Thinking of buying a yoga mat? Here’s what you need to consider first…
When it comes to buying a yoga mat, it really comes down to preference, but there are some important factors that you should consider before making your decision.
For example, what material do you want your yoga mat to be made of? Do you care if it is eco-friendly? Do you want it to be sticky, or easy to clean? How much padding do you like?
Here is a breakdown from Reviews.com of several considerations to keep in mind when buying a yoga mat:
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): This is the stuff that keeps slippage to a minimum, is durable, and provides the most “give.” A concern with PVC, without going into too much detail, is that it contains phthalates — substances that have been linked to health issues and negative impacts on the environment.
- Eco-Friendly Options:
* Cotton: A cotton mat helps to absorb sweat and can increase grip when wet, but doesn’t provide a lot of give.
* Recycled, natural rubber: It may not be as sticky as a PVC mat, but will still provide great grip. Those with a latex allergy, however, will want to avoid this type of mat.
* Jute: Made from fiber of a jute plant, this stuff keeps you in place due to Polymer Environmental Resin (PER), a nontoxic material. Jute has the added bonus of having antimicrobial properties for those extra-sweaty practices.
* Bamboo, cork, and hemp: These are some other natural fiber mats to consider.
Open- Versus Closed-Cell Structure:
There are two other factors to consider when it comes to mat material: closed-cell and open-cell structure. Open-cell mats absorb sweat and oils, which keeps grip even under wet conditions. This, however, also makes your mat harder to clean. Closed- cell mats don’t absorb moisture, which makes these great for cleanliness, but also makes slipping easier.
Density, Thickness, & Weight:
The density of a mat will determine your comfort level, the support of joints, and stability in balancing poses. If a mat is too thin, kneeling poses may not be comfortable. But if a mat has too much cushion and not enough density, the connection to the earth may be lost; balance poses may feel unstable; and wrists, knees, and hip joints may be distressed. Generally, the thickness of a mat ranges from 1/16 to 1/4 of an inch thick. The thickness and density of the mat determines its weight, and weight of a yoga mat can be under two pounds (making it easy to trek and travel with) and upward of 10 pounds.
Like many other things, you’re going to get what you pay for, and this certainly applies to yoga mats. The price of yoga mats range from $10 to over $100, which is a considerably wide margin. The lower price range can typically be found in big-name department stores, but it means you probably won’t be investing in a reliable, quality mat. The price tag increases with brand name and materials used. Just know that a quality mat is well worth the investment.
Here are a few of the top-rated yoga mats from Amazon.com: