How To Pick A Yoga Mat

Are you looking to buy a new yoga mat – here’s how to find the right one for your exercise program.

Are Yoga Mats Different?

You won’t find them at Walmart or any other corporate retailer but there are dozens of types of yoga mats on the market and they aren’t all equal in quality. From the material to the design, thickness, and texture, there are a lot of ways to create variations on a mat. Before you decide what yoga mat to buy online, know more about the differences between them.

What’s The Right Yoga Mat Thickness?

Thickness is a huge differentiator. There are thin yoga mats at 1/16-inch thick. These provide a strong, stable spot on the floor on which you can do various balancing exercises. They don’t, however, provide much padding to cushion sore muscles, bones, and joints.

A thick yoga mat would be considered anything at 1/4-inch or above. These are used with individuals who have chronic health issues and need the support. If you’re doing a lot of hard work with your core and back, having a thick mat is a smart investment. It will ensure your bones don’t end up digging into the floor and cause you bruises.

If you aren’t sure whether thin or thick works, try a medium mat at roughly 1/8-inch thick. This is a standard yoga mat.

What’s The Right Yoga Mat Material?

Material determines a lot about the experience of using a yoga mat. The material influences texture, stickiness, and sponginess.

A lot of yoga mats are made with vinyl. These last longer and can bounce back easily from repeated use. There are also rubber mats which bring together jute and cotton. They are less spongy but more eco-friendly and still have a slightly vinyl feel to them which is beneficial for beginners who are accustomed to only one type of yoga mat.

Cork yoga mats are one of the more premium yoga mat types. Made from renewable cork, they’re eco-friendly, grip the floor well, and are self-cleaning.

What’s The Right Texture For A Yoga Mat?

Lastly, there is the question of texture. Texture is traction. You don’t want to put yourself at risk locked in a pose where you don’t feel like you’re gripped into the floor.

Sweat is also a risk. It can increase your slipping around. This is why so many yoga mats are designed to be bumpy. There are also some yoga mats, such as cork, that do a better job at not getting slippery compared to others.

Beyond thickness, material, and texture, not a whole lot else matters. The color and pattern of yoga mats are negligible in their importance to the whole of the yoga experience. That said, it’s alright to want a specific look and that is certainly something else that can be accommodated.

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