So, you’ve decided to start practicing yoga—fantastic! The next step is to choose a yoga mat to suit your needs. Yoga is a great activity to improve strength, flexibility and endurance, and to find your “Zen.” Yoga also increases blood flow to the digestive system and stimulates the bowels to aid digestion. To practice yoga, you’re going to need a yoga mat and comfortable clothes.
Here are 5 things to consider before buying a yoga mat:
Type of yoga
Choose a mat according to the type of yoga you’ll be practicing. For example, Ashtanga yoga calls for a mat that offers good grip when you move; for Bikram yoga, practiced in a room at 42 degrees Celsius, opt for a cotton model that absorbs sweat.
Basic yoga mats that you can find anywhere are made of PVC, but if you’re looking for a greener option, try rubber, which is better for the environment. You can also find cotton and even jute models.
Yoga requires a pretty long and wide mat, to allow you to move around freely. If you travel a lot, look for compact models that you can carry around easily.
Mat thickness is really a matter of personal preference. Some people like thicker mats to protect their joints, while others prefer more direct contact with the ground.
The price of mats varies a lot but typically they range from $20 to $100. It’s not always a good idea to buy the cheapest mat, though—you will probably need to replace it frequently so it will end up costing you more in the long run.