When you practice yoga, some of the first things that come to mind are the physical and spiritual aspects. The union of the mind, body, and spirit through guided meditation, gentle stretching and breathing exercises are the foundation of a tradition that spans over a thousand years. What we rarely ever think about is the literal foundation that supports us as we practice our yoga – the good old yoga mat.
Perhaps you may be wondering, “What’s so special about a mat anyway? They’re all the same!” This is false because not all yoga mats are created equal. There are different mats on the market that come in different sizes, features, and thickness. As with the clothes you wear, investing in a reliable yoga mat is integral to getting the most out of your yoga practice. When you have the right one, you’ll be able to perform a range of different poses, meditation poses and relaxation poses at your most comfortable and happy state.
Here are some of the f you need to consider when you look for a yoga mat.
- Use. As previously stated, not all mats are created equal. There are different mats for different yoga disciplines. While most mats can be used for every kind of yoga, there are some mats that are particular to certain yoga styles, such as Bikram. Select a mat that will be appropriate for your practice.
- Durability. If you practice yoga more than twice a week, you should purchase a yoga mat that is thicker than the average mat, with better traction. Consider investing in a high-quality mat, especially if your yoga practice is very intense and physical. If your practices are more on the gentle side, a regular yoga mat will do.
- Sweat absorbency. You will want to purchase a mat that absorbs sweat, to prevent the risk of accidental slippage from your sweat. Cotton yoga mats are recommended, as this is the most suitable material to absorb moisture from your workout.
- Thickness and size. Your mat should be thick enough to support your spine, knees, and elbows and prevent possible injury. A standard mat for yoga is 1/8th of an inch thick, although you can easily find ones that come in varying thicknesses. Thinner yoga mats are easier to bring around because of their light weight and are more suitable for travel purposes. Make sure that your mat is large enough to accommodate you in various yoga positions. Yoga mats come in varying lengths and widths, so choose a mat that is appropriate for your frame.
- Easy to clean. It is important that you find a mat that is machine washable, so you avoid the occurrence of unpleasant odors during your yoga practice. The durability of your mat is important, as some of the cheaper mats on the market are not meant to be washed frequently.
Yoga mats are easily available at most sporting goods stores in your area, but the quality ones are hard to find. The important thing you need to know when selecting a yoga mat is its durability, appropriate for your practice, absorbs sweat and is machine washable. Also, you want to make sure it can accommodate you comfortably in your various yoga poses and positions.
Denise is a deeply spiritual and health-loving person. Her favorite yoga teacher is Katrina Ariel, who teaches a Kamloops yoga class.