Choosing a yoga mat can be very challenging. There are so many options, so many brands, thicknesses, colours, designs, weights, materials, prices, durability… Here I will guide you to choose the right yoga mat for you, the one that adjusts the best to your practice, and lifestyle, and of course is good for your health and the environment.
The questions you need to make to yourself are: What type of practice do I want my yoga mat for? Is this material good for my health and the environment?
Here are some factors to consider when selecting a yoga mat:
Thickness: The thickness of a yoga mat affects its cushioning and support. Thicker mats provide more cushioning, which can be helpful if you have joint issues or prefer a more comfortable surface, but they are also heavier. Thinner mats, on the other hand, provide more stability, can be better for balance poses and are lighter if you need to travel or carry them to your yoga studio.
Material: The material of a yoga mat can affect its grip, texture, durability, and eco-friendliness. Consider your preferences and values when choosing a material.
Texture: The texture of a yoga mat affects its grip and slip resistance. A mat with a smooth surface can be slippery, while a mat with a textured surface provides a better grip.
Length and width: Make sure to choose a mat that is long and wide enough to accommodate your body size and practice. Most standard mats are 68-72 inches long and 24-26 inches wide.
Grip: Flow yoga classes like Vinyasa or Ashtanga require more complex movements, and you’ll need a mat with more traction to keep your arms and legs in place, also you will do balancing poses so you will find balance better on a non-too-thick yoga mat. For restorative classes like yin yoga, yoga nidra, or sound journey, however, you’ll primarily be sitting on the ground, so grip is less important. Instead, you can go for a soft and comfortable mat.
Price: Yoga mats range in price from budget-friendly to high-end. Consider how much you are willing to spend and how often you will use the mat. Normally eco-friendly yoga mats are more expensive than other yoga mats.
The right material for your Yoga Mat needs to be comfortable for you to be on, keep you warm from the cold floor and have a good grip. However, it’s not all about our yoga practice. Yoga also cares for the environment and encourages living more naturally.
Yoga mats can be made from a variety of materials, each with its unique characteristics. Here are some of the most common materials used to make yoga mats:
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): PVC yoga mats are the most commonly used type of yoga mat due to their affordability, durability, and ease of maintenance. However, PVC is not an eco-friendly material and may emit toxic chemicals when disposed of has been considered to cause cancer, disrupt the endocrine system, impair the foetus development, and suppress the immune system.
TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer): TPE yoga mats are made from non-toxic and recyclable materials. They are lightweight, slip-resistant, and provide good cushioning. However, they may not be as durable as PVC mats.
Natural Rubber: Natural rubber is also known as latex or caucho. Natural rubber is made from the sap of rubber trees. Is made from eco-friendly materials and provides excellent grip and cushioning. They are also biodegradable and sustainable. However, natural rubber may not be suitable for people with latex allergies.
Cork: Cork yoga mats are made from sustainable and biodegradable materials. They provide a natural, non-slip surface that is antimicrobial and easy to clean. However, they may not be as cushioned as other types of mats. Cork yoga mats are generally durable and long-lasting, but their lifespan can be shorter than mats made from other materials, such as rubber or PVC. It is a very good option if you want a light eco-friendly yoga mat for hot yoga, as it gets grippier as it sweater
Jute: Jute yoga mats are made from natural plant fibres that are sustainable and biodegradable. They provide a textured, slip-resistant surface and provide a good grip. However, they may not be as cushioned as other types of mats.
PU (polyurethane) yoga mats are a popular type of yoga mat that are known for their softness, durability, and excellent grip. PU mats are made from a synthetic material that is designed to mimic the texture and feel of natural rubber.
Eco-friendly yoga mats are made of natural materials from sustainable and renewable sources. These materials are biodegradable or recyclable. The manufacturing process and disposal of an eco-friendly yoga mat shouldn’t release toxic chemicals into the environment.
When choosing an eco-friendly yoga mat, also consider the manufacturing process and the company’s environmental policies. Look for companies that use sustainable and ethical practices, and that are transparent about their materials and production methods.
The type of yoga you practice can influence the type of yoga mat that is best suited for you. Here are some general guidelines for choosing a yoga mat based on the type of yoga you practice:
Hatha Yoga: For Hatha yoga, which typically involves slower movements and a focus on alignment and breath, a mat with good cushioning and grip is important. Look for mats that are at least 4mm thick, have a non-slip surface, and provide support for your joints.
Ashtanga Yoga: Ashtanga yoga is a more vigorous style of yoga that involves a lot of jumping and movement. A mat with good grip and stability is essential for this practice. Look for a mat that is at least 5mm thick and has a textured surface that provides traction.
Bikram Yoga: Bikram yoga is a hot yoga practice that takes place in a heated room. For this type of practice, a mat that provides a good grip and is sweat-resistant is important. Look for a mat that has a non-slip surface, is easy to clean, and is made from materials that can withstand high temperatures.
Restorative Yoga: Restorative yoga is a gentle, relaxing style of yoga that involves a lot of props and supportive poses. For this type of practice, a mat that is at least 6mm thick and provides good cushioning is ideal. Look for a mat that is comfortable and supportive, but still provides enough stability to hold poses.
In general, it’s a good idea to choose a mat that is comfortable, durable, suits your personal preferences, needs, and lifestyle and is respectful of the environment.
I hope that this article has helped you to choose your perfect yoga mat!
At Molino del Zegri we have our brand of eco-friendly natural rubber yoga mats because the priority for us is to be respectful of the environment, and our health and also provide a fantastic grip and cushion to do the most of our practice!
If you want to enjoy a magic retreat with us have a look at the website Molino del Zegri Eco Yoga Retreat
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