How to find your yoga mat
As a yogini looking for the perfect mat, I want to give you a few personal suggestions that might help you choosing what is right for you.
It is a difficult decision, especially for beginners: How much to invest in your new yoga mat. Should you spend a lot of money, even though you are not sure if you will stick to yoga? Or should you go for a cheap one to try out a few classes – risking that you keep sliding around or hurting your knees and consequently will never get to love yoga in the first place?
Ok, my first lesson learnt: No such thing as a perfect mat! You’ll have to compromise somewhere – in price, weight, comfort, grip, etc. And everyone has different tastes, different bodies, different sweat-levels, as you can see when reading the reviews of yoga mats!
Recommendation No 1: If you can, borrow a mat from a friend or a store or your yoga teacher until you know you will continue to do yoga on a regular basis. Or, if you are lucky, your yoga studio uses good mats with a decent grip.
So you tried yoga a few times and are ready to commit? Here is what to look out for:
Recommendation No 2: Consider your practice: Is it a calmer practice, or do you get sweaty and need good grip? Are you practicing a lot in different places, or do you stay at the same place?
Recommendation No 3: How are your knees doing? Some people really feel their knees in knee stand or table top. That’s why mats are available in different strengths. Studio mats are oftentimes just 3 mm thin. Ouch! Usually, 5 mm offers decent support. Beware: The thicker, the heavier.
Recommendation No 4: Does it bother you when you touch the floor? Tall yogis and Yoginis might want to consider a longer size mat if they don’t want to have to constantly choose whether to have the head or the feet touch the ground. There are also wider mats to give you more space. Beware: all this makes the mat heavier (and pricier).
Recommendations No 5: If you don’t practice Hot Yoga, don’t buy a hot yoga mat. This happened to me, actually. The mat had awesome colors and it felt soooooo soft on the surface. I ordered it online, and it didn’t say “hot yoga” anywhere. Turns out that surface works great — when you sweat A LOT. For all other styles, it means sliding around like on ice until you sweat! I walked around with a water spray for a while and sprayed the mat wet before starting. Didn’t work well, though. Bummer, that mat sure looked nice!
Recommendation No 6: How much do sustainability and eco-friendliness mean to you? Check out the producer of your mat. There are also rubber, cork, recycled and other mats available these days. It’s worth spending some time on and – if necessary – asking some hard questions!
Hopefully, these tips are helpful to you, when deciding on your (next) yoga mat! If you have any additional recommendations or experiences, please share! I think we all appreciate suggestions in finding a yoga mat we love and that lasts us for years!