Which Yoga Mat Is Right For You?

I spend a lot of time on the yoga mat. Actually, I have 3 that I rotate through based on my current needs. One of my mats is extra thick and extra long from a women's athletic wear brand in the U.K. called Sweaty Betty, and I use this one if I'm practicing on a particularly hard or cold floor, or even if I'm just practicing headstands (I feel like I need all the cushion that I can get). I have another one that is meant to protect you from slipping if you suffer from sweaty hands and feet from Jade, and the final one I use is my very first yoga mat ever (back from when they only came in blue).  

 

For someone who either has never practiced yoga asana before or is new to taking classes, choosing the right yoga mat might seem like a bit of a trivial issue. You might be thinking, "Who cares? It's not going to make much of a difference in class anyway." To that I say, you are very, very wrong. Once you do get going in your yoga practice, you'll find out what your body needs like I did, which is why I now have 3 different mats plus some extra props as well (we'll get into yoga props in another post).

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So, I'm hoping that with this post, I can make that choice a little bit easier for you by telling you what I think you should look for when you're shopping for a yoga mat based on your body's needs. There are so many choices out there, and I know it can get a bit overwhelming. Hopefully, these tips can help you narrow things down and buy the best possible mat for you!

 

Types Of Yoga Mats

 

The Classic 

Everyone who's seen a yoga mat knows what a classic looks like. It's about 1/8 inches thick, made of vynal, and now comes in a variety of different colors and patterns. This mat is a classic because it use to be all they sold really, and there wasn't much choice. Also, this is the type of mat that you'll be able to buy anywhere (Target, Wal Mart, etc.), and it won't break the bank either. 

 

You'll need this if:

- You are on a strict budget when yoga mat shopping & don't want to invest in something for the long term.

- You don't need any special "bells & whistles," if you will. *see about said "bells & whistles" down below*

Mat Suggestions:

Gaiam Printed Yoga Mat

 

An Extra Thick Mat

An extra thick mat can be up to about 1/4 of an inch in thickness, and they provide a lot more cushion for your joints as you practice. As I said earlier, I like to use my thicker mat if I know I'll be incorporating headstands into my practice because it provides more cushion for the top of my head. *TIP: If a thicker mat isn't in your budget, you can fold or roll up a towel or blanket and place it under your joints and back while you practice.*

 

You'll need this if:

- You are boney a.k.a. if your bones protrude a little bit, not only your knees & elbows, but also the bones in your back.

- If it hurts A LOT when you kneel down or lie down on a hard floor.

Mat Suggestions:

Manduka Black Pro Mat

Jade Fusion Yoga Mat

 

An Extra Long Yoga Mat

A standard-sized mat is about 68 inches long, but they do make longer versions in 72 inches, 74 inches, and even 84 inches. This is particularly useful if you always find that your feet or head ends up off the mat somehow.

 

You'll need this if:

- You are taller than about 5' 5".

- You have particularly long arms and legs.

-You prefer more space.

Mat Suggestions:

Jade Harmony Yoga Mat

Yoga Direct Extra Long Yoga Mat

 

Light & Thin (Travel Mats)

These are very, very thin, and they can get as thin as 1/16 of an inch in thickness. This means that they are perfect for traveling and throwing them in your luggage since they are easily foldable. However, this type of mat provides absolutely no type of cushion whatsoever, and if you are boney, you likely won't enjoy practicing on this mat.

You'll need this if:

- You travel very often and want to practice yoga wherever you are.

- You feel absolutely no pain kneeling or lying down on a hard floor.

 

Mat Suggestions:

Manduka eKo Superlite Yoga Mat

Jade Yoga Travel Mat

 

Non-Slip Yoga Mat

There is nothing worse than practicing on a classic yoga mat (mentioned above) when you have sweaty hands and feet. Some teachers claim that "It's all a part of the struggle" and "You just have to work a little bit harder." I am not one of those teachers. The struggle is real, and it is not pleasant. You don't want your yoga class to be a painful and uncomfortable experience, and you don't want to be distracted by the fact that you might fall on your face if you slip out while you're in down dog (or 3 legged dog for that matter). You do want to challenge yourself, of course, or else you'll never improve, but you also want to feel good. I don't know about you, but I don't feel good when I'm slipping out of control. That's what mats like these were created for, and I swear by mine. *TIP: these mats can be slightly more on the expensive side, so you can just modify any of the other mats listed by placing a regular towel on top of your mat when you practice or even a grippy non-slip yoga towel made to fit over your entire mat.*

 

You'll need this if:

- You practice hot yoga (Bikram, hot flow, etc.)

- You practice ashtanga vinyasa, power yoga, jivamukti, or any type of cardio-based yoga that makes you sweat.

- You have sweaty hands and feet in general.

 

Mat Suggestions:

Jade Harmony Yoga Mat

Manduka eKo Yoga Mat

Gaiam No Slip Mat Towel

 

So, I really hope this guide helped you out in your quest for the perfect yoga mat! They do make hybrid versions of some of these types (2 different qualities in 1 mat), so let's say you are boney and you have a slipping problem, you can get a mat that is both extra thick and non-slip. The possibilities are endless nowadays! 

 

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog! What is your favorite type of yoga mat? Is there any mat quality that I missed out on in this post? If so, please share it in the comments below! I would LOVE to hear from you! Also, don't forget to head over to my sidebar and pop your email in the box so that you can receive monthly tips & suggestions from me right in your email! Then, head on over and follow me on FacebookTwitterInstagram & subscribe to my YouTube channel

 

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