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Helpful Tips for Yoga Mat Selection

Tips for yoga mat selection

The right tools are essential to a successful and rewarding yoga practice. Yoga props and accessories can help you adjust yoga poses to your body’s needs. Start with the basics. Finding the right yoga mat is essential for all who practice yoga.

Helpful Tips for Yoga Mat Selection

Most mats are made with a type of plastic called PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, which keeps slippage at a minimum and tends to be the most affordable. Alas, PVC is also considered a toxic plastic that’s difficult to recycle. So for the environmentally conscious, go the green route and choose a material like recycled rubber, jute, cotton, or even bamboo.

The standard mat is 1/8 inches thick, offering support to the body, but still allowing the user to feel connected to the ground. Travel mats  are usually about 1/16 inch thick, making them a suitcase’s best friend. For those who want some extra cushion a thicker mat — closer to 1/4 inch — may be the best bet.

A yoga mat is usually 68 inches long, though they do make super-stretched mats for the taller people or those who like a little more room for their practice.

A sticky yoga mat is key to prevent slipping during your practice. PVC mats are usually super sticky, and some are even made with a fabric-like surface on top and a patterned bottom to help hands. Many eco-friendly mats add a raised texture to keep sliding at a minimum, or are made with naturally slip-resistant rubber. A yoga mat’s texture will also determine how much slippage occurs. PVC mats are naturally softer, while other materials (like jute) have a roughness to them.

A no-frills, 1/8 inch thick PVC mat will often be cheapest option. The price tags increase when design, brand name, thickness, and eco-materials are part of the purchasing process. Just remember not to fall for the cheap stuff. Investing in a reliable mat is important so keep this in mind when making your purchasing decision.

Test it out  
If still unsure what mat is best for the body, no need to splurge right away. Go the “measure twice, cut once” route and test out some high-quality mats at various studios or do some research before buying.

Other Tips  
It may be worth investing in a no-slip towel that lays right on top of the mat. Mats that include straps and harnesses are also great to help make transportation a breeze. And definitely don’t forget to keep the mat clean, too.  A good sign the mat needs a wipe-down is if it loses its stickiness or if your nose is not happy in child’s pose (aka the smell).

I hope you enjoyed this helpful tips for yoga mat selection. If you have others, please ad them in a comment.

Guest Author – Aseem Giri is the CEO of KharmaKhare, Inc. We discovered how to repurpose car tires into eco yoga mats. His prior experience includes private equity investing, investment banking and managing companies. His passion for yoga was sparked recently and it gets fed every time he steps on a mat. His ambition is to be fluent in Ashtanga and the man at the center of a five-person AcroYoga pose.

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  5. Dave says:

    Don’t forget the weight too! It’s all well and good finding your perfect mat, but if it weighs a ton and you’re carrying it to class or trying to cycle with it on your back, you will probably want to consider this…

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  7. Mera says:

    My favorite are the cotton and jute mats. Sometimes a layer of a good rubber mat, with a cotton or jute on top and a nice meditation blanket is great for me…as a yoga teacher I love the options to mix/match.

  8. Nate says:

    Hi Jen! Thanks for the great pointers on getting a good mat. I think the best way to really be sure you’re getting what you want is to test it out. I usually also ask for recommendations from friends. Specs are good, but real people using the mat is the best gauge for me. Thanks again!

  9. Do you know of any yoga mats available that doesn’t get super hot during a workout? I’ve avoided doing any mat exercises over the past few weeks since the temperature here is disgustingly high! :p

      • Aseem GIri says:

        Hey Evan, I thought others might reply so I waited. I am obviously biased, but the KharmaKhare mat does a nice job when the temperature is high. The grip actually gets stronger – it’s because of the material. It is also sweat absorbent, so that won’t get in the way of your practice.

  10. Gigi says:

    Smell is important to me too… spend a lot of time with your face right in the mat!

  11. Covered everything well here, good review

  12. Great thinking to include a general price section in your guide! I think people often forget to include that – and then their readers don’t know when they walk in to Lululemon that they could just go to City Sports or Model’s and get something much cheaper.

  13. Toni @Runninglovingliving says:

    Great post! I love my Tomuno Yoga mat!!!!

  14. Car tires into yoga mats? That is a good idea

  15. mel says:

    Thanks for this! We have so many mats and I can’t decide what is the best!

  16. Patty says:

    I’ll share this with my hubby. He’s tried the Bikram yoga and I know he is looking for a mat. Thanks for the info

  17. Missy says:

    I am tall. I hate yoga mats. I use a 5×7 rug because even though they make mats that are longer they fail to make them wider. If you are taller you have a longer armspan/legspan, etc. I’ve seen a yoga mat that was totally round to take care of this but I think it was really expensive.

  18. Dede says:

    I have never had a yoga mat, but I bought one for my daughter to use. She loved it! This is a great guide to buying one.

  19. Kristyn says:

    this is great! I have bought to many not so good yoga mats in the past.

  20. Jenna Wood says:

    I bought a cheap mat once and boy did it curl and slide everywhere, I never even thought to consider how tacky the material was.

  21. Thickness ranks high for me. I like the 1/4 inch!

  22. Don’t forget color 🙂 My green yoga mat makes me happy!

  23. Bre Dale says:

    Very interesting! I have been meaning to give yoga a shot, I’ll keep this in mind.

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