If you’re thinking about how do you choose a yoga mat? Don’t be afraid, I’ll show you how to choose now!
I’ve summed up everything you need to know before you buy a new yoga mat. Finally, I’ll introduce the yoga mat according to the price. (The price is certainly a factor in our choice, but even if the budget is low, you can read the whole article. Trust me, it will help you a lot on your way to yoga! Next, I would like to recommend 8 types of yoga mats.
(1) you need 6 reasons to buy a yoga mat.
(2) the material of the yoga mat — what material is better?
(3)Thickness of the yoga mat – how thick do you want to buy a yoga mat?
(4) The adhesion, grip and texture of the yoga mat
(5) Size of yoga mat
(6) Cleaning and care of yoga mat — How to wash yoga mat
Finally: I am often asked questions about yoga mats
Six reasons to buy a yoga mat
In my experience, there are six key reasons to buy a yoga mat:
The first is health. If you’re in a group class at the gym or yoga studio, I’m not convinced that the free mats provided by the gym are often washed and disinfected (more so this year) . If you get someone’s yoga mat, it’s normal to smell like their feet or sweat.
Second, security. Unless you’re going to a restorative class or some other type of yoga class, you’re bound to sweat at some point (in a hot yoga class, people sweat more). A good yoga mat is a good friend so you can avoid slipping and falling. Compared to slippery and hardwood, I think the surface of a yoga mat with a grip is perfectly safe.
Third, comfort. The cushioning of the yoga mat will soothe your sensitive knees and protruding bones (such as the tailbone). You can try Paripurna Navasana, or boat pose, on a hard floor or yoga mat. It’s a totally different experience.
Fourth, the modification of the body. When I practised yoga for a few years, I realized that the yoga mat was the reference point for this. When I don’t have the awareness, I often think that when the teacher says “keep your belly button straight in front” in warrior I pose, I think it’s right when…Until I look down and I see my belly button is facing sideways (like warrior II pose).
Now, there are all kinds of cool yoga mats on the market, with lines on them. It tells you where your feet and hands are.
Fifth, spatial labelling. If you’ve ever practised in a very crowded yoga room, you should know that to avoid awkward contact with other people’s limbs, your yoga mat is a sign of personal space.
Sixth, Remind yourself to stick to yoga. It may sound like chicken soup, but it works. When I saw the mat, I realized that I should keep practising yoga. Because mat was a constant reminder that can remind me not to give up yoga.
yoga mat material — what material is very high quality?
You may have heard or seen PVC, TPE, NBR…These messy nouns can give people a headache. But I strongly suggest that you should read it carefully. I will try to use the easiest words to explain.
Because the material of the yoga mat is the most basic choice. Why do you say that?
Because the material will determine:
The lifespan of a yoga mat
Whether the yoga mat is environmentally friendly
Can it be recycled?
How much grip does the mat have when the surface is wet/dry?
The degree of ease and difficulty of mat cleaning.
PVC yoga mat
PVC (vinyl) yoga MATS was called the foam pads, which were the first on the market and are still one of the mainstream options. Because this kind of mat is very cheap accompanies durable characteristics and can be cleaned easily.
While it sounds like there are many advantages to PVC, there are many disadvantages to PVC.
PVC is not recyclable, which can be potentially harmful to your health. PVC is made from yoga mats that may contain lead, cadmium, and phthalates.
Of course, if you clean properly, you’re less likely to get sick while doing yoga on a PVC mat.
It’s easy to tell: the surface is uneven.
Advantages: cheap, easy to clean
Disadvantages: May contain toxic substances, when wet, it can be hard to hold
I bought this material at the time, but I don’t recommend it now. Because it is harmful to health.
TPE yoga mat
TPE is a synthetic material that combines the qualities of rubber and plastic pads. Like PVC, there are many chemical components in the production process. However, the materials produced can themselves be recycled without harming the environment.
In general, it is difficult to control which substances are contained in TPE mixtures. However, the material is more environmentally friendly than PVC, making it a safe choice for yoga enthusiasts who are allergic to rubber or latex.
When making TPE yoga mats, closed-cell technology manufacturing is usually employed, which has an impermeable texture and can repel sweat and dirt. If you find yourself wearing a yoga mat in heavy rain, don’t worry. But if you get caught in a TPE mat during a hot yoga class, worry – you could lose grip and slip to the ground.
