How to choose your first Yoga Mat : Yoga, as many of us will know, is a great way to stay in shape and keep the body flexible. It has big benefits for those who do it regularly but can be tough on our joints if we lack flexibility or strength. This is where yoga mats come into their own as they not only cushion your body from hard floors but also offer grip during difficult poses such as handstands or downward dogs.
For beginners, however, finding a yoga mat which is right for you can prove difficult especially if you are unsure what exactly you need from one.
The first thing to look at when choosing a yoga mat is whether its surface provides enough grip i.e. will it prevent your feet slipping out under you? If this is a problem, the best solution is to invest in a thick yoga mat which will offer superior grip. However, if you have been practicing for a while and are looking at upgrading your yoga mat then you might prefer something with less ‘grip’. This might be useful if you need more balance or want to get into more advanced poses such as handstands where your hands can’t provide enough grip on their own.
An incredibly important feature of a print on demand yoga mats is the material it is made from. There are two options: natural or synthetic materials. Natural materials include rubber and latex whilst synthetics include PVC and TPE (thermoplastic elastomeric). Each material has its benefits but some people prefer one over another so it’s worth trying a few if possible. Rubber and latex mats are thicker, provide better grip and allow you to do a wider range of poses as they have more ‘give’.
However, rubber may be hard on the knees due to its weight whereas latex tends to roll up during use and isn’t waterproof so could get ruined easily. PVC and TPE offer lightweight options which can be rolled up for easy transport but lack grip and don’t hold their shape as well.
Ultimately it is down to personal preference when choosing a yoga mat but there are some other things worth noting:
Foldable or roll able?
A thick foldable mat will give the best support but won’t roll away easily whilst a thin foldable mat might be more compact but offers less support
As well as natural and synthetic materials there are also options such as cork which again come with their own benefits.
Thicker mats offer more cushioning but can be difficult to transport or store
A cheap yoga mat might seem like a great idea initially but it could be made from a poor quality material that doesn’t last long so this should be taken into consideration.
Choosing your first yoga mat can seem daunting – especially if you have never tried one before – but hopefully the advice given here will help. In any case, remember that even if you choose something different later on it is still worthwhile investing in at least a basic yoga mat for those times when need some extra grip and support.
Yoga Mat Brands Worth Checking Out:
It is owned by Yogi Tea and offers a wide range of yoga mats which are made from natural rubber (the same as Jade) and come in lots of different colors, even pink! They also make their own yoga apparel which they sell on the same site.
A big name in yoga with their popular ‘Eko’ range of thick mats available in both natural and synthetic materials. The Manduka Pro (synthetic) mat has 5mm extra cushioning to protect your joints during those difficult poses whilst a print on the Manduka eko (natural) mat gives it a stylish look.
They offer 5mm thick mats with print options including Manduka’s Eko print and the new print Yogi Oms on their ‘Transit’ range. The plastic print is scuff resistant whilst the natural rubber print is antimicrobial which means you can leave your mat out without worrying about it growing harmful bacteria.
These guys have provided mats to international yoga teachers for years and also sell a wide range of accessories such as bags, blocks and bolsters. They only use high quality materials and offer a lifetime guarantee on all their products which makes them a safe bet if you’re looking for an investment mat that will last.
Remember that it is worth practicing yoga on a basic mat before spending money on a high quality print mat. If you have the option, try a few mats out in a shop and see how they feel underfoot so you can pick one which suits you best. Remember to think about your budget, whether your needs are for general practice, balance or support and what you might need from your mat such as print or grip.
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