3 Essential Guidelines for Choosing the Right Yoga Mat

A yoga mat is one of the most essential items for maintaining a steady yoga practice, whether you prefer to practice from the comfort of your own home or in a yoga studio. It gives you a safe and clean space to practice without concerning yourself with the hygienic properties of the floor beneath you. Ultimately, this is the reason that yoga mats are so crucial to the practice, but safety plays a large role in choosing the right one as well.

What guidelines should you consider when you purchase your next yoga mat? Whether it’s your first one or your fiftieth, don’t forget to review these reminders before you start shopping.


Size

While most of the big-box stores will only sell one-sized yoga mats, some yogis will need a different size. Particularly if you are very tall, you may require a mat that has a few extra inches to either the length or the width. This allows you to practice a comfortable stance that is more appropriate to your size and body structure so you can move deeper into the practice over time.

These sizes can be difficult to find in stores that only sell generic equipment so consider shopping for special sizes online or at a shop that specializes in yoga equipment.

Padding

Yogis who have been practicing for a while may already know that they require some additional padding on their mat. Hard surfaces in yoga studios or at home have the potential to cause sore joints in certain postures. For example, many yogis may need to slip a blanket under their knee in a low lunge to protect the joint from unnecessary pain. A yoga mat with thicker padding could prevent the need for this additional action and can save you some hassle as you move through your sequence.

Material

Yoga equipment is constructed from any number of materials, all of which will certainly have their own advantage. Yogis may be more interested in a mat created from recycled materials or a cloth mat made in another country that supports a local economy. While there are certain ideals that can be represented in the materials selected for a yoga mat, it plays an even bigger role in your safety.

Select a mat first for the grip that it provides to your skin. This is critical for moving through postures safely without sliding uncomfortably deep into your stance. Some yogis may find that a traditional mat works sufficiently for them, while others prefer the feel of a fabric mat to help absorb excess sweat.

The work required to maintain and clean your mat should also be a large consideration in whether or not a mat is right for you. You want something that you can either wipe clean with an all-purpose cleaner or rinse with a mild detergent and water. By opting for a mat that you can clean regularly, you are investing in something that will last you and your practice for a long time to come.

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