When it comes to picking a yoga mat there are so many choices. The selection of yoga mats is huge, almost to the point where you may feel overwhelmed! Let’s look at the factors to picking your perfect yoga mat with our Yoga Mat buyer’s guide.
Thickness of Yoga Mats
Yoga mats come in different sizes of thickness. Some may be as thin as 1/16th of an inch, while others are ½ inch thick or more. You need to pay attention to how whether the seller is reporting the measurement in inch or millimeters.
How do you know which thickness is best for you? First what type of yoga moves and poses are you are planning on doing, and where. Will you be practising on a hard floor, in a gym or down on the beach? If all you are planning on doing is some lunges, then a thinner mat may be suitable.
If you plan on getting into yoga seriously then a thicker will probably be better. Especially if you want to do poses that require you balancing on your shoulders and doing inversions. A thicker mat gives you more balance and support as you can ‘sink’ into the mat.
A thinner mat will also fold more easily and be lighter to carry around than a thicker mat. Don’t forget that you can purchase yoga mat bags that will make carrying and storing your mat much easier for you.
You may also prefer a thicker mat if you have a heavier body frame, you will appreciate the extra cushioning.
You can see an assortment of 1-inch-thick yoga mats here: 1 inch mats This tends to be a very popular thickness.
As with the thickness of yoga mats, the materials used in manufacturing has now changed. While you can still purchase PVC and rubber mats, you also have numerous choices of natural materials. These are great choices if you have allergies, or just like to buy ‘green’ and ‘environmentally friendly products’.
PVC and mats made from rubber are more durable and will wear better. If you have a latex allergy, then do not purchase a mat made from natural rubber. Many manufacturers are now producing yoga mats that are made from rubber but are latex free.
Natural components include: jute and cotton mats. Buying a natural yoga mat will help reduce the amount of rubber that ends up in our landfills.
Another item to watch for is the addition of phthalates, these can be extremely harmful. Instead look for yoga mats that have the following labelling.
Free from Phthalates DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP, and DNOP. Here is a good selection of Non Toxic Mats.
Milliard Eco Friendly Natural Grass Tatami Yoga Mats – Nonslip 72 x 24 InchesYogiMall 72-Inch Natural Jute / Eco PVC Yoga Mat with Carry Strap – PurpleJade Harmony Professional 74-Inch x 3/16-Inch Yoga Mat (Olive Green)VALENTINES OFFER – Straw Floor Mat / Meditation Beach, Yoga, Exercise, Picnic, Beach Mat – Multipurpose Eco-Friendly Folding Extra Long and Wide Mat – 3 x 6 Feet – Blue, Orange & White
Length of Yoga Mats
The majority of yoga mats are approximately 68 inches long in length. Extra long mats are normally around 71 inches. Those 3 inches can make a huge difference, so check the length if that is a concern of yours.
There is no shortage of longer yoga mats as you can see here: Extra Long Yoga Mats
YogaAccessories (TM) Extra Wide / Extra Long 1/4” Deluxe Yoga MatYoga Direct Extra Long Yoga Mat, BlueYogaAccessories (TM) Extra Long 1/4” Deluxe Yoga Mat – BlackIncline Fit Extra Thick and Long Comfort Foam Yoga/Exercise Mat with Carrying Strap, Onyx
Texture of Yoga Mats
Some textures may be slightly raised and this can cause the surface of the mat to feel bumpy. For some people this can be an issue.
If you are bothered by imperfections on a flat surface, you may want to avoid any yoga mats that have printed designs on the surface. The bumpy surface can feel awkward and could make you lose your balance. They are also prone to being a little slippery.
On the plus side raised textures can provide you with added grip and security. Overall a raised type of pattern may be a good option if you are looking to stay more stable during your practice sessions.
Also note that many yoga mats have been treated with a top coating to make them less slippery, and by keep moisture away. Look for the term ‘dry grip’ when shopping for a yoga mat.
Here’s an example of a textured yoga mat: Textured yoga mat
YogiMall 72-Inch Natural Jute / Eco PVC Yoga Mat with Carry Strap – BlueClever Yoga Non-Slip 6mm Yoga Mat – PurpleSpoga 1/4-Inch Anti-Slip Exercise Yoga Mat with Carrying Strap, RedReehut 1/2-Inch Extra Thick High Density NBR Exercise Yoga Mat for Pilates, Fitness & Workout w/ Carrying Strap (Blue)
Stickiness refers to how well the yoga mat will stay in place when performing yoga. You don’t want to use a mat that slips and slides everywhere.
PVC mats normally have the highest rating for stickiness. Please remember that they only stay sticky when they are clean. So you want to get into the habit of cleaning your mat after each use.
You can see some examples of yoga mats that fit into this category here:
Eco Friendly Mats
Many yoga lovers also tend to really care about the environment and prefer to use yoga mats constructed from eco friendly materials if possible. The majority of eco friendly mats are made from recycled materials or rubber.
Eco friendly mats are becoming more popular so there is a lot of variety to chose from. You should note that eco friendly mats tend to be a little more expensive as well.
You can see a great selection of mats here: Eco Friendly Yoga Mats
PREMIUM TPE YOGA MAT by Heathyoga: High Density Light Weight Non Slip Eco-Friendly, Unique Auxiliary Line Design, Size: 71Reehut 1/2-Inch Extra Thick High Density NBR Exercise Yoga Mat for Pilates, Fitness & Workout w/ Carrying Strap (Grey)Jade Harmony Professional 68-Inch x 3/16-Inch Yoga Mat (Tibetan Orange)Yogi Master Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat Non-Slip with Carrying Strap 1/4Yoga Mat – I am… Athletics: Natural Jute Exercise/Yoga Mat – Eco-Friendly, Durable, Extra Long with Carry Strap …
Note that the majority of mats do not come with a carrying bag, this may be something that you might want to add to your shopping list. A bag can be really useful if you decide to join a yoga class and need to travel each day. A yoga bag is also a great storage solution at home. Your bag can fit into any closet or you can pop it under your bag.