Find the Right Yoga Mat for You
Whether you’re just beginning your journey into yoga, or you’ve been doing it for years, having the right yoga mat under you makes a difference. With the seemingly endless amount of options to choose from, we wanted to break down a couple common questions you might ask when shopping for a new yoga mat.
What do I need in a yoga mat?
It’s important to know that we have only started using yoga mats as recently as the 1960s, and Yogis would traditionally sit on woven cotton rugs or animal skin. With that being said, you don’t need to invest heavily in a mat that’s outside of your price range. When looking for a mat, you want to be sure it feels like home the moment you step foot on it.
The density of your mat should be cushiony, but you want to stay away from ones that are excessively soft. If you’re sinking into the mat, it might feel great on aching joints, but can make you unstable when performing balancing poses.
Your yoga mat should have a nice grip to it, so you’re not slipping and sliding all over the place when you’re trying to hold a pose. Not having a secure grip can negatively impact your alignment because your body will try to compensate for steadiness by changing form.
Traction is similar to grip, except that it’s for the floor. Just as you don’t want to slide on the yoga mat, you don’t want your yoga mat sliding out from underneath you.
What should my yoga mat be made of?
Naturally, as yogis, we strive to be eco-conscious and environmentally friendly - and we want the same of our yoga mat, but plastic and PVC or polyurethane mats are still really good choices. If you’re looking for a mat to be environmentally friendly, using a cork mat can offer great density, grip, and traction - and it’s helpful if you’re prone to sweating.
Do I need a mat that has the alignment markings on it?
Having a yoga mat with alignment markings imprinted on it is not something you desperately need in a yoga mat, but they are helpful to have when you’re just starting out. While it’s helpful to have a line, you should learn to align your body based on its cues, and not the marking on a mat.
How should I clean my mat?
Unless you’re excessively sweaty, you don’t need to clean your yoga mat after every session, but you should clean it about once a week if you’re practicing regularly. To clean your yoga mat, spray a cleaning solution on it and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, wipe off the solution with a slightly dampened paper towel or washcloth, and repeat for the other side. You can learn how to make your own cleaner with essential oils.
Keeping these tips in mind when shopping for a yoga mat will be helpful and beneficial in making your decision. Ultimately, you don’t need to use a mat, but it makes it easier on your body.