In need of a yoga mat? Want to replace your old yoga mat with a new one? Let us help you make the right choice of yoga mats. You must know that not all yoga mats are made the same.
Decades ago, most yoga mats were only of two colors - blue and purple primarily made from PVC due to the stickiness of PVC.
Nowadays, there are many more created yoga mats of diverse colors, patterns, and materials that suit one’s unique style of preference and priority in every yoga practice.
Therefore, it is important to know just the right kind of yoga mat is best for you for your yoga practice.
Generally, your yoga mats should be environmentally friendly, portable, storable, and comfortable to keep you stable during your yoga poses.
However, the type of material your yoga mat is made of and how it is made, the surface texture, and the thickness of the mat are important in determining if they will achieve these purposes.
In this blog post, I will be guiding you on how to choose a yoga mat that can suit your priorities, lifestyle, budget, and most importantly your yoga practice.
I will be sharing the basic qualities to look for in a yoga mat and also offer you some suggestions on the best yoga mats to consider.
What Should I Look for when Buying a Yoga Mat?
Yoga mats are produced from a wide range of materials and come in a variety of lengths, textures, and colors.
Therefore, you should take into account several factors to consider if you want a yoga mat. These factors are important for your requirements, particularly as they relate to the type of yoga you practice. Here are 7 factors to look for when choosing a yoga mat to buy.
Stickiness is an important factor to look for when choosing to buy a yoga mat.
This is because when you transition from one yoga pose to the next or when you hold poses for a few seconds, a sticky yoga mat is what will prevent you from stumbling around and helps you keep your alignment.
A good sticky yoga mat together with a yoga towel topper will prevent you from slipping and also make cleaning up easier.
Very good sticky yoga mats are those made of PVC mats and natural rubber mats. They are very durable, strong, long-lasting, and sticky to provide you with the same incredibly strong traction during yoga.
Are you looking for Best Yoga Mats For Sweaty Hands and Feet? Take a look at our helpful reviews to get more tips and tricks to choose the right one for you.
Style is another important factor to look into. When it comes to choosing a yoga mat to buy, the choice of a style or design that is appealing and pleasant to the eyes is exciting and delightful.
Buying a yoga mat whose style you love will inspire and encourage your yoga practice. Therefore, check for the patterns, colors, and print that you will find pleasing to you.
However, you must know that the style of a yoga mat does not in any way affect its functionality.
Therefore, the decision of which yoga mat to buy based on style should be made last after you have narrowed down your choices based on other factors such as thickness, stickiness, price, material, texture, and eco-friendliness.
If you are looking for how to carry your yoga mat on your bike so that it still looks stylish, make sure you check out our guides here.
3. Price range
It's important to understand that you don't have to spend more money on a yoga mat to get a good one.
This simply means that a yoga mat's price does not guarantee that it will serve your needs better than a cheaper mat. Your needs should be satisfied by a decent basic sticky mat in a standard size.
Therefore, if you are a beginner yogi, it is okay to go for cheaper yoga mats that satisfy your requirements and postpone spending money on an expensive mat till you find a yoga practice you enjoy.
Generally, a basic PVC sticky yoga mat with a thickness of 1/8 inch will typically fall into the lower price range while the cost of an eco-friendly yoga mat is typically in the higher price range.
It is important to consider thickness when looking to buy yoga mats because a yoga mat's thickness has a significant impact on how comfortable it is and will be.
If it's too thin, crescent lunges may cause damage to your knee while if it is too thick, you may make find it more difficult to feel firmly grounded to the floor when making poses like Tree Pose more unstable.
Generally, the choice of thickness of a yoga mat is based on a matter of taste, comfort, and knowledge of the yogis and yoga style.
A thinner, more flexible mat is usually more comfortable for beginner yogis, while advanced yogis might prefer the extra padding that a thicker, extra-thick yoga mat offers.
Yoga mats come in different ranges of thickness from ultra-lightweight, portable travel models that weigh just 2 lbs to plush, quarter-inch monsters that weigh up to 7 lbs. The yoga mat thickness of a standard yoga mat is about 1/8 inch.
In terms of yoga mat thickness, there are two types of standard yoga mats which are thicker mats and thinner mats.
1. Thicker mats: For yogis with sore knees or stiff joints, thicker mats starting at 1/4 inches’ thickness are more comfortable for them during forearm and kneeling poses.
Thicker yoga mats offer more cushioning and softness for more therapeutic yoga exercises that make yogis enjoy restorative yoga that involves holding fewer poses for longer periods. However, thicker mats are heavier and can be more difficult to balance.
2. Thinner mats: To engage in yoga poses that require balance and focus, a thinner mat is preferable for increased stability. When the poses become more difficult, a thinner yoga mat will have textured surfaces to maintain a better grip.
A thin yoga mat can help you feel more grounded and in control. Additionally, since they won't bunch up, thin mats will work better with more vigorous or flow movements. For hot yoga classes, many yogis prefer to use a thin mat with a yoga towel as a top layer.
