A yoga mat is a thin and slip-resistant type of exercise mat that provides comfy support between you and the ground. If you’re looking for a yoga mat, consider these 4 things before buying one.
1. Yoga mat materials
Your yoga mat should give you traction, comfort and support. Common yoga mat materials include:
- PVC: The most popular material used for yoga mats, PVC is a durable synthetic foam that’s somewhat sticky to help prevent slipping. PVC mats are available in many different colours to suit your taste, whether you’re after subtle neutrals or an eye-catching pink yoga mat.
- Rubber: Natural rubber mats combine stickiness and sponginess, so you have some give between poses and are less likely to slip. While practical and comfortable, this material can irritate certain allergies.
- Jute: Made from all-natural fibres, lightweight jute is eco-friendly and its high absorbency makes it a great choice for hot yoga workouts.
- Cotton: Similar to jute, the more affordable cotton mat is also absorbent and eco-friendly. Soft and comfortable, organic cotton mats are a safe choice for those with sensitive skin.
2. Yoga mat thickness
Yoga mats should act as a soft barrier between you and the ground, so look for a mat that offers both comfort and stability.
- Ideally, your yoga mat should be thick enough that it’s comfortable during difficult poses, but not so soft that you feel like you’re sinking.
- People with sore joints, particularly knees, may benefit from a thicker mat. If you’re travelling, thinner mats are more easily transported.
3. Yoga mat length
Most yoga mats are 68 inches long, which is ample space for the average adult, but taller yogis will need an extra-large yoga mat.
- When you’re on the road, you may want a shorter and more compact travel yoga mat, which also tends to be thinner to save space.
4. Yoga mat texture
Texture can increase traction in a yoga mat.
- While PVC mats are usually fairly sticky, other materials may feature raised patterns for a better grip.
- Some yoga buffs enjoy the feel of a smooth surface. If you’re unsure, a double-sided mat that’s textured on one side and smooth on the other will give you the best of both worlds.
How to clean a yoga mat
To rid your yoga mat of bacteria, spray and wipe it down after every use with either a yoga mat cleaner or a mixture of dishwasher detergent and lukewarm water.
- For a deeper clean, throw your mat in the washing machine. Then, roll it in a towel to absorb some of the moisture and hang to dry.
Yoga mats need to strike a balance between comfort and stability. Knowing what type feels and works the best for your body lets you relax and focus on sticking to your poses rather than adjusting your mat.