The essential attribute for everyone who practices yoga is of course a yoga mat. Although a yoga mat seems quite simple at first glance, there are many differences in material, size, and texture, all with their own specific properties. We’ll list it for you!
Anyone who has ever done yoga on a carpet or tarp has experienced it: your stability is gone, it’s hard to find your balance because of the uneven surface, and your hands and feet slip away. A good yoga mat offers solutions to all these problems, but there are many differences between the mats.
Yoga mats from a sports store or from discounters are not real yoga mats, and often have a poor quality. A real yoga mat is a lot more expensive, but if you buy a good mat you only have to make this investment once. Yes it costs a bit more money, but you can do yoga on it for the rest of your life.
We will help you find the best yoga mat for beginners! Let’s first have a look at the different features of a yoga mat.
The standard width of a yoga mat is 23,6 inches, but you can also choose a wider yoga mat.
This is certainly nice if you have a heavier or wider building. There are yoga mats of 26, 27,5 and 31,5 inches wide.
The standard length is between 70,9 and 72,05 inches. Variations are also possible, such as extra long yoga mats up to 84,6 inches.
In general: choose a length that is slightly larger than your body.
The average thickness of a yoga mat is between 0,16 and 0,24 inches. What you like is entirely up to you and depends on how you are going to use the mat.
For example, a thin compact mat is nice for traveling while a thick mat is wonderfully comfortable and more comfortable if you have sensitive knees.
You can find mats with a thickness of 0,31 inches. This is very pleasant if you have sensitive joints or are heavily built.
A foldable mat is usually a bit thinner (0,12 inches or less) and easier to take with you on a trip or to the beach. There are also special ‘travel mats’ that can often be rolled up but are thinner to reduce volume and weight.
If your yoga studio offers mats itself, it is sometimes convenient to put a thin mat on top of the studio mat. In that case you practice hygienic and non-slip on your own mat, while at the same time having enough support.
Yoga mats are made of different materials which have different properties. These are the most important:
PVC: The most common yoga mat is made of the plastic PVC: a sticky, light and durable plastic that is easy to roll and does not crumble.
Very durable (a lifespan longer than 10 years) and with good grip. Easy to maintain and resistant to all conditions: clean with water and a grease-free soap. Suitable for all yoga styles.
TPE: Free of harmful substances and 100% biodegradable: ecomats. Lifespan is about 5 years. The mat is quite soft, has good grip and is easy to carry. Mainly suitable for Yin and Hatha yoga, or Pilates.
Rubber: Lifespan is about 5 years. This material is naturally stiffer than PVC. Rubber yoga mats are slightly heavier than PVC and remain very stable without curling up. Requires a little more maintenance: clean with water and vinegar. This mat is suitable for Hatha, Iyengar, Ashtanga and power yoga.
A yoga mat provides grip on both sides: at the bottom to prevent slipping on the floor and at the top to prevent slipping during yoga postures.
Yoga mats offer grip through a combination of material and texture. Natural rubber mats generally offer the best grip, even when perspiring. In addition, many mats have a ribbed texture in the upper layer, which gives extra grip.
The latest generation of rubber yoga mats, such as the Manduka GRP and Liforme, have ‘dry-grip technology’, which ensures that no moisture stays on the mat, so you’re always assured of the best grip, even with heavy perspiration!
5. Colours & motifs
Yoga mats are available in all colours of the rainbow! They are poured from a liquid state and can be mixed with dye.
So you can choose a colour that suits your own taste or interior. Yoga mats made of natural rubber are also available in different colours.
There are also yoga mats with ‘Alignment Print’, a minimalist line pattern on the yoga mat that helps you to check whether you are straight and symmetrical in yoga postures. This can be found, for example, on the Liforme yoga mat.
Yoga mats are available anywhere from $20 to $100.
It is recommended to focus on quality and the feel-good factor when purchasing. Especially if yoga is your passion, it’s a shame to want to save a few euros on this most basic essential.
On the other hand, if you’re a beginner you may want to try out a mat and see if it’s something you would like to do on a more regular basis. Expensive mats may come with perks from their manufacturers, such as quality guarantees or easy replacements if the quality of your yoga mat deteriorates.
A sticky PVC yoga mat is the best choice for beginners and, because of the excellent price/quality ratio, also a great choice for people who don’t want to spend too much money.
The mats are usually 4mm thick which gives sufficient insulation, and at the same time a good stability for e.g. balance exercises. You’ve got them in fun, sparkling colors and motifs.
I have a PVC mat that’s purple with apple blue-green dots. It was about 35-40 dollars. I’m saving for a Manduka PRO which costs a good 120 dollars. A yogamat for life 😉
Did you enjoy reading this article? Let me know which yoga mat has your preference!
With love ❤,