Yoga mats are available in a wide range of materials, including cork, natural rubber, and PVC. Yoga mats of the highest caliber are made of polyvinyl chloride or natural latex rubber (PVC).
However, each material comes with different advantages and disadvantages.
· PVC yoga mats: These are mats made of PVC, a plastic-based material. They are usually sticky mats that are durable, enduring, latex-free, and cleanable.
The downside of these yoga mats is that they become extremely slick when wet with sweat and are not as eco-friendly or biodegradable as other options for yoga mat materials.
· Natural rubber yoga mats: These mats are made of natural latex that makes them pliable, dense, and long-lasting natural rubber mats.
A natural rubber mat has a texture that helps with traction and is incredibly cozy to wear. However, they aren't as resilient and durable as PVC mats, but if sustainability is important to you, they are worth it.
· Cork yoga mats: These mats are made from a thin layer of natural cork on either the top of rubber or PVC materials. Cork mats offer good traction and are very sturdy and are eco-friendlier and are even 100 percent recyclable.
· Thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) yoga mats: TPE mats are a synthetic mixture typically made of rubber and plastic polymers. Some TPE mats are fully recyclable, making them potentially more environmentally friendly than PVC.
TPE mats still provide good traction despite generally being less durable than PVC mats of the same thickness.
How much traction your yoga mat offers depends on its texture. Texture has an impact on how much you slide and slip, similar to stickiness. It provides actual barriers against slipping (whereas stickiness relies on suction).
Additionally, texture contributes to overall comfort because it influences how a yoga mat feels. In yoga classes, a grippy mat will prevent you from slipping if you perspire a lot.
Yoga mats come in a variety of textures, from completely smooth to extremely rough. A cotton yoga mat or a rubber yoga mat is a well-textured mat to prevent slipping no matter how sweaty or intense your practice becomes.
A PVC yoga mat is a smooth mat and is the best option if smoothness in texture is important to you.
Yoga mats come in a variety of environmentally friendly materials. Eco-friendly mats ought to be durable, toxin-free, and sustainable in addition to being long-lasting.
Most eco-friendly yoga mats are made of natural or recycled rubber, organic cotton, or jute. If protecting the environment is important to you, stay away from yoga mats made of PVC (conventional sticky mats), which cannot be recycled and does not decompose in landfills.
You can purchase an environmentally friendly yoga mat, that has the thickness you need for comfort and portability, and has a texture that prevents slipping (like a raised geometric pattern).
How Does Your yoga practice level influence the kind of yoga mat you should choose?
Right before we consider the things to look for when buying yoga mats. I believe it is important to let you know the right yoga mat to go for is largely influenced by the level of yoga practice you are on.
This is because your yoga level will enable you to know the yoga mat to get the help you get the right standing and required adaptation you need in yoga.
Therefore, let me show the requirements expected of a yoga mat at each yoga level ranging from beginner level up to advanced level.
Beginner yoga level
Beginner yogis who practice yoga briefly and do only simple comfortable yoga pose require a yoga mat with a good grip and thickness. This is because grip and thickness are very important when you're a complete beginner.
Most beginner yoga poses are Hatha, Yin, Restorative, or Prenatal which tend to emphasize slower postures and being in contact with the floor. Therefore, it is beneficial for you to choose a yoga mat that is between 5-8mm thick to help protect your joints.
Moreover, a thick yoga mat will also make it easier for you to transport it to your classes.
Intermediate yoga level
As an intermediate yoga practitioner who can comfortably perform all the basic yoga poses, such as the Downward-Facing Dog or the Tree Pose, your practice is now at a medium intensity level that will work your muscles and cause you to sweat.
Therefore, it is required of you to use a yoga mat that is thick enough (about 8mm thick) to withstand lengthy sessions of yoga.
Advanced yoga level
At an advanced level of yoga practice, it is required of you to build strength and flexibility to find it easier to do increasingly difficult and vigorous hot yoga poses.
As an advanced yogi, your top priority in choosing yoga mats should be to choose one that gives better stability and ensures plenty of grips. This is to ensure that you don't slip.
The best option for a yoga mat for advanced yogis is a thin mat that is 1-5mm thick and made of pure rubber to ensure maximum grip.
Now that you are aware of what is required at each level of yoga practice, let's dive straightway into looking at the things to consider when buying a yoga mat.
Best 5 Yoga Mats Review
1. The Amazon Basics 1/2-inch extra thick yoga mat
For yoga practices that involve floor exercises, the Amazon Basics 1/2-Inch Extra Thick Yoga Mat is the perfect mat. This is because it offers a textured surface that provides secure traction for motion and poses.
Its 1/2-inch thickness provides padding support that makes it possible to exercise comfortably on wood floors and other hard surfaces.
The yoga mat is made of durable foam that is both lightweight and strong, and it offers dependable performance and can withstand frequent use.
