There are many things to consider when purchasing a yoga mat. How much does it cost? Is it environmentally friendly? What type of mat is best for a particular kind of yoga? Whether one is buying a yoga mat for the first or tenth time, it is important to research all the options available. New products are coming out all the time and advancements are being made at a record pace.
How Much Does a Yoga Mat Cost?
Yoga mats range in price from about $20 to upwards of $100, depending on the style and brand. Mats on the cheaper end of the spectrum are usually made out of PVC. They generally provide a smaller amount of cushioning, are lightweight and therefore easy to carry around, and can be found in most any color imaginable.
Mats on the more expensive end of the spectrum are more often made of rubber or some combination of rubber and PVC. There is more choice in the thickness of the mat and how much cushioning it provides and it will probably last longer when put to the test on a daily basis.
To Green or Not to Green?
There are plenty of eco-friendly mats on the markets these days and they can be found most anywhere that other yoga mats and products are sold. They can be made from many different ingredients, including rubber and other plant-based materials. They generally cost a little more and some need special care to maintain, but the negative effects on the environment are reduced, factoring into the yogic idea of “ahimsa” (a sanskrit term meaning to non-violence).
How to Choose the Right Yoga Mat
The type of yoga being practiced greatly influences the best choice for a yoga mat. For Yin, restorative, or gentle yoga classes, or any other class where most of the time is spent on the floor, it easier on the body to have a mat that is thicker and softer and provides some cushion. For classes such as Iyengar or Ashtanga that include lots of standing poses, a thinner mat is recommended to make balancing easier. Some mats are more slippery than others, so for a person that tends to sweat, it would be best to find a slip-resistant mat (all mats will be little slippery when first used, washing a yoga mat before using it will help).
When choosing a yoga mat, it is important to think about what kind of yoga it will be used for. When the right yoga mat is used for the right practice, it becomes much more enjoyable. There are many choices within each price range so do research and explore options to find the perfect match.