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How to Choose a Yoga Mat: Aesthetics and Comfort

Yoga Mat

Yoga mats have two main practical purposes. First, a yoga mat is designed to cushion your body and joints while you are doing poses. Second, a yoga mat provides a sticky surface which prevents slipping. Choose a yoga mat which first satisfies these safety precautions before considering aesthetics.

Aesthetic Considerations

The color of your yoga mat impacts your level of comfort during a class by enhancing a relaxing mood or enlivening an intense vinyasa practice. Before choosing a yoga mat ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where will I be practicing yoga?
  • What styles of yoga will I be practicing?
  • What types of clothes do I wear when practicing yoga?

Location of Yoga Practice

The location of your yoga practice will impact the longevity of your yoga mat, including the quality of its color. If you are practicing at a gym or in high traffic public space, avoid light colored yoga mats, which show dirt stains more easily. If you keep a clean home or practice in a well cared for private studio, feel safer in choosing a lighter color. Store your yoga mat in a clean area of your home. Purchase a mat bag to protect your mat from dust and stains.

Style of Yoga

The style of yoga you practice impacts what color you should choose. If you are signed up for a gentle or restorative yoga class, choose a soothing color which won’t disrupt the mood for you and your classmates. In general, soothing colors are less vibrant and more subtle. According to color theory, calming colors include:

  • blue
  • green
  • lavender
  • gray
  • brown

If you are practicing a more intense, athletic form of yoga such as vinyasa yoga or hot yoga, you may want a more lively color. A vibrant red, bright purple or intense green will feel energizing to practice on. Patterned yoga mats will also feel more appropriate for this style of practice. Just remember that a vibrant mat might draw attention to you in class. If you are shy you may want to stick to a calming or neutral color. If you are outgoing, a bright mat can become a conversation starter.

Coordinating the Yoga Mat With Your Wardrobe

Consider what colors of clothing you typically wear to the gym and then find a mat which matches or coordinates. For example, if you wear all black, you may wish to purchase a sleek black mat. If you wear brightly colored work out clothes, a neutral brown, gray or muted blue will coordinate with your outfits better.

Environmental Impact and the Yogic Practice of Ahimsa

The philosophy of yoga includes the practice of Ahimsa, translated as non-harming or non-violence. By choosing an ecologically friendly mat, you are keeping with the principle of Ahimsa by reducing harm to the environment. Recycled yoga mats and yoga mats made of rubber conserve resources and are available in a variety of colors and patterns. Online yoga boutiques provide the best selection of yoga mats. Also, check out local athletic stores and chain departments stores for yoga mat purchases.