There was a time yoga was dangerous and any slip could lead a serious injury but while the risk of injuries still remains especially if you get it wrong, the risk can be reduced significantly with the help of yoga mats but for that, the first and foremost thing is to find the right mat.
A good yoga mat has certain features that separate it from the rest and here are 5 of those features that matter the most. If you’re in a rush then you can just head over to Fitnessguyd and read yoga mat reviews without going through the research work yourself.
In short, thickness equals comfort. Using a thin yoga mat leaves your muscles and joints prone to serious injuries in case of a fall or slip and a mat too thick will create a disconnect from the floor making you feel jittery.
Suitably, a normal yoga mat should have a thickness of around 1/8 inches and not more than ¼ inches. With travel yoga mats, the thickness is as low as 1/16 inches and thus are easy to carry around but are only recommended for the pros.
The traction provided by any mat varies with the texture. Traction helps reduce the slips and slide while the texture also has a bearing on the comfort of the mat. Mats made from natural material such as jute etc. already have the roughness and stickiness required whereas with PVC mats the texture is man made to provide a softer look and feel.
Rubber, jute and cotton mats come with a slightly bumpy surface which provides as good as traction as PVC mats but these mats have a smoother, more polished finish.
Is it eco-friendly?
A lot of yogis talk about non-violence or ahimsa but then should you be practicing yoga on mats that harms the environment? If no, then we’d recommend you avoid PVC mats as they are expensive to recycle.
Rubber, cotton or jute mats with a bumpy surface offer an eco-friendly alternative along with the stickiness, stability, and comfort of any PVC mat.
Cost for many is often the most important of deciding factors. A thin, plain PVC yoga mat should cost you about $10 but comes with its own set of cons. The Gaiam Print Premium offers a better alternative and should cost around $20-25.
If budget isn’t a matter of concern and you’re looking for an attention grabber i.e. a yoga mat with a fancy design, pattern etc. then Yoga Design Lab has a wide variety of mats you’d love.
Stickiness is one of the most important attributes of a good yoga mat and will keep you from slipping and sliding all around when holding a pose. PVC mats have the highest amount of stickiness but only when cleaned and maintained regularly.
Cotton, jute or rubber mats lack the stickiness of a PVC mat but due to the natural roughness and bump in the texture can still help you nail the downward dog to perfection.