What types of yoga mat are there?
When I first got the Yoga bug, I really had no idea how important it was to buy a decent high quality yoga mat. I had nave heard of Gaiam or Liforme, so I invested a meagre $15 on a sticky yoga mat that wasn’t even cushioned or eco-friendly.
Then I started getting joint pain especially the knees and I knew I had to do something about the old mat. So I ditched it and ever since I have invested in a much better quality mat. My knees and joints have improved beyond my dreams and my yoga mats are still going strong.
If your starting out or even just know your mat is wrong for you, here are some basic essentials you should know before buying your next mat!
There are quite a few different types of yoga mat available. Here’s a general list.
Sticky yoga mats (pvc or nylon)
These are what most yoga mats are. They last a long time, are portable, robust and reliable. But they aren’t very eco-friendly. Indeed, yoga lovers are moving away from them and buying the new eco-friendly yoga mats as a way of protecting the environment. However, if your new to the yoga journey, you will probably just buy a PVC sticky one.
Eco-friendly yoga mats
Currently all the rage among the yoga “greens”. A typical eco-friendly yoga mat will be more expensive than a stick, but for that added expense, you will get a non toxic, no harmful smell, no PVC, latex and other toxic chemicals yoga mat
Cotton Yoga mats
Usually have a bit more texture to them for added grip and are free from some of the chemicals used in PVC yoga mats
Cork yoga mats
Again, a bit more expensive as they are lightweight and portable as well as very eco-friendly being 100% recyclable
Rubber yoga mats
Most rubber yoga mats are 100% Recyclable & Biodegradable, PVC-free, Non-Toxic, and free from ozone-depleting substances. So very eco-friendly.
Extra long yoga mats
Most yoga mats are 68 (5ft 6in) inches, but you can find Extra Long yoga mats at upto 84 inches (7 feet)
Extra Thick yoga mats
Standard yoga mat thickness is 1/8 inch but you can easily find mats that are 1/2 inch thick, so great for cushioning the impact on the joints.
Extra wide yoga mats
Standard yoga mat width is 24 inches, but if you need a larger size, you can find up to 48 inches wide mats like this one here. Fits 2 people easily.
Non slip yoga mats
Wavy underside stops mat from sliding on floor. The subtly textured surface prevents hands and feet from slipping out of position so you can hold poses no matter how vigorous your practice gets. Perfect for hot yoga. Should be lightweight and easy to carry also.
Acupressure yoga mats
These are increasingly popular and act in a similar way to acupuncture. Great for stress relief and relaxation.
How do i choose the right yoga mat for me?
Consider your needs. Here’s a selection of needs you might want to consider.
- Body Type– standard yoga mats are 1/8 inch thick, so there’s not a lot of cushioning if your a larger frame person. In this case you may best be suited by a thicker yoga mat of say 1/4 inch thickness.
- Tallness– most yoga mats are 68 inches long, that’s only 5ft 6in, so that’s not much good if you are 6ft 6in and are trying to do the corpse pose is it. In this case you should consider a longer mat of maybe 84in (7ft) Something like this one here on Amazon
- Joints– Do you joints hurt if you walk without cushioned shoes? Or just dodgy joints in general. Again, you might want to consider a thicker yoga mat, maybe 1/4 inch to soften the impact made by your body on the mat.
- Are you a yoga beginner?– then you don’t really need an expensive mat as your just starting out and maybe you won’t even like yoga. In this case buy a cheaper mat around $10, unless you can afford a better one of course!
- Are you doing yoga at home or at a studio?.
- If at a studio, you need a lighter portable mat, whereas yoga in the home can be a thicker less portable one.
- Travel yoga mats– If you’re a regular traveller, you may be best suited to finding a light towel type of yoga mat. Then you can just roll at y room floor.
- Are you a green? An environment lover? Lots of yoga people are. Then you’ll want to be looking at the current wave of eco-friendly yoga mats. They have the best high density TPE material with non toxic, no harmful smell, no PVC, latex and other toxic chemicals, greatly enhanced the strength of the mat. PVC yoga mats do not break down and are farmed out to the land fills when they retire
Is there a type of yoga mat dedicated to one type of yoga?
Yes, for example, if you are trying out “Hot Yoga” you’ll need a mat that absorbs sweat and moisture. Hot yoga classes are performed in a gym where the temperature is ramped up to 105 degrees and 40 degrees humidity, so you will sweat- A lot!
For “Flow” style yoga, you need to practice more complex movements and in Yin yoga you spend most of the time on the mat, so with both you’ll need a non slip cushioned mat.
What material are yoga mats made of?
Most yoga mats are made of PVC (Vinyl) and they last a long time and are relatively cheaper than the others. Some of the other materials used to make yoga mats are:
- Natural Rubber
- Recycled Rubber
- Organic Cotton
- Natural Cotton
What colour Yoga Mat should I choose?
Well, that’s a great question. There are so many different colors available, it’s impossible for us to say. But as all Yogi’s know, you gotta follow your heart with this one. There are reds, blues, yellows, and mixes of all. Multi colored printed design yoga mats are popular like this one here.