Beginners to yoga often feel excited about the thought of owning their own yoga mat. A friend of mine who was new to yoga bought one impulsively based on colour. She really wanted a pink one – but this move soon turned out to be a mistake. Within a few weeks it had gone flat and had stated to disintegrate. A waste of her money. As with any purchase, it’s often better to shop around, do some research and take some advice from some of the more experienced yogis.
They are not all the same.
Just as there are a variety of yoga types, there are several varieties of yoga mats. Some have been designed to be light in weight and are perfect for travelling, others are designed with the planet in mind and some are built for the classes where you will be sweating more than you ever thought possible. It’s best to buy a mat that will suit the type of yoga that you will be doing and to suit the amount of sweat that you think you are going to make. Avoid Pilates mats as they will be too soft and most likely too slippery too.
You get what you pay for.
That saying applies to yoga mats too. If you want your mat to last you for a while, then you will need to pay for that pleasure. If you don’t buy a quality mat, then you can expect it to last a number of months at best. By paying out a good price for a mat, your mat could last you just as long as you are practising yoga and save you money in the long run.
Brand names are good.
Just as with cars, the brand names usually are the best. Do your research in the yoga publications – online and offline and ask your yoga buddies for some names. You will be able to trust the quality more than if you buy a mat at your local sports store from an unknown name.
Buy on thickness.
You’re not going to enjoy your yoga as much as you should if you buy a thin mat. Your bones need to feel cushioned and protected from the floor – no matter which poses you are doing. However, you don’t want something squishy that won’t give you the stability or support that you need.
Consider our planet Earth
It’s great to consider our planet and what your choice of yoga mat can do to support its flourishing existence. However, there are some drawbacks to some of the natural materials that you should be aware of. For example, the rubber mats do smell of rubber and will smell for a few weeks. Cotton is slippery and you could find yourself sliding across the floor on them. Cork gets flat and falls apart quite quickly.
Try them before you buy them
As with hotels, it’s best to go on the recommendation of your yoga tutor or of a friend. If they tell you that they ‘love’ it then it could well be the one for you. Ask if you can do a couple of poses on the mat to see how it works for you. It might be that it isn’t for you – in which case you’ll be glad that you gave the mat a whirl so that you can discount it from your short list.