So you decided to do yoga and woke up with all your enthusiasm on the first day, but as soon as you started practicing, your mat started slipping. If this sounds like your life's story, you might be using the wrong yoga mat for your practice.
Although yoga is an ancient practice, practicing yoga on a mat is a new thing. Back in the olden days, people would practice yoga on hard earth or grass. But times changed and yoga evolved and moved to the west. People started finding it difficult to practice yoga on a hard surface, especially Hatha yoga- where one needs to balance the body on hand sand legs. They realized it was difficult to do yoga without a firm cover underneath. Hence, mats were discovered. These mats were a godsend for people and everyone started practicing. Today, yoga mats have become extremely popular and there is lots of variety. There are various types of yoga mats available on the market such as PVC mats, eco-friendly mats, lightweight mats, and more. You can buy whatever you feel is best for you, depending on your needs and preferences.
But before you buy it for yourself, here are a few points to consider before selecting one.
This may not seem so important but the material of the mat is quite impactful on the way you practice yoga. The yoga mat is your sanctuary and when you practice yoga, you should feel balanced and at peace. You can consider each of these options thoroughly before you seek out one particular type of material:
This is an entry-level yoga mat that offers great durability, stickiness, and comfort. PVC is criticized for not being environmentally friendly, despite its proven performance as a yoga material.
Note : None of the mats in Decathlon are PVC. We (e)co-design our mats to meet your needs and mindset
This is the eco-friendly version of PVC material and offers the same performance characteristics without harmful environmental side effects. The only caveat is that mats made of foam contain latex which can be problematic for some people with existing allergies.
It is an eco-friendly and solid alternative to a PVC mat. Like foam yoga mats, rubber mats also contain latex. So if you have any allergies avoid opting for this type of material.
Cotton called “traditional yoga mats” are thin and eco-friendly. They are often used in addition to other yoga mats to provide support, as cotton does not offer it. Cotton absorbs sweat well and increases grip when wet so this mat makes great support.
Similar to cotton yoga mats, jute offers the same kind of sustainability and resilience. Similar to cotton mats, jute mats are usually used over other yoga mats for traction and support. However, because it is a fibrous material that is a bit rougher than cotton, jute absorbs less moisture.
Thickness or Density
Yoga mats mostly come in three sizes and the difference between them is quite significant. If your mat is too thin, it may result in the knee or joint problems. Mats that are too thick may make it difficult to hold certain poses and maintain your balance 1/4th inch thick mat offers more cushioning comfort, and support but due to its extra mass it is less portable and tougher to fit in a gym bag. The 1/8th inch thick mat offers the perfect combination of performance and portability but it may not be suitable for above or average body types. The last type i.e. is ultra-portable and allows users to get a better feel on the floor but as it is less padded it may be unsuitable for some users.
So, in short, a very cushiony mat may feel great but can cause distress in the hip, wrists, and knee joints. The right mat should incorporate both firmness and a good ‘non-slip’ factor.
Type of yoga
If you are new to the world of yoga – do remember that textured mats are ideal for a more active type of yoga such as power yoga positions because of all the bending, sliding, and stretching. For lower-intensity yoga, such as restorative yoga, comfort may be a higher priority for you as you lie down for longer periods. In such scenarios, PVC or foam yoga mats would work as well as provide adequate support and comfort.
Stickiness in this case refers to a suction-like grip that helps you hold and maintain proper alignment as you move from one pose to another. A sticky yoga mat is going to keep you from sliding all over the place. PVC, foam gives a high level of stickiness, while rubber gives a moderate level of stickiness, and cotton and jute give a low level of stickiness. So consider the stickiness level and the type of yoga you want todo before you buy a mat.
The size of a standard yoga mat is 24” X 68”. The width always remains at 24” except in special cases; however, the length can vary and go up to 84” in some cases. So before you choose a mat, ensure that it is long enough for your entire body when you lie down in a downward-facing pose.
Listen to your body
Finally, if you take anything away from this article, know that your yoga mat is supposed to be a safe haven. As, buying a yoga mat is not about finding the most expensive or nicest looking mat, but rather finding a mat that can help you practice yoga safely and properly.