Selecting a Yoga Mat:
Whether you occasionally engage in down-dog yoga, or if you are a daily practitioner it is a good idea to invest in a quality yoga mat. A good mat will provide comfort between the floor and your body and cushion your elbows, hips and knees while going through the poses. The mat is also good for creating your own personal space.
Most yoga mats are constructed out of a plastic called polyvinyl chloride or PVC. This yoga mat material helps to keep slipping to a minimum and also is the most affordable. The downside to a PVC mat is that it is a toxic plastic that is costly and difficult to recycle. So if you are environmentally minded, take the green route and pick a yoga mat that’s made out of jute, bamboo, cotton, or recycled rubber.
A quality yoga mat is an essential for the yoga practitioner. Usually frustration and injury result from using a rug, or gym cushion. Gymnastic rugs and cushions or soft pilates mats are too thick and often result in chronic wrist injury. They also make balancing difficult.
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If you are a heavy sweater, “sticky” mats are usually too slippery. Therefore, choose a yoga towel, dull-surface mat or a rubber mat. These kinds of mats are good at absorbing sweat and will aid you in avoiding slipping during strong practice. Travel mats can be handy as they are foldable and placed into luggage.
The standard yoga mat is about 1/8th inches thick and offers support to your body but still allows the user to feel the connection to the floor or ground. Travel mats are a light weight option. These are usually 1/16th inches thick and are suitcase friendly. If you want extra cushion, yoga mats are available that are about ¼ inches thick.
Thin mats are great for users who have a strong flowing technique as they allow you better floor contact.
Thick mats are better for therapeutic or restorative practices. They will provide grip as well as cushion. If your techniques require positions that balance on arms or hands, thick mats that are too soft often result in chronic wrist pain. Thicker yoga mats that don’t have much “give” are preferable although they cost more than the thinner ones.
Normally a yoga mat is 24 by 68 inches. They do make longer ones for those that are much taller.
To prevent sliding and slipping you should choose a sticky mat. The PVC yoga mats are normally very sticky and some even have a fabric-like top to help keep your hands steady. A patterned bottom will also help in stopping the sliding.
If you decide on an environmentally friendly yoga mat they will often have a raised texture to minimize sliding. Sometimes they are made with a natural rubber that is slip-resistant. A mat’s texture will determine just how much sliding and slipping occurs. The PVC yoga mats are softer as opposed to other materials that are rougher.
If you are not sure about the mat that is best for you do some research and find the one that suits you best.