importers in North America. One example of a manufacturer and direct importer is YogaAccessories.com, which has been in the business of selling yoga equipment for more than a decade. You can also check out BarefootYoga.com, which offers uniquely made yoga equipment designed by Kelly LeFebvre.
The Cost of Yoga Mats
You can expect to spend around fifteen to twenty dollars for a regular mat. However, it is highly likely that these mats are not environment-friendly. If you’re looking for something a bit more special – thicker, custom-fit, eco-friendly – your budget should be around thirty to seventy dollars. However, for those who (a) practice yoga regularly and more intensely, (b) want to invest more in their yoga equipment, and (c) want a lifetime guarantee, there are different kinds of mats available. One is called the Black Mat. The Black Mat is made from PVC and polyester, which aren’t environmentally-friendly but reputedly should last for a lifetime (this particular yoga mat even comes with a lifetime guarantee). This suggests that you’ll be wasting less money and material since you’ll only be using one mat for the rest of your life. Perhaps due to issue of eco-friendly yoga mats, the same company has also released an EKo Mat or EKo Lite. The EKo Mat is made with eco-friendly natural rubber that is not made with trees from the Amazon. The next part in this series will describe these kinds of mats in further detail and will show you how to find the best eco-friendly yoga mat for your yoga sessions.