Advantages: affordable, durable, easy to clean, sweat/dirt proof
Disadvantages: heavy chemical industry, loss of grip when it wet
Calloway TPE yoga mat 61cm double-sided embossed monochrome 6
NBR yoga mat
(NBR) is a non – toxic synthetic rubber material. Yoga mats made of NBR are usually thick and about 10 mm or more. Therefore, this type of yoga mat is more suitable for people with sensitive joints or injuries. However, as always, there is a trade-off — more cushioning is less balanced in the standing position of those who practice yoga mats.
Advantages: thick and dense (suitable for sensitive joints), light, sweatproof/dirt proof, easy to clean and durable
Disadvantages: difficult balance, low sun fastness. After getting wet, it lost its grip
The NBR is one of the thickest yoga MATS on the market, and the size is usually 10mm (more on what thickness you should choose below), which provides the best cushion for those who have bad knees.
Natural rubber yoga mat
My favourite yoga mat is natural rubber (but not if you’re allergic to rubber or latex).
This material is non-toxic, biodegradable and durable.
In general, natural rubber pads have a good grip and a considerable cushion.
On the other hand, I expect a strange smell from using this yoga mat — but it’s a natural rubber stench.
Advantages: soft, excellent skid resistance, easy to clean;
Cons: If you are allergic to latex, don’t use it. The mat is heavy, smelly, and not suitable for use outdoors in the hot sun with high costs.
The lululemon yoga mat, for example, is known for its natural rubber (so expensive) :
Lululemon | Two-sided yoga mat 3mm-Double Sided Marbled LU
Cork yoga mat
Cork yoga mats are made from the bark of trees combined with natural rubber or TPE (as a base), and cork is a good environmental friendly material with renewable, biodegradable and natural antibacterial properties.
But what appeals to me most about the cork yoga mat is that the wetter the surface, the better the grip — because it’s better at absorbing water.
On the other hand, cork yoga mats can be harder to clean because of the material’s high absorbency.
Advantages of yoga mat: Environmentally friendly and renewable materials, cork yoga mat has antibacterial properties, which is very suitable for yoga lovers with sweaty palms.
Cons: Heavy, harder to clean, cork pads can sometimes shatter and flake.
Cotton and linen yoga mat
Known as the Mysore Yoga mat, this yoga mat is made of cotton, organic cotton and hemp and is environmentally friendly. Also, it’s recyclable.
The disadvantage is that cotton and hemp yoga mats are not as thick as normal mats, which is unusual/problematic for beginners as this material does not have the necessary grip strength yet. On the other side, the body’s “run-in period” to build strength is better than always relying on the stickiness of the yoga mat.
Advantages of yoga mat: environmental protection and natural, light and portable, moisture absorption, durable
How to choose the thickness of the yoga mat — How thick should you buy the yoga mat?
There are five grades of common yoga mat thickness on the market, such as 1mm, 3mm, 5mm, 8mm and 10mm.
The thicker the mat, the greater the cushioning for your joints, knees and spine, but this yoga mat can weaken your balance.
Look at the anatomy of our knee. You can see that our knees actually have soft tissue (shown in blue). When we do difficult poses such as handstands, the body may land on the knees while returning to the original pose.
In this case, a thicker yoga mat is a good buffer to protect our knees.
If the mat is too thin, your knees may get frayed. It has been said that the better people practice, the thinner their mats are. Because the master can control the core well. They are also able to control their body when they go down, otherwise, their knees or other joints hit the ground directly.
While a thick yoga mat may seem protective, and it’s also very soft and comfortable for people to sit on, it’s not always an advantage.
If your yoga mat is too soft, you may find it difficult to balance them, and you may even switch positions such as planakasana or tree pose to make you more wobbly.
In addition, the yoga mat is proportional to the thickness. If you plan to store your mat in a yoga studio or only use it at home, you shouldn’t worry too much about it.
In a word, 5mm is suitable for all levels of practitioners to practice. When they’ve reached a certain point, it’s not too late to change to a yoga mat of different thicknesses.
The adhesion, grip and texture of the yoga mat
We tend to think that the stickier the mat is in direct proportion to the more firmly the surface is – that is, non-slip.
