Ten years ago, there weren’t many yoga mats to choose from, they were all made of synthetic polymer, so the biggest decision was between picking the red or blue one. However, today there are many types so it is not that hard to find one that suits your style and preference. It goes beyond picking the preferred colour, it’s about comfort, firmness and helping you keep balance in your poses. Also, it has to be easy for storing, as well as be easily portable. Some people want their yoga mat to be environmental-friendly, and so on and so forth. All of these factors speak volumes about your personality and are affected by how thick the mat is, how it’s made, what’s it made of and the surface’s texture. Now that I’ve mentioned all the things you need to worry about, let’s break them down one by one.
As it is with most things when it comes to a yoga mat, first and foremost, you need to be comfortable on the mattress. Thin mats are great if you want to be closer to the floor and if you want the mat to be easily portable and lightweight. However, it shouldn’t be too thin so that you may hurt your knees during a lunge. Thicker mats, on the other hand, are for people who like more cushioning. The downside to them is the lack of ability to balance on some poses because of not being connected enough to the floor.
The texture of your mat will dictate how much traction it provides. This will directly affect how much sliding and slipping you can do on the mat, or in other words, how much physical barriers it provides to sliding. This will also determine how the mat feels, so you have to take into account the poses you do and don’t want to miss out. The texture is often times dictated by the material – PVC mats usually have a soft feel, but if you want to go with a more eco-friendly choice, there is a wide variety of cotton, rubber and jute ones.
A sticky yoga mat will help you maintain a pose without sliding all over, helping you maintain alignment as you change between poses, as well as when you hold a pose for short periods of time. The most sticky yoga mats are the ones made from PVC. However, PVC mats are sticky when they are clean, so any extensive sweat will have to be wiped after each use in order to keep them safe from wearing down.