They are simple to transport to yoga class; all you need to do is roll the mat up and fasten the elastic strap.
2. The BalanceFrom all-purpose high-density yoga mat
When performing yoga poses on hard floors, this high-density foam eco-friendly material provides support, cushion, balance, and comfort for your spine, hips, knees, and elbows.
It's great for anyone with sensitive joints or who wants a versatile mat to help them with bodyweight exercises because the foam material is softer and lends more supple cushioning.
Due to its moisture-resistant technology and integrated anti-tearing net, the mat can be easily washed with soap and water. It has a yoga mat thickness of 1/4".
You can maintain your balance while practicing any yoga style on this mat due to its excellent slip resistance. Its lightweight design and simple strapping make it easy to transport and store.
3. The BalanceFrom all-purpose anti-tear yoga mat
This is a yoga mat with a premium thickness of 1/2-inch-thick that has two non-slip surfaces, which is a great advantage for preventing slips and falls. If you usually practice yoga on hard floors, this mat will provide cozy padding for your spine, hips, knees, and elbows.
It is a 71" long 24" wide and 1/2" thick yoga mat that ensures comfort for people of all shapes and sizes.
4. The Manduka PROlite Yoga Mat
If you are looking for a yoga mat to make a long-lasting purchase, the Manduka PROlite yoga mat is a good buy. A yoga instructor is likely to recommend this mat because of its reputation as one of the best mats on the market.
The Manduka PROlite yoga mat is renowned for taking some break-in time before it turns into the non-slip mat people adore.
This is a 6mm thick yoga mat made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material certified safe for human contact by OEKO-TEX*, a material certification organization in Europe for the textile industry.
The ultra-dense cushion on this Manduka Pro mat offers the best support, comfort, and stability for your delicate body joints while practicing yoga.
Due to the PVC material's closed cell structure, the mat has a longer lifespan and is easier to clean because moisture and bacteria are kept off the surface.
5. The POPFLEX Vegan Suede Yoga Mat
Are you highly interested in using a stylish and patterned design yoga mat? The POPFLEX Vegan Suede Yoga Mat is your perfect option for any hot yoga class.
The POPFLEX Vegan Suede Yoga Mat is a 5mm thickly cushioned mat with a colorful design and plenty of space for your yoga workouts.
This thick exercise mat for home workouts or even as a hot yoga mat combines style and durability to create the cutest of thick exercise mats.
It is a non-slip yoga mat whose vibrant design shouldn't tear or deteriorate over time. This lightweight, high-density thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) base layer material mat is an ideal yoga mat for fitness for women yogis.
This is because it is specifically designed to offer support for women's joints.
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Frequently Asked Questions - How To Choose A Yoga Mat?
What’s the difference between a yoga mat and an exercise mat?
The main distinction between a yoga mat and an exercise mat is in the mat thickness to maintain your physical fitness.
Compared to an exercise mat, a yoga mat has a better surface rough structure frequently needed to maintain certain poses, which requires more mat grip.
Can you put a yoga mat in the washing machine?
Yes, you can put your yoga mat in the washing machine to clean it. By machine-washing your yoga mat, you can prevent the growth and spread of bacteria produced from sweat and skin oils.
Cleaning yoga mats in the washing machine will make your yoga mat healthier to use and more pleasant to be around.
What's the best way to clean a yoga mat?
It's better to keep things simple when cleaning your yoga mat. Spray a liberal amount of warm water and a few drops of your preferred dish soap mixture on your yoga mat's surface, then gently scrub it with a microfiber towel.
Repeat by flipping it over. Finally, give your yoga mat a quick rinse in warm water and hang it up to dry naturally.
You might also want to check out our guides on How To Clean Yoga Mat At Home for more helpful tips and tricks!
Should your yoga mat be longer than you are?
For maximum comfort, a yoga mat should be 15–25 cm (7–10 inches) longer than your height. It is recommended to add this extra length to avoid slipping during practice.
Although there is no straightforward response or one rule as to how much longer it should be. Simply anything that will work for you.
How to choose a yoga mat size?
Your body and your yoga practice will determine what size mat is best for you. For the majority of yogis, a mat with dimensions of 68 by 24 inches is ideal.
However, a 72- or 74-inch-long mat might be more practical for you if you are on the tall side. For those who want more room, extra-wide mats are also an option.
Conclusion – How to choose a yoga mat?
Yoga mats are important accessories to have if you're interested in practicing yoga. Therefore, you must carefully decide and choose the yoga mat that satisfies your priorities.
Yoga mats are produced from a wide range of materials and come in a variety of lengths, textures, and colors. So, you need to take into account several factors if you want a yoga mat.
These factors to look for include the kind of material of mat you want, the individual requirements relating to the type of yoga practice, and physical characteristics such as the mat’s thickness, texture, and stickiness.
Furthermore, you need to look out for an environmentally friendly yoga mat that falls within your budget and satisfies your yoga practice requirements.
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