The Question: I’d like to know, from a more general perspective, what aspects are important to decide what kind of yoga mat is perfect for me? How do I decide which mat works best? Amanda A.
Ah, mat shopping, a pastime I’ll love and cherish forever! Buying a new yoga mat is like buying a new car, super exciting, but for many, quite stressful as well. Mats can be pretty pricey so picking the right one for your body and needs is important. But don’t fret! Here are a couple of key things to keep in mind when looking for the perfect coaster (so to speak) to hold your yoga space!
Whether you’re a city slicker who travels with her mat from studio to studio, or an at-home-practitioner is going to aid in your decision on what mat to purchase. Some mats are super thick (see below), which usually means they are quite heavy and not too fun to trek around. Many companies (like Jade) offer mats specifically for traveling, which means a more lightweight load for you to carry around.
The thickness of the yoga mat you’ll love is mostly dependent upon your body. Do you have knees that ache in low lunges? Or can you handle feeling the hardwood floor underneath you? Some mats can be more like mattresses, while others seem to emulate tablecloths. How thick you want your mat to be may also depend on your portability needs, so be sure to take that into consideration.
If you’re like me and sweat a lot in your yoga practice, you’re probably going to be concerned about slipping around on your mat. Luckily, there are many different materials that are used to make these mats. Some are made of rubber, others of jute (soft and shiny plant fibers), and others of completely organic and recycled materials. If possible, before purchasing a mat, see if you can try out a few moves on it. Your ability to hold a down dog comfortably on it may contribute to your decision greatly.
If the idea of ahimsa is held near and dear to your heart, whether or not your mat is earth-friendly may be rather important to you. Mats made from natural or recycled rubber easily break down in landfills and aren’t harmful to the environment, unlike those made from PVC (like the traditional and often much cheaper yoga mats).
So, there are obviously many things to keep in mind when going out to pick your mat. Make sure that you decide on one that is going to assist you in making your yoga practice the most enjoyable that it can be. And hey, choosing a a cute color doesn’t hurt either.
My all-time favorite mat is a Jade. I have the harmony mat, which is perfectly thick, not too heavy, and is made from recycled materials, so it’s totally eco-friendly! Also, with each mat that is purchased, a tree is planted! How lovely is that?