How To Choose The Best Yoga Mat for Beginners

A decade or so ago, there was only one type of yoga mat, which was made of PVC and was notorious for its stickiness. As for the color, you can either choose purple or blue. However, you can now choose a mat made from different materials and thicknesses with today’s innovation.

But take note that yoga mats aren’t just there for aesthetic purposes. In fact, a yoga mat is one of the important components that allow you to have a stable pose. This is perhaps the reason why there are now plenty of yoga mats made for this purpose—for one to have a comfortable session, allowing you to maintain your pose. Additionally, unlike before, you can now choose yoga mats made from eco-friendly materials, which is perfect if you’re conscious about the environment.

With the vast number of options in the market, it may be difficult for a beginner to choose a yoga mat. With that said, here’s a quick guide on how a beginner like you can select the best yoga mats that’ll surely suit your lifestyle, taste, and skill level:

Thickness

The sizes of a yoga mat can range from being super thin, which is perfect for traveling, weighing around 2 lbs., to a comfortable 1/4 in. that weighs around 7 lbs. Because of this, it might be confusing for a beginner like you to choose the perfect weight and thickness.

It’s advised that a beginner should initially begin with a mat that’s around 1/8 in. Thick, around 3.1 mm. This thickness, which is considered the standard, provides a strong contact with the floor, helping stability when performing yoga poses. As a beginner, stability is important so you can execute the yoga poses correctly.

Still, you might be wondering why there are others who prefer thin yoga mats over thick ones or vice versa. To give you an idea of the characteristic of each type of mat, here’s a quick comparison between the two:

• Thin yoga mats: As mentioned, a thin yoga mat helps increase stability, helping you achieve focus and balance. If you opt for a thin mat, it’s also best if you choose those with textured surfaces, allowing you to have better grip, which is important when doing advanced yoga poses.

• Thick yoga mats: Since it’s thick, it’s expected that these types of mats will provide extra cushioning, making them ideal for therapeutic practices. So if you enjoy yoga for therapeutic purposes, which is a style involving around fewer poses but requires you to maintain it longer, then you may choose to go for thicker mats.

Additionally, thicker mats are more comfortable when executing poses that revolve around kneeling. This also means that it’s most sought-after by yogis who have joint problems or tender knees. On the downside, thicker mats may be difficult for standing poses.

Furthermore, if you’re planning to combine yoga and traveling, which is becoming a trend nowadays, it’s best to choose portable yoga mats. As mentioned, these types of mats are very thin and light, making them easy for you to pack. However, since it’s thin, then you may sacrifice on the cushioning aspect. (2)

Materials

One major concern that beginner yogis have is the mat’s longevity. Take note that when it comes to yoga mats, the thicker it is, the longer it’ll last. With that said, your main concern should be regarding the material the yoga mat is made of. This is because the material will also influence traction and comfortability.

Here are three common materials yoga mats are made of:

• PVC: Many mats are made of this plastic-based material, as it’s cleanable, grippy, and durable. But take note that mats made of PVC aren’t absorbent, so it’ll be slick when it’s drenched with sweat. It’s also not environmentally friendly, which is a major turn-off for many people. Still, it’s latex-free, making it ideal for those who are allergic to latex.

• TPE: Thermoplastic elastomer is a human-made material, and it’s a blend of rubber polymers and plastic. TPE is more environmentally friendly compared to PVC, but it’s not as durable. Still, yoga mats made of TPE materials provide great traction.

• Natural: Eco-friendly mats may not be as grippy on the floor as mats made of other materials, but they still provide plenty of traction for your feet and hands. Eco-mats aren’t as durable as PVC, but they’re surely more sustainable. (3)

Texture

The texture of the yoga mat determines the traction it’ll give, which affects how often you’ll slip and slide. Not only will the mat’s texture affect how it’ll feel against your skin, but it also plays an important role when it comes to the mat’s comfort.

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If you find yourself constantly slipping while you perform yoga poses, it’s best to avoid PVC mats. Instead, opt for mats made of rubber, cotton, or jute, as these types of yoga mats usually have a tactile pattern, helping you to stay put regardless of how sweaty you get. (1)

Price

Despite the many benefits that yoga brings to both your body and mind, it may usually come with a hefty price tag. So if you still want to enjoy the benefits that this ancient practice brings, you want to ensure that you receive a good value for your mat.

With that said, if you decide to purchase a simple, plain mat, then you may find yourself investing in additional features like antimicrobial treatments. Hence, if you have extra money, then it’s best to go for mats that already have these features or even those with cool designs. Still, since you’re still a beginner, it’s best if you opt for a less expensive mat to test the waters first. If yoga is already incorporated into your lifestyle, then you can always upgrade your mat. (3)

Takeaway

Yoga has and will always be practiced by anyone seeking mental clarity and a good physique. Now, if you find yourself hopping on this trend, it’s advisable first to know the basic things you need to buy, one of which is a yoga mat. Fortunately, with the guide in this post, you now have a basic idea of what to look for once you buy a yoga mat either through an online shop or a physical store.

References

1. “HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT YOGA MAT”, Source: https://www.gaiam.com/blogs/discover/how-to-choose-the-right-yoga-mat
2. “How to Choose a Yoga Mat”, Source: https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/yoga-gear.html
3. “How To Choose Your Best Yoga Mat”, Source:https://blog.decathlon.in/articles/how-to-choose-your-best-yoga-mathttps://blog.decathlon.in/articles/how-to-choose-your-best-yoga-mat

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This article was submitted by a guest blogger. You can read about the author in the post above. If you would like to submit an article, please write for us (sponsored guest posts). Paul Harrison, Editor, THE DAILY MEDITATION.

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