But I would say that the grip we seek is not practical enough for most people. Instead, we should strike the right balance between grip and freedom of movement. What does that mean?
For example, when you go from the high bow to the warrior 2, you need a grip, which is weaker. When you jump (like a handstand) you need a little bit bigger leap, which requires your hand to grasp the ground well.
Natural rubber pads are great for anti-slip when the weather is dry, but if you sweat, put a yoga towel over them and work out on a yoga mat.
How to make a yoga mat less slippery?
Many yoga mats can be at their best in the shortest amount of time, which requires a so-called “run-in period.” As time goes, the smoothness of the mat will wear off.
You can scrub your new yoga mat with salt to help your body get used to it as quickly as possible. Sea salt is mixed with warm water and you wipe it with a brush or towel. Some also suggest that you should clean your new mat with diluted vinegar. You can leave your mat out in the sun for a few hours a day, which may also help eliminate the bad smell.
Note: If your yoga mat is made of natural rubber, keep it out of the sun on a large scale because the temperature can make the rubber “go bad.”
Size of yoga mat
A yoga mat is usually about 180 cm long and 61 cm wide.
This size is suitable for most people to practice yoga poses, which can provide enough space for standing and supine positions. In fact, as long as your head and feet are within range of the mat while you’re doing a savasana, there’s plenty of room.
If you prefer to practice in a larger space. There are 180 cm, 182 cm, 188 cm and 213 cm super long yoga mats sold on the market.
If the mat is longer/wider, after you practice, it will be heavier to roll up and carry around.
Vi. Cleaning and maintenance of yoga mat — How to wash yoga mat
You don’t forget to scrub your yoga mat every once in a while
If you’re buying a new mat, you should clean it first to get rid of odours — yoga mats that are made from in factory can leave behind chemical or natural rubber odours. Therefore, take good care of your yoga mat so you can use it all the time.
So how do you wash your yoga mat?
When you can finish each yoga class, you can quickly clean the yoga mat. In the meantime, you can wipe your yoga mat with a damp cloth or add water to disinfect an aqueous solution, which will kill bacteria and also get rid of sweaty feet.
Do not use essential oils as they may clog the material. Although yoga mats can give off fragrance, they can reduce the mat’s anti-skid properties.
Please do not use soap or body wash, as some mats may absorb the soap and it will become very slippery over the next few days.
After you clean the mat, please make sure it dries before you roll it up.
New cushions are washed in the same way.
One tip: Please don’t fold the mat over long periods of time because it will crease (the mat will break over time).
Finally: On the yoga mat, I am often asked the following questions:
Can you recommend the best yoga mat for beginners?
If you’re new to yoga, you’re not really engaged in other activities. I suggest you buy a thicker mat, which will make the exercise more comfortable and you will slowly build joint and muscle strength.
Why are yoga mats so expensive?
You may think that buying an expensive yoga mat isn’t worth it.
However, the material quality of the yoga mat, people can use it for a long time.No amount of money can get you back your health if you compare it to the price.
Does a yoga mat have both sides?
Many yoga mats are reversible, so it’s not important to know the difference between the front and the back.
It’s usually patterned with one side up. If you don’t have patterns, you can look at the surface carefully — the concave and convex sides tend to go up and the smooth ones should stick to the ground.
What’s the difference between a yoga mat and an exercise mat?
Exercise mats help people absorb the impact of weight training. At the same time, this is made for the comfort of sitting and supine exercise.
You’ll most likely be wearing sneakers over a gym mat, and your sneakers also have a certain anti-skid grip. Therefore, the fitness mat is not based on anti-skid performance, but focuses on compression and cushioning, which is also the reason that the fitness mat is thicker than the yoga mat.
Yoga mats, on the other hand, are designed for shoeless practice, where the surface is stronger, the grip is stronger and this increases stability and safety.
How about a folded portable yoga mat?
The collapsible travel yoga mat is really thin (less than 1.5 mm), making it ideal for travel and collapsible.
However, what happens to your joints? As mentioned earlier, the mat is too thin to the knee can put some pressure, especially if the novice is not able to control the core. However, if you’re practising on a 5mm mat right now, which is reduced by 1.5cm, you’ll feel a huge difference.