If you enjoy practicing yoga, then you will probably find that a yoga mat enhances the experience. A yoga mat gives you a comfortable resting place for your body, and also helps to define your exclusive space for doing yoga.
When you go to purchase a yoga mat, there are a number of things that you should look for, including:
- Check the dimensions of the mat – it should be long and wide enough for your whole body
- The mat needs to be comfortable in all positions, including standing, sitting or lying down
- It’s helpful it the mat is made of an absorbent fabric, to help absorb some perspiration
- The mat needs to be non-slip, so you can maintain balance and stability. Cotton is good if you wear socks, or leather if you don’t
- If possible, the mat should be easy to transport
- Easy to maintain
There are also different types of yoga mats available that cater for particular branches of yoga. Here are some of the main options:
The Cotton Mat
This has been the most popular yoga mat option for a while, with good reason. Cotton is capable of soaking up a high percentage of perspiration, giving it a cooling effect. This makes it easier to practice yoga for an extended period of time without discomfort.
The Sticky Mat
This is a great choice if you plan to practice Power Yoga, which requires lots of bending, sliding and stretching. A sticky mat means you can achieve the various postures required without losing your balance or slipping. It will stay in place while you go through your fast-paced asanas, and is quite thin.
Ultra Double Thickness Mat
This is basically just another variety of sticky mat, but it’s thick because it’s double padded. This gives a cushioning effect when you’re practicing yoga. It’s certainly very comfortable to use, but can be inconvenient to transport because of its bulk and fabric. Generally these are used for yoga classes, but they can also be beneficial if you have a weak back, elbows or knees.
If you need to transport your yoga mat easily, then this is probably the best option for you. A travel mat is easily foldable because it’s so thin, and you can even tuck one into the corner of a suitcase if you need to. They’re not very comfortable, so probably aren’t the best option if you plan to use them for a prolonged period.
If you’re more interested in the meditation elements of yoga, including breathing control, then a meditation mat is for you. These help you to get into a relaxed, meditative mood, and include a pillow to give you added comfort and assist you in relaxing.
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