Yoga Mat – Which one do I choose?
When I started practising yoga 17 years ago the choices of yoga mats were very limited. You had one choice of material PVC! Oh, how times have changed. There’s a pattern or colour to suit every person’s style out there on the market today.
Things to consider before investing in a yoga mat; needs to keep you steady when practising asana; storable; comfortable. For me personally, having a mat that is environmentally friendly is an essential, if I’m grounding to the earth I want my body to be connected to something natural and not synthetic. You may also consider the manufacturing process, what it’s made of texture and the thickness of the mat.
Some things that are on my yoga mat must consider list are…..
The thickness of your yoga mat has a lot to do with how comfortable it is — too thin, and your knee may get beat up during low lunge. The trade-off is that thick yoga mats (some as thick as 9mm) depending on the material it’s made of (foam, think exercise mats) can make it tougher for you to feel a strong connection to the earth.
If you are looking for cushioning, comfort and a premium yoga mat then look for one that is around 5-6mm thick. If you absolutely must be able to pack up your mat and fold it into carry-on luggage then you’re best to find a mat that is around 2mm (or less).
The material your yoga mat is made of dictates its texture, stickiness, eco-friendliness, and sponginess, and how durable it is.
Most standard yoga mats purchased from sports stores etc. are made of PVC, otherwise known as vinyl. Newer, more earth-friendly options include natural and recycled rubber, jute, and organic cotton or natural cotton and hemp (which means the fabric is not treated with synthetic finishes during manufacturing).
If you’re allergic to latex, avoid yoga mats made of natural rubber.
Looking for traction on your mat, then consider the texture. Just like stickiness, texture has an impact on how you move (or don’t move) on your mat. The grippiness of a mat relies on suction whereas texture provides a physical barrier to slipping and sliding. Texture also impacts the way a yoga mat feels, which in turn is an overall component to generally comfort.
There’s a yoga mat texture to suit every whim — from completely smooth to point blank rough.
A grippy yoga mat keeps you from slipping and sliding during your practice, it may also assist you to maintain your alignment as you transition from one pose (asana) to another, it also assists during those long holds.
As yogis, we hold dear the principle of ahimsa, or non-violence. That makes practising on a yoga mat that will ultimately end up in landfill for decades to come worrying.
Earth-friendly yoga mats are typically made from natural or recycled rubber. These yoga mats may also include natural materials, such as jute or organic cotton.If eco-friendliness is important to you, avoid yoga mats made of PVC (the traditional sticky mat), which does not break down in landfills and is difficult and costly to recycle. Rubber, jute and, cotton yoga mats, while available in a range of thicknesses, tend to be thicker and slicker than PVC mats. You can get a yoga mat that’s eco-friendly, has a thickness that meets your needs for comfort and portability, and has a texture (such as a raised geometric pattern) that prevents slippage.
- PRICE RANGE
Typically, a basic plain solid colour PVC sticky yoga mat will be toward the low end of the price range. You could probably pick one up from Kmart or Aldi for under $10. From there you may pay more for patterns, designs or logos; premium thickness; antimicrobial treatments; and cool textures, especially raised tactile patterns. Eco-friendly yoga mats tend to be toward the high end of the price range. Rubber mats have a higher manufacturing cost and are generally manufactured with eco-consciousness manufacturing processes in mind, and also look at the conditions of the process workers ensuring that they are ethically treated.
Once you’ve narrowed your choices down by thickness, material, texture, stickiness, eco-friendliness, and price, there’s only one factor left: style! This may simply come down to your favourite colour, pattern, or print. Enjoy your practice!
We are so proud to say that our natural rubber mats are biodegradable, ethically manufactured and eco-friendly. They’re also 5mm thick which means that they are so durable that you will not have to purchase another yoga mat for a long time, if ever! Find our range of rubber yoga mats here