A yoga mat is essential for practicing yoga postures.
For the vast majority of movement-based yoga classes, you’ll need your own sticky yoga mat. Unless you’re attending a meditation class or restorative yoga class, a quality yoga mat is a must. Make sure the yoga mat you use is not slippery nor too thick for safety reasons (read on for more). There are many beautiful, earth-friendly yoga mats or green mats out there to pick from, and it is likely that a good mat is the only yoga equipment you’ll need for class!
So are you wondering how to choose a good yoga mat? There are a few things to consider when you are trying to choose a good yoga mat, but the first is an important one to consider and that is how much money you can spend on your mat.
This is probably the most influential factor when selecting a yoga mat. How much money are you willing to or can you invest in this critical piece of equipment is something to consider. You don’t have to spend a ton of money when selecting a good yoga mat, but know that most cheap mats will not be sufficient if you plan to practice for the long-term.
Yoga is such a minimal equipment practice, however, having a quality mat can change things significantly. So consider the following and know that in many cases, the more money spent on a mat, the better the quality. Not always, but most of the time this is the case. Also, many larger brands stand behind their products and may offer a limited time warranty or replacement option.
An average yoga mat that is found in an average store will yield an average-stickiness mat. Think about this, the longer you hold the pose downward-facing dog, the more you’ll realize how important it is to choose a good yoga mat that is sticky because it can really support this yoga pose, especially if you tend to get sweaty hands or feet. The stickiness makes it easier to get into and hold poses, which builds skill and confidence. Be sure to read the description (and reviews!) to make sure the mat is sticky.
In most cases, you do NOT want a thick, squishy mat. I once had a student bring a thick athletic mat to class. I kindly asked them to use caution and to bring a yoga mat the next time. Why this disclaimer before class? Well, not only were they slipping and sliding all over the place while trying to hold Warrior 2, but they nearly fell during a transition from one pose to the next. I (tactfully) asked them to do the rest of the standing postures on the floor to maintain safety. An exception to this “thickness rule” would be purchasing a slightly thicker YOGA mat. Many people have sensitive knees, especially in kneeling positions, so yoga mat companies will offer upwards of 8mm to support the joints.
To avoid your mat from slipping all over the floor in a yoga class (see above), a heavier weighted mat keeps it pinned down. This lends to very secure footing.
Looking for a yoga mat for tall people? It’s a thing!
As a taller woman, I’ll never forget the day I invested in a long yoga mat. I felt sooooo much freedom. My feet and my hands never touched the edge. I had room to move and breathe! So, if you’re on the taller side, and you have the budget, consider finding a long yoga mat. A real game changer in my personal opinion!
While working on mindfulness and integration in our own minds and bodies, why not support this in our purchasing practices?
I know that the cost of certain earth-friendly mats/green mats can be a limiting factor, so please don’t burden yourself with thinking you have to purchase an earth-friendly yoga mat to practice (esp. If you can’t afford this). But, if you are in the place where you can invest in a nice mat, consider purchasing an eco-friendly mat. Natural rubber, non-toxic, in compliance with environmental laws and containing no PVCs are all attributes of green yoga mats.
Ok and now for brands of mats. The best yoga mat brand is going to be subjective, but my top 2 brands for mats are Jade Yoga (they plant trees with each purchase) and Manduka (long mats for the win!), hands-down!
Either Google to find those two brands or even consider purchasing your next mat from a small business – your local yoga studio! Many studios will carry these quality mats and you can even feel them before purchasing!
Want to get access to my free yoga for beginner’s guide? Click here to get my free eBook: Beginner’s Guide: How to Prepare for Your First Yoga Class Online or In Person more info on how to choose a good mat and more!