This year’s must have: The yoga mat!

2014March06_YogaGeneral_AWhile a bad workman blames his tools, it has to be said that with the right yoga equipment can definitely improve your practice. Fitness experts agree that when starting out on a new fitness adventure it is crucial to have the right equipment. And whether you’re new to yoga or a seasoned practitioner, having a quality yoga mat can really make all the difference.

Avid yoga practitioners know how this style of exercise can improve their overall health. Many of them are sleeping better, are more relaxed, and get fewer colds. Yogis believe that practice “increases the flow of prana”, or life force. There are many types of yoga from the more strenuous, to the more relaxing and meditative. While yoga has been practiced for over 5,000 years, Western medicine is just discovering the health benefits of practicing yoga such as:

  •         Decreased stress

  •         Increased concentration

  •         Increased strength and stamina

  •         Improved posture

Starting a new exercise regimen such as yoga can be the start of an exciting new journey. You can experience a new way to get healthy and use  fabulous accessories such as yoga pants and yoga mats. Some people buy yoga mats by choosing their favorite color. This can be a mistake though as it’s not going to guarantee the right mat for you and you may find that you end up wishing you’d considered some other factors. When it comes to yoga mats, a little research can go a long way.

Good mats cost money

There are many mats that are marketed as being the best value. However, the bad news about cheap mats is that they don’t last very long. These mats can disintegrate after 2- 3 months and are usually made from plastic that absorbs smells, resulting in a somewhat rank mat. These aren’t good for your body or eco-friendly. High-end mats such as the Manduka Black Mat can cost a small fortune but they are so durable they do last a very long time. So in the end, you could be actually saving money.

Other good brand name yoga mats include Hugger Mugger and Jade Yoga which offer excellent mats that come in around the USD $50 to $70, which is the suggested price range for a top-quality mat.

What type of yoga will you be doing?

There are different types of yoga and mats to match as well. There are mats that are ideal for traveling, while some are specifically designed for yoga that makes you sweat buckets.There are those made from lightweight material, and mats that are eco-friendly. Know what type of yoga you will be doing and how much you will be perspiring. It is also best to avoid mats that are made for physical therapy, Pilates or cardio exercises. They can be made of out of slippery or squishy materials which can lead to an increased risk of injury.

Go for thick mats

There are many different poses involved in yoga and some of these involve lying down or sitting on the floor. Go for a thicker mat so that your bones are cushioned and protected from the floor’s hardness. Find a mat that is thick and dense but not too foamy or spongy as this can mold to the body, which is not ideal for movement.

It should be easy to clean

A clean mat is essential especially for those who practice yoga regularly. Remember that regular use of your yoga mat will make it sweaty, smelly, and dirty. A good mat should be easy to clean. Go for a mat that can be cleaned by spritzing it with a mixture of vinegar and water. It might also be able to withstand thorough cleaning, such as scrubbing or a cycle in the washing machine.

Make sure that the mat is thoroughly dry before using it. You can also dab some essential oil onto your mat to add a pleasant odour.

Before buying a yoga mat seek advice and ask other practitioners what they love or don’t like about their mats. Need advice on which yoga mat to get? We can offer you some good advice.

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