Choosing the right yoga mat is important because it can affect your comfort, stability and safety during practice. A proper yoga mat can provide cushioning for your joints, a no-slip surface to help prevent injuries and a durable material that can withstand frequent use.
By investing in a high-quality yoga mat and properly maintaining it, you cultivate a mindset that enhances your yoga practice. Your mat becomes a sacred space where you're fully present and ready to practice, without requiring a fancy boho room. With just your yoga mat, you can immerse yourself in the present moment and deepen your practice.
HOW DO I FIGURE OUT WHICH YOGA MAT IS BEST FOR ME?
With the vast array of yoga mat brands and styles available, it can be overwhelming to determine the best fit for you. To help make an informed decision, here are some key factors to consider when selecting a yoga mat.
Yoga mats are typically made from materials like rubber, PVC, cork, or TPE. Each material has its own benefits and drawbacks. For example, rubber mats offer excellent grip, while PVC mats are durable and affordable. Consider which material best suits your needs.
The thickness of a yoga mat can affect how comfortable it is to practice on. Thicker mats offer more cushioning and support, but may be heavier and less portable. Thinner mats are more lightweight and portable, but may not provide as much cushioning. Consider how much cushioning you need and how important portability is to you.
The texture of a yoga mat can affect how well you can grip it. Mats with a rougher texture provide better grip. Mats with a smoother texture may be slightly more comfortable, but will not offer as much grip. Consider the level of grip you require, particularly if you frequently practice hot yoga or have excessively sweaty hands and feet. Insufficient grip can impact your ability to perform certain poses effectively.
Yoga mats come in a variety of sizes. However, taller individuals may need a longer mat, and those who prefer more space may want a wider mat. Consider your height and how much space you need to practice comfortably.
The price of a yoga mat can vary widely, from less than $20 to over $100. Consider how much you're willing to invest and what features are most important to you. Keep in mind that a higher price doesn't always mean better quality.
If environmental sustainability is important to you, consider a mat made from sustainable materials, such as natural rubber or cork. Some mats are also biodegradable or made from recycled materials. While sustainability is important, it's essential to prioritize the factors that are most relevant to your practice when choosing a yoga mat. It's worth noting that some sustainable materials may not excel in the above factors, so it's important to weigh your options carefully.
Scroll down for my personal top recommendations and tips to clean your mat!
MY PERSONAL FAVOURITES
To simplify your decision-making process, I've listed my two personal favorite yoga mat brands below along with the reasons for my recommendations. Keep in mind that your preferences may differ, so consider all the factors mentioned above to find the yoga mat that best suits your needs and elevates your practice.
In my opinion, this brand is the ultimate choice for a yoga mat. Their mats offer unparalleled grip and texture, without sacrificing comfort. They have a wide range of options, including lightweight travel mats, sustainable cork mats (with less grip), and long mats for taller individuals. Their durability is outstanding - I've had mine for six years with constant use, and it's only now starting to show wear. Their mats come in a wide variety of colours to choose from, but keep in mind that brighter and lighter colors tend to show dirt and footprints over time, so it may not be the best colour option for long-term use. The BMAT Strong, with its 6mm thickness, is my favorite. The only downside is that it can take a while to dry after washing, so you may need to invest in a second mat to rotate between washes. The higher price point may be a con for some, but it's definitely worth the investment if you practice yoga frequently.
My second favorite option would be this brand, which offers great grip and texture at a more affordable price point; however they do not match up with the BMAT grip and texture. They come in different thicknesses, but I recommend 6mm for joint protection. They have a range of colors and styles, as well as cork or natural rubber options for sustainability. Their alignment mat, with markings to help you stay centered in poses, is a popular choice in studios. You can also find them easily at places like Costco, Amazon, or their website. They've really thought of everything.
CLEANING YOUR YOGA MAT
To keep your yoga mat fresh and clean, it's best to give it a monthly deep clean. Simply fill a tub with water, add a small amount of soap or dish soap, scrub your mat, rinse it thoroughly, and hang it to dry. Keep in mind that some mats absorb more water than others, so be sure to give your mat enough time to dry before your next yoga session.
It's also a good idea to clean the mat regularly, ideally after every use, to prevent buildup of sweat, dirt, and bacteria. To do a light clean a yoga mat you can start by using a mixture of water and vinegar (1:1 ratio) or a mild soap solution. Enhance the aroma of your yoga mat by adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil such as lavender or tea tree oil, which has antibacterial properties. Spray or wipe the solution onto the mat and then use a clean cloth to gently scrub the surface.
Avoid using harsh chemicals or a washing machine, as these can damage the mat.