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Yoga Mats 101 - Not All Mats Are Created Equal

by:Joy Summit      2020-12-27
The beginner-yogi is often surprised to learn that not all yoga mats are created equally. Mats range in price from eight dollars to eighty and come in a variety of materials, sizes, and styles. These factors determine if your mat will be comfortable and durable enough, as well as appropriate for the lineage you practice, and how frequently you do so.
The first determining factor in choosing a yoga mat is the lineage, or style, of yoga for which you will primarily be using your mat. Because some lineages of yoga entail a sweaty workout-like Ashtanga (Power Yoga), or Bikram (Hot Yoga)-many yogis prefer an ultra sticky mat, or even a cotton yoga rug, to go over their mats, so that they do not slip. The added benefit of a cotton mat is one of sheer utility, as you can simply toss it into the washing machine. This will allow you to wash away dirt, sweat, and if you are lucky, a little karma, as well.
You can also choose a yoga pad to accommodate your height or sensitive joints. The tall yogi or yogini can buy a mat that is up to even feet long; get ready for a very long downward-facing dog. If you have suffered injuries in the past, simply have tender joints, or practice a strenuous form of yoga, choosing an extra thick yoga mat is wise. The average thickness of yoga mats is 1/8' -thick but the softer variety is 1/4'-thick. A thicker yoga mat might even be a smart purchase for anyone but can importantly serve as a cushion for delicate wrists or kneecaps.
How frequently you practice yoga also determines the kind of mat that is appropriate for you. Because the price ranges from eight to eighty dollars and is proportional to their quality and durability, the serious practitioner may chose to opt for a more expensive mat. Natural rubber and other eco-friendly materials usually constitute the more durable mats, while most yoga mats are made of latex and micro fiber. The earth-friendly will find that eco-awareness and durability often go hand in hand.
Because the less expensive mats are usually more thin and flexible, some purchase an extra mat for travel. Others may enjoy having an extra mat in the event that she has a guest who wants to join in morning sun-salutations. For the frequent practitioner, a yoga pad will need a bag or strap for easy carrying. Conveniently, accessories for easy mobility can be found anywhere that yoga mats are sold. You can even decide to have two mats-one for your home and one for the studio-but be sure to ask your local studio, first!
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