The work-from-home trend is catching on, and remote workers have had to greatly adjust their lifestyles. For starters, it hasn’t been easy to deal with the distracting home environment. From noisy kids and neighbors to friends who show up unannounced, it can be difficult to focus while working. Another issue has been the health concerns and social life of remote workers. Lack of proper planning and scheduling can leave you with no time for any physical activity. This could lead to risks associated with living a sedentary lifestyle, including weight gain, heart conditions, depression, high blood pressure, and diabetes. That’s why a home gym is an essential part of a work-from-home routine, and the yoga mat is a must-have. But, choosing the best yoga mat can be a daunting task. Our guide makes your shopping experiencing less frustrating by sharing some tips on how to choose the best yoga mats.
Type of Material Used
The right material must be of the right texture, sponginess, and stickiness. You also want a durable material that will give you years of service before it wears out. Most standard yoga mats are made of PVC, also known as vinyl. It’s a good material, but not eco-friendly. If you prefer a more earth-friendly yoga mat, opt for those made from natural and recycled rubber, jute, natural cotton, or organic cotton. These materials are not treated with synthetic finishes during manufacturing.
Points to note: if you’re allergic to latex, you’ll want to avoid yoga mats made from natural rubber. The tried and tested sticky mat made of PVC is a great option that can endure frequent use for a long time.
Consider the Thickness and Weight
A standard 1/8-inch yoga mat will work fine for most people. It’s strong enough and great for yoga practice. However, if you travel a lot and want to bring the yoga mat with you, we suggest getting thin and light mats, designed for portability. They pack down smaller, allowing you to easily tote them around in your luggage. The downside is that you’ll have to leave the comfort that thicker mats offer, behind.
Thicker mats are ideal for therapeutic and restorative practices since they are more comfortable in the forearm and kneeling poses for the slower and calmer practices.
Your Level of Yoga
Your level of yoga will determine the kind of mat you want. For beginners, who usually start practicing the basic yoga poses, require thicker mats with a good grip. You’ll probably be doing styles like Yin, Hatha, Prenatal, or Restorative a lot, which tend to focus on slower postures and being in contact with the floor a lot. Therefore, you’ll need a greater level of comfort. A mat of between 5-8mm thickness will help protect your joints.
If you’re in the intermediate level, you’ve been taking yoga classes for several months now and comfortably know your way around most basic yoga poses. You’ve leveled up your practice to medium intensity and engaging in sessions that work your muscles. You can still use the 5-8mm thick mat, but a better quality that can accommodate long hours of yoga practice.
When you’ve been practicing asana for quite some time now and have gotten stronger and more flexible, you’ve now entered the world of high-intensity yoga. You can take on more challenging poses, like Ashtanga and Bikram, with ease since you’ve become more flexible. These poses require a lot of stability and a thinner mat ranging between 1-5mm in thickness is ideal.
Price of the Mat
Typically, a standard 1/8-inch mat made of plain solid-color PVC sticky material will be toward the low end of the price. The price starts to increase with things like patterns, designs, logos, antimicrobial treatment, premium thickness, cool textures, etc.
Eco-friendly mats tend to be on the high end of the price. The yoga mat you choose will vary in price depending on your needs, level of yoga, and personal preferences and tastes. If you’re just starting to practice yoga, or don’t practice regularly, get an inexpensive mat from stores like Walmart or Target. Most will range from $10-$50 and will be available in a variety of styles and colors.
Some of the best yoga mats you can buy right now include:
Best for beginners – Gaiam 6mm Extra Thick Yoga Mat
Best for hot yoga – Manduka PROlite Yoga Mat
Best for hardwood floors – ProsourceFit Extra Thick Yoga and Pilates Mat
Best extra-thick yoga mat – Retrospec Solana 1-inch Thick Yoga Mat with Nylon Strap
Best non-slip yoga mat – Clever Yoga Yoga Mat Non Slip