Yoga mats can be unwieldy things. It is often the case that the more durable your yoga mat is, both thick enough and just the right length for you, able to withstand the regular beating you give you it each day (or almost each day!), the heavier it is. Even a lightweight mat needs to be held together lest it unravels as you carry all your other things before and after class. The good news is, yoga mat bags and straps make it possible to leave your hands free as you sling your mat over your shoulder. Sometimes, however, the basic rope straps that most yoga mats come with aren’t enough to carry your mat if you use it often, and they easily break. We definitely recommend investing in a mat bag instead, whether or not you’re in it for the long haul. But there are certain things you might want to take into consideration before you go out there and purchase your mat.
Size Does Matter
At least for a yoga mat, it does. For new yogis, getting a yoga mat bag may seem as easy as lifting one off the rack or ordering one over the Internet and paying for it. The thing is, what most of them – and probably even some of the old-time yogis – do not know is that the standard yoga mat bags we see in sports houses can only store the thin PVC-type mats. If you're really serious about your yoga practice, then you have likely invested in a premium yoga mat that is thicker and wider. In that case, you need to match this with a good-quality yoga mat bag that is also bigger and even more durable. Don't just get something that seems to cater to your minimum needs. Know what size your yoga mat is and use this as the basis in buying your bag. Even better, bring it along with you so that you can fit it right away.
Your Bag and Mat: A Match Made in Heaven
Most yogis prefer yoga mats that are eco-friendly and made of natural materials to go along with the theme of total mind and body peace. If you're one of those, then you have to know that this type of mat needs to "breathe" as it's prone to bacterial growth. That being the case, know that your yoga mat bag should come with air holes. This will allow your mat to air out even when you just came from a yoga session but have to roll your mat immediately and go to your very important appointment. If you don't fancy a bag with air holes, then get a bag made of 'breathable' materials. Another option is to look into mats that utilize some form of netting. It will let your mat air out after a particularly challenging class.
It's a Material World
Different yoga mat bags are made of different materials. If you want something that will "protect" your yoga mat from bacterial growth, then you should look for those that are made of cotton, nylon or linen. Canvas is also pretty good material as you can through it into the laundry when it gets dirty, no problem. These materials are perfect especially since they are known for their longevity and durability. Having a yoga mat bag that's made of these materials ensures that you not only get a mat that perfectly secures and protects your mat, you get one that will last you a very long time (hopefully even as long as you intend to do yoga).
How "Much" Do You Need?
Sometimes, especially for girls, it is tempting to buy a bag simply for how it looks. Some girl's thought processes while shopping are, "oh, it comes in my favorite color, I'll get it." or even "that flowery design looks adorable, I'm sold." However, choosing a yoga mat bag needs deeper consideration than that. The yoga mat may seem cute hanging on your shoulder, but if it does not perform what it's supposed to do – which is protect your mat – then it's useless.
They say the perfect bag is always something that is not only good-looking but is also of great functionality. Ask yourself just how much you bring with you when you attend a yoga session. Most likely, you'll also be bringing a towel and perhaps a water bottle. For people on the go, they might bring a tad more like their keys, a phone and maybe a change of clothes. Consider this when you're shopping for a yoga mat bag. Look at just how much you bring to a yoga session and get a bag that can fit as much of these as possible.
Which One's Your Type?
Just like your normal, everyday bags, yoga mat bags come in different types. Consider your personal type last when choosing a yoga mat bag. You can always choose from bags that are the long tube design that you sling over your shoulder or even a tote bag that you can easily carry by hand. There are even some gym bags that come with a special yoga mat strap. There are some great yoga mat bags out there that come with pockets and compartments that let you store your yoga mat towels, face towels, and bath towels – maybe even a change of clothes! If you’re especially into crafts, you can even make your own yoga mat bag out of some durable material, or even from the leg of one of your old pairs of jeans. You’ll be the envy of the hippie community with your environmental savvy and creative ways. In other words, your mat bag can be as simple as you want it to be, or a veritable Swiss army knife of yoga accessories.
As cliché as it sounds, there is no perfect yoga mat bag – just a yoga mat bag that's perfect for you. If you ponder on the above considerations, then your quest for the perfect yoga mat bag for yourself will definitely be a breeze.