Tips for Choosing a Yoga Mat
When I first started yoga a couple years ago I got a mat at Target for about $10. Adequate, but not great.
I recently upgraded to a better mat and was amazed at the difference. The deluxe mat provides traction and support. No more heel slipping in down dog! Plus I do not have the keep putting something down on the edges to keep them from curling up. I picked a color I really like with a subtle lotus flower on it . . . and it puts me in a meditative state of mind. A small indulgence, but worth it.
If you are in the market for a yoga mat, here’s some tips.
Spend a little more. You are worth it.
For retail stores, check places like Marshalls or TJ Maxx, they have better prices than sporting good stores.
Look online for better quality yoga mats. Online retailers like Amazon have more options.
Read the customer reviews at Amazon. Customers give really good honest opinion, not just hype. Look for 5 star reviews.
Remember that yoga mats are not the same as pilates mats. Pilates mats are thicker and not as “sticky.”
A good yoga mat provides proper grip so your feet and hands can sink in a bit and stay. The cheaper mats slide on the floor and do not allow your feet to “stick” to the mat. Sticking to your mat really does help you to hold poses easier.
Look for a mat of medium thickness. Too thin and you feel the floor underneath. Too thick and you sink into it too much, plus it is bulky to carry.
Avoid inexpensive PVC mats. They do not absorb moisture and have an unpleasant order.
Natural fiber mats, such as cotton, jute or cork provide a good feel. However, if you do yoga every day, these may break down too quickly. Some natural mats may get dirtier faster than others. Rubber is another natural material that holds up well and is easier to clean. But be careful choosing a rubber mat if you are allergic to latex. Read the label to see if it has latex.
Spend time thinking about what color you want. Yes, it does matter. Color affects mood. Choose a color you love that relaxes you. Some mats also offer a design to help you focus while holding a pose or just for decoration. Make sure the design will not distract you.
Alternate rolling up your new mat one way and then the other to help prevent corners from curling up.
If you paid more for your mat, you will want a yoga mat bag to keep it clean and away from sunlight. You can buy a yoga mat bag or you can make them. If you do not have a bag, do not store it in sunlight. When you need to clean your mat, use plain water, or water and vinegar.
When buying your mat, look at the other yoga accessories. If you buy them at the same time from an online store, you save on shipping.
If you buy a yoga mat online, first do a search for a coupon code using the name of the store and the words “coupon code” or “free shipping.” You may save some money.
No matter what mat you use, some poses, especially standing ones like tree, are sometimes better done on the floor.
Another tip: Try a new instructor from time to time. You may gain new insights into how to hold a pose.