5-point guide to buy a yoga mat
Choosing the right yoga mat is essential as it provides support, cushioning and protection as you get into your poses
Heading to your yoga class but think the mat is wearing you down? Time to get a brand new yoga mat, one that keeps you stable, is comfortable and easy to carry around.
Shopping for a yoga mat used to mean returning home with a PVC mat in blue, purple or pink. But these, days mats are available in different colours, patterns and materials.
Use our handy guide to get home a yoga mat that’s just right for you. After all, yoga can change your life!
The thickness of a yoga mat is what makes it comfortable. A mat that’s too thin won’t provide enough cushioning but a mat that’s too thick may not allow you a connection to the floor. The standard mat – 1/8-inch thick – is the most preferred. The thicker ones go up to ¼ inch while travel yoga mats can be only 1/16 inch thick. Pragya Bhatt, a yoga expert with HealthifyMe, suggests trying out a mat before buying it. “Your feet should not sink into the material and your knees should not hurt when you stand on them,” she says.
This factor dictates the surface, texture, stickiness, “give” and eco-friendliness. Usually, yoga mats are made of PVC. However, new versions are available in jute, organic cotton and natural/recycled rubber. Avoid rubber if you’re allergic to latex. A PVC mat is the hardiest, has the most “give” and will last the longest. “Try and avoid the cheaper PVC variety because they breed bacteria because of the sweat,” Pragya says.
A sticky mat ensures that you don’t slide all over the place as you glide from one pose to the other. It helps you maintain your alignment and stay put in your pose. PVC mats have the highest stickiness but this gets affected if they are dirty. Wash before using and wash whenever you find yourself sliding.
The grain and texture decree how much traction your yoga mat provides. Like stickiness, texture affects your slipping and sliding. While stickiness uses the power of suction to keep you in one place, texture provides small, almost unnoticeable, physical barriers. Textured PVC mats seem softer than jute ones. If you don’t want PVC, get for a rubber, jute or cotton mat with a tactile pattern.