The Perfect Mat – How do you choose?
From all the yoga props you can buy, your yoga mat is the most important and most personal yoga prop that you can choose. So how then, do you make the right choice when there are so many mats on the market? You need to ask yourself what you want from your mat. Do you want an eco friendly Natural Rubber, TPE, 6P Free, Bamboo or Jute yoga mat, or are you happy with PVC? What thickness do you think you may need? This will depend a lot on what surface you practice on. If you practice on a rug or carpet, a standard 4mm mat will most likely be enough. However if you are practicing on a hard floor, maybe you should consider purchasing a 5mm or 6mm mat to give you more cushioning. Be careful though, as sometimes more cushioning can prevent smoother movement and can sometimes hinder stability. The next thing to consider is the length. Yoga Mats come in a range of different lengths, usually from 175cm right up to 200cm long. For the average person 175cm is enough. The best way to check that you have the correct length is to choose a length that is about 10cm more than your height. this way you will have plenty of room on the mat when lying down. The grip of the yoga mat seems to be one of the greatest concerns for most yogis. You don't want to have your hands and feet slipping when in a certain asana. It is sometimes helpful to have a small amount of slip to aid movement between asanas, but at the same time you need to be confident that your hands and feet will hold in the correct position. Natural Rubber Yoga Mats will have the best grip. This is due to the texture of the material, but also because of the absorbency of the rubber, any sweat on your hands will be absorbed by the mat rather than sitting on the surface. If you are a practitioner of Hot Yoga, Bikram or you sweat a lot, the rubber mat would be a good choice. Other options are to add a Non-slip Yoga Towel over the top of your mat. Test the grip out before you buy, keep in mind that sometimes new yoga mats have a greasy film on them, which will dissipate over time and with regular use. Wiping your new mat with warm soapy water will also help with obtaining good grip. Be sure to let the mat dry completely before rolling it up. Other points to consider when choosing your Yoga Mat is colour, texture, durability, and portability, all of which are very personal choices. Since becoming a retailer of mats, I have many yogis asking me about how to choose a mat. Apart from outlining the above information to them, it is important to realise that everyone is different, and each person will react to a mat differently. The best advise I can give you is to ask other yogis about their mats and how they find them. Talk to your Yoga Teacher. Ask if you can borrow theirs for a class. Do some research of your own. Come and visit us at Yoga King and try out a few mats for yourself. We look forward to seeing you soon