With the plethora of choices for yoga mats in the market it has become quite a task to choose the BEST one. A few decades ago all we had was either the traditional rug or the sticky mat. Things changed (thankfully) as yoga practitioners started seeking better options to suit their practice, lifestyle, ethical values and budget considerations.
While an IDEAL yoga mat really is a subjective topic since criteria vary from person-to-person, here are tips for you to choose the BEST yoga mat and avoid the worst ones.
Why is it our number one tipjQuery15209389784624800086_1379322482863 Well if you consider that performing Yoga asanas in itself signifies an increased intake of Oxygen; breathing toxic off-gassing (who-knows-what) from PVC mats (commonly called vinyl) hardly makes sense!
Seek out organic cotton (no pesticides when growing treating the yarn and no synthetic finishes either!) mats ormats made from eco-friendly options like natural rubber (from sustainable sources or recycled preferably), jute fiber (a natural solution to slippage) etc. For people allergic to latex, avoid rubber mats.
Feel good while using it and also after. Eco friendly discarded mats will not contribute to the clogging of a land fill for tens and hundreds of years.
One of the key factors that affects performance is the choice of mat material; its texture, pressure bearing ability etc . These factors will mainly be determined by the performance preference they offer for your personal practise.
Texture is not just a choice of tactile preference; smooth as silk or rough and bumpy feel against skin. If you are seeking anti-skidding or slipping features for your rough workout then a raised textured mat or even a naturally rough fibre mat like one made from cotton or jute offer better traction and would be the choice of mat. The common pvc ‘sticky’ mats are a no-no since they offer no ‘stickiness’ in this respect. Rubber mats with raised patterns are also good options since the designs offer better grip.
Sponginess: Do you perform slow or fast? This will dictate whether you need a high ‘sponginess’ (how it yields to pressure) or low. For eg PVC has the highest while cotton or even jute have the least.
Stickiness: While extreme suction or stickiness is not essential, do look for a yoga mat that offers atleast the minimum amount of stickiness or anti-skid. This prevenst the mat from slipping and folding and ensures maintaining of alignment when performing the poses and safety too.
Smell: Often overlooked but important! Sometimes the latex smell of natural rubber or the off-gassing from PVCmats is so strong that it puts one off the actual practise. Next time you are choosing do give the mat a sniff before you commit to the purchase!
Through Thick or Thin
Should it be thick for extra comfort or should it be thin to feel and stay connected to the earth? Cushioned plush for luxury or foldable slim for portability and storage? The choice here must be an individual one. What is it that you desire the most? Your personal preference and practice style will dictate the best choice. Standard thickness is 1/8th inches while the range is from as thin as 1/6 inches to as thick and plush as 1/4inch.
Forever and more
What is another good criterion when choosing a mat is its durability; its strength to bear the use and abuse.
Truth be told the most durable are the PVC sticky mats since they are essentially nothing but industrial strength plastic!
If you do decide to go with this option the least you should do is to buy one that will last at least a decade or more – to offset the ‘landfill clogging’ aspect.
Eco rubber mats tend not to be so durable since they are made from natural fibre and are thus not ‘factory’ strengthened with synthetics. However we have found organic cotton mats tend to last almost forever.
Conventional mats and rubber mats are easy to clean which is important when performing sweaty rough asan practise. The last thing you want is to have your yoga mat a breeding ground for fungi and bacteria.
With fibre mats like cotton or jute do ensure they are effortlessly washable since they tend to absorb sweat easily.
Price & Value
Eco mats do tend to price more than regular sticky mats however we believe it is a choice you have to make considering other factors in perspective.
Yoga as a practice requires nothing but a mat, in comparison to other forms of fitness.
An investment in a good, safe, eco-friendly yoga mat is invaluable.
About Omved Yoga Mats
- Our eco-friendly certified organic yoga rug is made from high quality, pure organic cotton.
- They are handmade, fair-trade and eco-friendly.
- Each mat is densely woven using traditional weaving methods, to retain its shape and support your practise for years to come.
- The thin rubber back-coating allows you to use it directly on the floor or over a non-slip mat.
- Organic cotton rugs are dyed with organic safe colours and are easy to wash and take care of. The Omvedyoga mat supports your body, improves balance and coordination and provides a good grip and comfort that is essential for yoga asana practise.
- This is also the perfect travel companion because it is 1/6 inch thick.
- Priced at INR 1135, these are available in red and green colours.
We say: Cotton rugs have been used for centuries for practising yoga asanas and were likely the first mats ever used specifically for practice. While practising Yoga asanas and meditation inhale breaths of fresh air, avoid chemical laden mats that emit toxic and unhealthy air.
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