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How to Choose the Best Yoga Mat for You

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One of the most important tools needed for yoga is the yoga mat. And yoga mats have come a long way. Besides a variety of colors and patterns to choose from, now yoga mats are advanced with non-slip/sweat and moisture resistant materials, are more lightweight, easy to travel with and/or have extra padding.

No matter what you’re looking for in a yoga mat, there are various factors to consider when shopping for the best yoga mat. Remember that a lot can vary from the $5.99 mats at your local discount store and the $100 plus mats on Amazon.

Here are five things to look for when in the market for a new and improved yoga mat so you can have a more enjoyable yoga experience in 2017.


1. Material

Today, yoga mats are made with various types of material to better enhance your yoga experience. There are newer organic options, such as natural or recycled rubber, organic cotton, bamboo, cork, hemp, jute and other ecofriendly and biodegradable material. Whatever material you choose impacts the mat’s texture, overall comfort and durability, so do your research to see what material best suits your yoga needs. Eco friendly yoga mats include: Envyos Athletics Seapo Mat, Onnit Multi-Mat and Dragonfly Yoga TPE Lite Mat.


2. Portability

If you walk to yoga class or enjoy yoga on the road, it’s important to consider the portability of your yoga mat. You’ll need one that is easy to carry around or pack on your trips along with your yoga pants. Good brands for light weight mats include: Wai Lana’s Yogi Mat, Gaiam Reversible Travel Yoga Mat and YOGO Ultralight Travel Mat.


3. Padding

What kind of support do you want from your mat? Yoga mats vary in thickness, as the thicker mats measure at 1/4 inch thickness, while the standard mat is 1/8 inch thick. The more padding you have in your mat, the less stability you’ll have when doing balance poses. However, if you suffer from pain in your knees, a thicker mat may be the solution. Good brands for mats with ample padding include: Hugger Mugger Para Rubber Mat, Lululemon Reversible Mat and Calyana Professional Yoga Mat.


4. Texture

The last thing you want is a yoga mat with no traction, leaving you slipping and sliding through your poses. Worse, you could injure yourself with a mat that you have a hard time gripping. With that said, what is the best texture for you? If you need traction with your yoga mat, consider looking for a yoga mat with raised bumps, such as Jade Fusion Yoga Mat. If you want less stickiness, stay clear of PVC mats and consider looking into mats that use organic materials, such as the Manduka eKO Yoga Mat. In fact, most eco-friendly mats can give you traction without the added stickiness.

If you’re not sure what texture you like, don’t be afraid to test out different mats to find the texture that best supports you.


5. Longevity

When taking overall quality into account, consider the longevity of the mat. For instance, if you’re a diehard yogi, practicing one to three times a week, you’ll need a yoga mat that will last with your workout schedule. Not all yoga mats are created equal, so read user reviews. Good yoga mat brands that have longer lifespans include: Gaiam Print Premium, Manduka and Jade Harmony.

Finally, when choosing a new yoga mat, take into consideration the type of yoga you regularly practice. If you’re a regular bikram yoga attendee, you’ll need a mat that is not only durable in hot conditions, but that can quickly absorb moisture. If you’re an advanced yogi, you might need a mat with better gripping material to help you keep your balance in difficult poses.

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