Choosing the right Yoga mat can be difficult. Often when we first start out, we buy the cheapest mat we can find. It doesn’t take long for us to realize however that the cheapest mat is not always the best, and it is worth investing in a better mat to continue our practice on.
Cheapest Mats - PVC, 1/16" Thickness
The cheapest mats you can find are likely made of PVC, 1/16” thickness, and have a raised, bumpy texture. These mats may be easy on your pocketbook, but they will leave you slipping and sliding when you really start to build a sweat. There is nothing worse than wanting to hold your downward dog and get deeper into your calf muscles and hamstrings but you have to keep adjusting your hands and breaking your hold because your hands are sliding further away from you. When I started to experience this, I started on a journey to find the perfect mat.
First, I tried a thicker mat (1/4”) from Amazon. I found it to be too thick, not allowing me to balance well because I wasn’t rooted to the floor. I also tried a 1/8” but did not like it for the same reason. I then bought a slightly more expensive mat that had a smoother texture at the common 1/16”. Unfortunately, I started sliding after someone who won’t be named sprayed yoga mat mist on it. I have not been able to clean it fully, so I found a cheap hot Yoga mat towel to throw over it. This worked really well, especially if I misted it with water. However, when it is dry, I slip around in a different way. Instead of sliding slowly, I slide quickly and then react quickly to catch myself and risk pulling muscles. This means that every time I practice Yoga with my hot Yoga towel over my mat, I need to mist it in order to get good traction. This will work for now, but eventually I will purchase a more expensive mat that will complete prevent slip and last for a few years.
More Expensive & Durable Mats
There are many popular brands that make high quality mats such as Lululemon, Alo, and Manduka. These brands created mats that have a high tackiness and good durability. Manduka even created a mat with alignment lines on it for a stronger, more accurate practice. There are also a lot of eco-friendly mats. The most interesting of the ecofriendly mats is made of cork. Cork is great to use for yoga materials like mats and blocks because it is very sturdy, durable and sticky. If you are a regular Yoga practitioner like myself, I highly recommend purchasing one of these higher-end mats because they have excellent reviews and will last you possibly a lifetime.