Yoga has become increasingly popular in the last decade in the United States and even more so in India. While yoga has been around for centuries, it has become one of the more practiced forms of exercise today. Yoga is a great way to stretch our bodies and sculpt our muscles. It also teaches us how to breathe correctly and offers a meditative release.
While there are many different kinds of yoga and practices from classes, outdoor yoga or even at home, the one thing they all have in common is the use of the yoga mat. With our different practices and body types, we each have specific requirements in a yoga mat that make us feel comfortable when practicing.
With the popularity of yoga, the yoga mats have also become more solid, textured and high quality. There are, in fact, so many different types of yoga mats to choose from that it is really hard to know which one is best.
A quality yoga mat is extremely important to help maintain your balance and have the right posture. If you are in a yoga practice that makes you sweat, you want that is sticky enough so you don’t slip on the mat. And, of course, we all want a mat that has enough cushioning to protect our body and joints.
There are 6 common qualities that you should consider when purchasing a new yoga mat:
The traction of the mat you purchase can be very important no matter what type of yoga you practice. A mat which has some traction is important but you want to be comfortable when moving. The texture of the mat also determines the traction and a rougher mat is ideal as you advance in your yoga practice.
2. Eco-friendly mats
There are so many reasons to buy an eco-friendly mat not only because they are better for the environment, but they’re not made with toxic materials. The cheaper plastic mats are not as popular today as they were years ago because they have a negative impact on the environment as well as our bodies. The good news is that most companies will sell a variety of eco-friendly yoga mats due to their popularity. They are made out of cork, cotton and even jute and tend to be very durable.
3. The Thickness of the Mats
The thickness you want in a mat usually depends on your body type and the kind of yoga you practice. A thicker mat is better for those of us that have back or any joint paint. It is also typically preferred if you practice a more meditative style of yoga. The thickness, however, might make it harder to feel the floor. Therefore, it depends on your body type and what’s important to you.
4. Durability of the Mat
You always want a high-quality mat that will last a long time. While plastic mats do last a long time because they are made with a synthetic type of material, a high-quality more expensive mat is worth it in the long run. There are plenty of eco-friendly mats as well as other quality mats that can last you years.
5. Sticky vs. Slippery mats
A stickier mat is usually a better choice in a yoga mat when you are practicing a more advanced type of yoga. A sticky mat makes it easier to keep your alignment correct as well as switching poses. There are many yoga practices that you need to stay positioned for minutes at a time and a sticky mat is certainly more preferable.
6. Length of the mat
The length of the mat can be important to consider and you want a mat that is at least six inches longer than your actual height. If you are tall or more than six feet, there are extra-long yoga mats that you can purchase. If you have broad shoulders, and extra-wide yoga mat should give you the extra space that you might need.
The type of mat you choose depends on your body types and the yoga practiced. Since there are so many high-quality mats on the market, you should be able to find a great one that will last you many years.