Some yoga poses can be excellent in relieving your lower back pain. This is one of the few reasons why yoga has continued to enjoy increased popularity.
In order to enjoy the full healing benefits that yoga has to offer, you will need a good yoga mat to practice your moves and postures. Fortunately, unlike a few years ago when the only yoga mat in the market was a blue or purple PVC mat, there are presently hundreds of yoga mat brands to choose from.
The wide array of choices also means that you will have to be extra careful when shopping for a yoga mat. Some of the basic factors to consider when buying a yoga mat includes its stability as well as the comfort that it offers you during the practice.
To ease your shopping burden, we have researched the factors that make a yoga mat awesome and came back with this excellent shopping guide. We hope that it will be an indispensable source of knowledge as you look forward to buying a yoga mat that will fit your taste, preference, lifestyle and budget!
The thickness of a yoga mat will affect how comfortable the mat feels. Mats that are so thin may get your knees injured if you are doing the crescent lunge. On the other hand, super thick mats (a quarter inch thick or more) will kill your connection with the floor and make you feel wobbly especially when you are doing the Tree Pose.
A standard yoga mat is usually an eighth of an inch thick. There are also thinner mats that are 1/16 of an inch thick. The thinner yoga mats are excellent if you will be moving around with your mat. In fact, these thinner yoga mats are christened ‘travel yoga mats.’ The mats can fold easily and can be cinched to fit in a suitcase. One of the best travel yoga mats is the Gaiam Travel Yoga Mat as it is very thin and can fold up small enough to fit in my bag. But note that because of this it doesn’t offer a lot of cushion so try not to use on hard floor – if you are traveling this is one of the best mat for hotel carpet floors.
Before making a purchasing decision based on the thickness of the yoga mat, you need to consider how portability is important to you and the storage space that you have.
The material used to make your yoga mat determines how soft or course the mat is. It also plays an important role in determining the stickiness, durability and sponginess of the mat.
A lot of conventional yoga mats are made of PVC (vinyl). The best thing with PVC yoga mats is their capability to endure years of heavy use spanning up to a decade.
Although the sponginess of yoga mats can vary wildly across materials, PVC mats have the best sponginess while cotton and jute have the least sponginess.
Unfortunately, PVC yoga mats are not the best choice if you want to avert serving an extra blow on the already suffering ozone layer. There are some newer yoga mats that are more eco-friendly than the PVC mats. Most of these eco-friendly yoga mats include mats made from recycled or natural rubber, organic cotton or jute.
Buyers who are allergic to latex should avoid buying mats made of rubber.
Yoga mats are available in different textures.
Some are smooth all the way, while some are downright rough. The smoothness or roughness can be natural (as a result of the yoga mat material) or can be manmade using patterns of raised bumps and ridges.
The texture of a yoga mat dictates how easily you can slip and slide on the mat. Texture offers traction, especially when you are performing standing poses. However, if you are buying the yoga mat only for your back pain yoga exercises, texture becomes uncomfortable for the exercises that you do sitting or lying down. PVC yoga mats are smoother than cotton and jute yoga mats.
You don’t want to buy a yoga mat that moves with your every movement. Not only is it downright uncomfortable but can also lead to serious injuries.
When buying a yoga mat, you need to ensure that it is sticky from both sides of the mat. The side that comes into contact with the floor should act as an anchor for the mat and lock it into place while the upper side should provide a skid-free surface that holds your sweaty and sticky hands in place.
The above four factors make the complete list of the most important factors to consider when buying a yoga mat. Of course, there are other minor factors like price and dimensions of the yoga mat. We trust you to make a better judgment on these ones.