Guiding Principles for Your Yoga Mat Purchase
Updated: Oct 22, 2020
Deciding what type of yoga mat to purchase is like deciding what flavor of ice cream to select on a hot summer day. There are so many options and they ALL look amazing! I'm one to stand at the counter for what seems like hours picking out the perfect flavor. Can you relate? Whether you are considering giving yoga a try and need a mat for your first class or you have practiced for many years, keep these things in mind so you can maximize your experience on the mat.
1. Stay Grounded
At its core yoga is about connecting body, mind and breath. One of the most fundamental and grounding aspects of yoga is feeling the floor or the earth beneath you. It’s for that reason that I prefer a thinner mat, like this one from Manduka. I can still use blankets, wedges or a folded mat for extra padding as needed, but a lighter mat can be a gentle teacher that instructs you to pay closer attention to small sensations that you might otherwise miss if using a thicker mat.
A note on thickness: Thin mats are typically around 1/16 inch thick, where extra cushy mats are closer to ¼ inch thick. If you’re not certain what will work best for you, try something in the middle around ⅛ inch thick.
2. Skip the Slip
There is nothing worse than attending a yoga class and constantly trying to keep from slipping. To me a non-slip mat is a real differentiator. It’s best to try out a few options to see what works best for you. Most yoga studios have tester mats available for you to do just that. If you’re into hot yoga, it is especially important to have a non-slip mat with a yoga towel to avoid injury and maximize your experience. This mat by Gaiam is designed to last and to wick away moisture and I’ve been using this in hot classes for several years. You can sometimes find Gaiam mats for less at your local home good stores like Marshalls or TJ Max.
3. Select Sustainable
Yoga is rooted in ethical principles so it seems natural to select an eco-friendly mat. Jade Yoga plants a tree for every purchase to support the environment. In addition, their mats are thin and extra grippy giving you the texture and structure you need to stay grounded in your practice. Here’s one of my favorites: the Harmony Mat. Keep in mind many yoga brands claim to be eco friendly, but in some cases it’s just a sales tactic.
There are lots of brands to choose from and like most products, you get what you pay for. I suggest spending the extra money up front to have a durable, non-slip mat you can rely on for years. Starting out with a less-than-ideal mat can impact your entire yoga experience and keep you from feeling really confident and excited about your practice. If you're looking for a deal, check out Yoga Outlet. Reach out if you have any questions and let me know what you decide. You can find me on Instagram @EmilyPriceWellness.