A Yoga Mat is the simplest piece of equipment for any level from beginner to experienced Yogi, but choosing the right one is important to your practice and your body.
Here are some important things to consider when choosing your next Yoga mat.
A standard Yoga mat is 68″ long. This length will be fine for most people, but if you are particularly tall or long-limbed you may want to seek out mats with a longer length. This will allow more of your body to fit on the mat in poses like Downward Dog, or when finishing your practice in Shavasana.
PVC is the most common material for Yoga mats, but it is not particularly environmentally friendly.
Rubber or Foam is an eco-friendly alternative to PVC Yoga mats. It is reasonably inexpensive, but not suitable for anyone with an allergy to latex.
A Cotton Yoga Mat, or Yoga Rug as they are sometimes called, is a more traditional choice. They will absorb sweat well in hot yoga classes and are easily washable, they can also offer improved grip over other choices. On the downside they often offer less padding.
Jute is similar to cotton in that it is a natural choice. It can offer a slightly rougher surface, which is good for traction but can be hard on the hands and knees.
A traditional yoga mat is around 1/8″ thick and offers a good balance between stability and protection for your knees and hands from the floor. Some people may fold their mat over in some poses to provide more protection.
Thicker yoga mats are available at around 1/4″ thick. If you are very light they may offer more padding in some poses, on the downside they will reduce your connection with the floor, which could make you feel unstable in one legged standing poses.
You can also get extremely thin yoga mats, often designed for travel. They are super lightweight and will protect you from grubby floors, but offer little in the way of padding.
Your Yoga Practice
Different styles of Yoga make different demands on your body, and on the surface you practice on. High intensity Yoga like Power Yoga or Hot Yoga may demand a mat with a textured surface to keep grip when there is perspiration on your hands. You may also want to consider a cotton mat or one with a removable cover that can be easily cleaned. If you are taking part in a more restorative, Yin Yoga practice then comfort may be of more importance and considering the padding and a smooth surface might be the way to go.
Your budget will obviously play a huge part in the mat you choose. Cheap PVC Yoga mats can be picked up for under £5, or you could order a custom made leather Yoga mat for over £1000.
Most Yoga mats come in at around the £20-£50 mark with stylistic features and fun prints often adding more to the price tag.
Keep an eye on our Articles & Tips section as we’ll soon be bringing you our top picks for Yoga mats for all budgets.