A recent statistic shows that there are around 500 million yogis (yoga practitioners) worldwide. Despite being an ancient practice, yoga remains relevant until this day because of the various mental and physical benefits it brings, like improving sleep and flexibility. If you want to start incorporating yoga into your lifestyle, you must invest in some pieces of equipment to fully enjoy the said practice.(1)
One of the most important pieces of equipment in yoga is the mat. Yoga mats, also referred to as sticky mats, provide the much-needed cushion and traction needed to perform various poses accurately.
Conveniently, most yoga studios offer you the option to rent a yoga mat, but it’s still best to buy one your own. Besides, the mat will quickly pay for itself, especially if you’re among the 24% of people who also use apps and guided videos when practicing yoga. So regardless if you practice yoga in a studio or at home, it’s always advisable to have your own yoga mat.(2)
With that said, here are some important things you need to know when buying yoga mats:
1. Thickness level
First, when buying a yoga mat from reputable sources like Pixels or other print-on-demand technology company, always consider the mat’s thickness. The yoga mat’s thickness ranges from 2 mm to 6 mm, but some mats even go as thick as 15 mm.
Take note that there’s a reason why yoga mats vary in thickness, and it’s not just about aesthetic purposes. As a general guide, here’s what you can expect in various thicknesses:
- 2–3 mm mats: These types of mats are designed with portability in mind. So if you’re constantly traveling and still want to practice yoga, it’s best to invest in mats with this thickness. But since it’s the thinnest type, except that they’ll wear easily and provide less cushioning.
- 4–5 mm mats: These are the standard thickness for yoga mats, and it’s ideal for home and studio uses. Since these are standard-sized mats, it provides the necessary firmness needed for challenging poses. And it’ll also give you the required sufficient padding for various seated yoga poses.
- 6 mm and above: Since these mats are thicker, it’s expected that they can provide more cushioning than the standard ones, making it ideal for restorative yoga, wherein you’re required to maintain the poses longer than usual. The downside, however, is they’re not that portable. Furthermore, they can be unstable when doing poses that involve standing up.(3)
If you’re a new yogi, then you shouldn’t expect to do challenging yoga poses that takes years to perform correctly, not to mention that you must have the needed flexibility strength. As yoga poses become more advanced, it’ll require muscle and joint stability. You can improve both of these aspects through a good yoga mat, which can be characterized by how much padding it offers.
3. Check the texture
Since you’ll be sweating in your yoga sessions, then there’s a high chance that your yoga mat will be sticky or slippery—both of which may hinder you from truly experiencing yoga. So in addition to cleaning and taking good care of your yoga mat, also ensure that your mats provide the needed traction. The traction can be determined by the mat’s texture.
Moreover, the texture of the mat can be based on the material it’s made of. For instance, if you want to avoid slipping while practicing, it’s best to avoid mats that are made of PVC, which is usually the main component of traditional yoga mats. Instead, look for mats that are made of rubber or cotton since it has a tactile pattern, which prevents you from slipping.
4. The color
Since yoga is also about improving one’s mood, then the color of the mat you choose may also have a big impact. This is especially true if you’re setting up a yoga space in your home––you want to make sure that the mat you choose blends well with the interior design. Otherwise, the mismatch can cause a bit of a distraction to your overall practice.
*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.
To help you come up with a decision, here’s what each color migt represent:
- Orange: Confidence, playfulness, enthusiasm
- Blue: Calmness
- Green: Positivity and renewal
- Pink: Devotion and love
- Red: Empowerment and energy
- Black: Mystery and elegance
- White: Cleanliness, balance, and purity(3)
Various studies have already pointed to the fact that yoga brings plenty of benefits like reducing neck pain, and this is perhaps the reason why you’re considering joining a session or doing it at home. If you’re beginning, it’s important to invest in the necessary pieces of equipment, one of which is the yoga mats. Fortunately, with the key considerations mentioned in this post, you now have an idea when it comes to selecting a yoga mat that’s suited to your liking.
2. “SIGNIFICANT YOGA STATISTICS: 2020/2021 BENEFITS, FACTS & TRENDS”, Source: https://comparecamp.com/yoga-statistics/
3. “How Do I Choose a Yoga Mat?” Source: https://theyogamad.com/yoga-mat-buyers-guide/