Yoga is certainly not a new invention in health and fitness. There are countless types of yoga, positions, benefits and everything in between, but some things that are developing recently are the equipment options that come along with it; like yoga mats. They seem to be a staple of yoga, but do you really need one, and what do you need to look out for?

They're pretty important in the scheme of things.

Safety

Woman upside down on a mat

First of all, and arguably most importantly, they offer you safety. Yoga isn't an easy thing to master, and if you're starting out or you're trying the more advanced poses, they can make a huge difference to your safety. The whole practice of yoga requires a tremendous level of strength and balance, and if either of these is lacking or even if you just get distracted during your yoga, there's a chance you could have an accident. Yoga mats provide that little bit extra stability and can be all the difference between an injury and a workout. The last thing you need is to fall an injure yourself in any way, shape or form. Be careful.

Comfort

Woman doing a side plank

Secondly, yoga mats are a great way to make your exercise more comfortable. Practising yoga on a hard floor or somewhere slippery, for example, can be a real issue. If you aren't comfortable, you can't concentrate, and your exercise as a whole could be a bad experience for you. Take the time to get the right mat for what you need and learn to enjoy and immerse yourself in what it is that you are doing. That's something a yoga mat can really help with.

Support

Woman using a yoga mat

Finally, we'll look at the supporting aspects that a yoga mat has to offer you. Having a safe and comfortable place for you to practise yoga in the way that it's meant to be, also means that you can correctly perform what you're doing. Whether that's balance properly without wobbling or even just having something you know you can rely on, the mat is there for you. That makes a difference in itself.

 

Getting the right One

 

 

Man doing yoga

 

So these benefits all sound ideal for your yoga or other exercises even, but that doesn't mean buying any old yoga mat will give it to you. There are a few things you need to look out for before you make a commitment. It's nothing drastic, but it needs noting.

Thickness

The thickness of your yoga mat is definitely one of the most important factors that you need to look at before you make a decision. It is what is going to make the difference to your performance and, ultimately, how good of a fit the mat is going to be for you. Too much padding is not a good thing if it doesn't suit you.

Typically, yoga mats are around 4mm in thickness. That's the average level of padding against how solid the mat is. Any more padding may make the mat more bouncy and harder to balance on in tricky poses, BUT it will make it much easier on your joints. Take that into account and think about your preferences. On the other hand, thinner yoga mats are better for travelling as they're super light, but they may not be so comfortable.

Material

The material that your mat is made of again has a significant impact on how it's going to work for you. There aren't as many options as there are with the thickness of your mat, but there are still a couple of things to take into account.

The most common yoga mat material out there is PVC/Vinyl, and that's likely going to be the best yoga mat for you in the long run. It's supportive and durable, so your mat should last a long time. If you don't like the PVC feel (or you want to be eco-friendlier), you can go for a less durable cotton approach. It's all down to you.

Size

Finally, we’ll take a look at the size of some yoga mats. That way, you can really make sure you’re making the right call. Typically, yoga mats are a one size fits all. That’s just the standard for what they’re used for, and it’s ideal for most people.

On the other hand, however, in some cases, it’s just not right. In that instance, you can shop for longer and/or wider mats too. They’re great for taller people and for people who are using the mats for really advanced yoga moves. On top of that, you can use them for other exercises too, especially if you're big on your home workouts.

 

 

Woman touching her toes

 

They may seem like just an added extra to your yoga, but they are popular for a reason. They help you to achieve the very essence of what yoga is all about. For a low cost, they are worth the addition.

for more advice on yoga, check out our guide on yoga for beginners HERE (and check out our yoga blocks article here too, for more kit to help you out!)

 

 


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If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.