How to Choose a Yoga Mat

It is because I am a yoga teacher that everyone always asks me about what yoga mat they should get.  Really, this choice is as personal as choosing which under garments you prefer to wear.  The reason being that there are many different brand and styles of yoga mats that seek to respond to different and varying needs of the students.  It can be a very difficult item to decide on because, let's face it, we all have very intimate relationships with our yoga mats.  After all, we wear on them from all kinds of places, lie on them, fall on them, roll on them and rub our sweaty parts on them.  Then there's pricing.  They can range from $20 to over $200 so it's no wonder you can't make up your own mind on what mat you should buy.  I think this buying a yoga mat might have to be more than one post because I have so much to say on this topic based on my own experiences.  

I think first, before you look at price or colours or options, you need to figure out what your yoga mat needs really are.  Look at your personal needs and at your practice to figure out what mat you think would work best.  do your knees hurt currently during your practice?  This might be an indicator that you need a more supportive (or thicker) mat.  Do your hands or feet get sweaty (lol let's answer this one honestly ladies).  For me, my hands sweat during practice so I need something with some tackiness and texture to it.  What about longevity? How often do you practice on your mat?  If it's every day, then you need something with ironman stamina.  If you practice one a week but sweat a lot on that mat, you also need stability.  If you have more of a gentle practice and may only unroll your mat a couple of times a week, then maybe you can go with a mat that is more of an eco friendly mat that biodegrades over time.  For me, these mats don't really last long enough but remember, it might last you years if you take care of it and aren't too hard on it.  Another factor to consider is storage.  Will your mat be left in the car in the sweltering heat and in the frigid cold of winter?  Do you want a regular sized yoga mat or do you want more width or length?  These are all very important factors to consider when you are looking at what mat you would like to buy.

The funny part is that right now, I have several mats and I love them all for different reasons.  I was very lucky to get my hands on a Liforme mat.  It's pink and grippy.  When I use this mat on hardwood floors, it feels too thin.  That's a personal preference for me.  When I take it to my classes I teach at my office, we are on carpet and this mat is perfect.  I never need a towel.  BUT, this mat has a limited life expectancy.  It won't last forever because there are made of natural materials.  I also have two Manduka yoga mats.  I have their very thin travel mat that I use for teaching a few of my short classes during the week because sometimes I just don't want to drag around a big and heavy mat around with me.  Then I have the Manduka pro ( a light periwinkle coloured one) for my own personal practice.  I have had this one for about a year now.  It still has yet to break in properly so it is still slippery.  But there is hope.  I recently felt someone else's Manduka Pro and it felt heavenly.  Hers was about five years old.  So mine still has some more yoga practices to get through before it gets nice and tacky.  I have also had Jade yoga mats.  I loved my Jade mats.  They were grippy and worked in nicely.  They are also natural and I like the idea of practice yoga on a natural mat.  The only thing I didn't like was the longevity versus price category.  I just couldn't get a Jade mat to last more than a year with my regular and sweaty practice.  The idea of spending $80-ish on a yoga mat annually seemed tough for me.  Now, many people love Jade and I can see why.  From day 1 they unroll comfortably and are great to practice on.  My hands didn't slip too much in a regular practice or a sweaty practice.  They are also supportive.  

I think what I am going to do is offer some more info on some of the yoga mats I have on my products page.  I want people to feel confident and comfortable in their yoga practice and I know for me, having the right mat makes a huge difference.  If you ever have yoga mat questions, just let me know.  I'm happy to help were I can.   

Anna KouryComment