Yoga Mats: Which Ones Are Best For Me?

yoga mats

Yoga has always had millions of followers and admirers. It is pretty understandable – being unbelievably various, yoga offers numerous practices that can let you reach any goal of physical and even mental health and wellbeing. It increases your flexibility, builds muscles, improves blood circulation, and simply lets you get your peace of mind by spending at least an hour per day concentrated on your feelings and overall wellbeing.

And of course, yoga has gained lots of new followers during the 2020 lockdown. A perfect home gym option, yoga is also famous for its stress and anxiety-relieving effect. We all needed that, right? And although the gyms and yoga centers seem to open their doors for customers once again, many prefer to stick to their home practice routine. With various online tutorials and private classes, home yoga becomes just as efficient as attending group classes used to be.

Of course, a yoga mat is an essential piece of equipment for home yoga practice. It will help you to make your exercise safe and comfortable and encourage new goals.

Today you may find numerous different yoga mats. It is pretty easy to get lost among all those colors, designs, qualities, and features that different brands announce today. So is there any difference between a $10 and $100 yoga mat? And what does the choice depend on except your budget and taste in colors?

Here are some tips on how to pick a perfect yoga mat for you.

Yoga mat materials

Just like with clothes, choosing a yoga mat you have a wide variety of materials – from inexpensive synthetic ones to advances eco-friendly, produced from natural rubber or bamboo. The material and brand of course determine the price tag of your yoga mat. However, they play important role in the durability of the mat and even your safety. Of course, the thicker your mat is, the more durable it is. But there are lots of other characteristics that will determine which material is perfect for you.

  • PVC – this is the most inexpensive material, which makes it extremely attractive for so many people today. Another important feature is that PVC is latex-free and hardly can cause any allergic reactions even from highly-sensitive people. However, PVC yoga mats have their downsides – they are non-absorbable and will get slippery once you start to sweat during your practice, making PVC mats pretty unsafe. Also, PVC is non-biodegradable, so although it is considered to be a vegan material, it is not eco-friendly at all.
  • Eco-mats – unlike PVC, Eco yoga mats are manufactured entirely from natural and even organic materials. Natural rubber, jute. Bamboo and even organic cotton are the most common ones. So, if sustainability is your #1 priority, Eco-mats are your choice. Of course, such yoga mats are much more expensive than their synthetic analogs and are much less durable but their texture provides the necessary structure to your body, making them safe and comfortable.
  • TPE (ThermoPlastic Elastomer) – a possible compromise between PVC and Eco yoga mats. TPE is a blend of synthetic and natural materials. Made mostly out of recyclables, TPE is much more eco-friendly than PVC mats but are more durable and cost-efficient than Eco variants.

Does thickness matter?

Today you may find soft and couchy yoga mats that seem pretty comfy and safe and sheet-thick travel variants that are so easy to store and carry. Different practices require different thicknesses and rigidity of your yoga mat and once you get deeper in the matter you will determine the one made exactly for your routine. However, in case you are a newbie or use yoga as a part of your recovery routine after strength or cardio workouts, pick a standard 3mm mat.

  • Thick mats – they are perfect for those who practice yoga as a part of physiotherapy and restorative practices that don`t require holding a pose for a long time. They are also suitable for those who suffer from joint pains or went through knee or elbow traumas. However, if you are planning to practice balancing routines, thicker mats may be extremely uncomfortable and even dangerous for you.
  • Thin mats – Once you want to master that breathtaking balancing yoga poises, you should choose a thinner mat. They improve your stability and usually have a more texturized surface, which provides better grip and safety while holding a balancing pose.
  • Travel mat – those who are planning outdoors practice should prefer touristic travel mats to traditional yoga ones. You may have to compromise on some cushioning in this case, but travel mats are much more durable, provide a better grip on surfaces like grass and sand, and are very light and easy to carry anywhere you want.