Today, Yoga is transforming lives rapidly with no barrier to age, gender, race or geographical boundaries. Each day numerous seekers embark on their journey to become a Yogi either by enrolling themselves for a Yoga Teacher Training Course (YTTC) or for local Yoga classes in their neighborhood. With Yoga becoming increasingly popular amongst the Millenials, manufacturers have become passionate about introducing various Yoga mats that suit an individual’s needs and preferences. As a result, we now have a variety of yoga mats available to choose from. However, this often leaves the novices in a dilemma – ‘what is the best yoga mat for beginners?‘ While there is no standard ‘best yoga mat‘, here’s everything you need to consider for How to Choose the Right Yoga Mat for yourself-
Your Body Type
Your body type acts as an important factor in determining the right Yoga mat for you. If you are slim or skinny, your body naturally has less cushioning and hence opting for a padded yoga mat would work in your favor. A mat with about ¼ inch of thickness should be perfect. Those who have sore joints must also prefer a thicker or a padded Yoga mat as it will facilitate their Yoga practice. If you have a ‘healthy’ body type, opting for a mat with about ⅛ inch of thickness will work just fine. In case you are taller than 5’6’’, remember to ask for a super stretched Yoga mat as a standard Yoga mat is usually about 68 inches long.
Place of Practice
Another important factor to consider is the place where you will be practicing Yoga – your home, a studio or the outdoors. If you’re purchasing a Yoga mat to practice only at home, a basic mat will do. However, if you intend to practice Yoga at a studio or on-the-go, a portable and lightweight mat would be more suitable. Be sure to check if the mat rolls up easily before you buy it to avoid a hassle while carrying it around or storing it.
The material of the Mat
Most standard yoga mats are made of PVC, which is not eco-friendly. PVC mats may be inexpensive, but they’re not biodegradable i.e. while they may last a little longer but they can’t be recycled and are harmful to the environment. Newer available options now include recycled rubber, jute and organic cotton mats. Choose a mat of the material you feel comfortable on. Over and above the material of the Yoga mat, other important aspects to be considered are the texture, stickiness, sponginess and the estimated life of the mat.
Texture & Stickiness
The texture and the extent of the stickiness of a mat must be checked without fail. Texture can either be a result of the nature of the material (eg: Jute mats will have a naturally rough feel) or be man-made (eg: a pattern of raised bumps). While PVC is the cheapest option available if your preference is that of a smooth mat, nowadays there are many eco-friendly options available that offer a smooth texture as well. These factors are of utmost importance as they will hold you from sliding all over the place, help you sustain your grip, maintain your alignment and hold the poses during your Yoga practice. However, beyond everything, pick a mat that helps you feel comfortable.
Price and Style
Needless to say, ensure that the mat you choose for yourself fits your budget. Mats are available in a wide price range – where some are priced higher merely for the brand name and others are priced higher for the quality they provide. Be certain of your priorities, liking and choices and pick accordingly. Be mindful of the fact that your yoga mat is going to be your all-time companion through this life-changing journey of becoming a yogi. If anything, it must make you feel ecstatic and inspire you to practice each day.