What You Need To Know About Yoga Mats
Yoga is a great way to get in shape, get stress relief, meditate and have fun. But how do you know what yoga mat to choose when you first start? It’s easy to go to your local sports store and buy a yoga mat; these usually have the same basic setup as at the gym. You will find that each has its own specific purpose and some may suit certain types of yoga better than others.
Thickness is important when you’re doing poses that involve your legs, as you will need support. Most yoga mats are measured in millimeters or inches and are usually described in terms of their thickness. They are also categorised into standard, light, medium or ultralight.
Cotton is the most common material used for yoga mats as it is very soft and comfortable to stand on. However, it doesn’t absorb much moisture and can wear out quickly if it is not taken care of. A lot of cotton yoga mats are made with a blend of cotton and polypropylene, which make it more durable. They come in a wide range of weights and are available in a variety of thicknesses. When you’re looking for a comfortable, soft, thick layer of cotton, try to find one that uses a combination of 100% cotton and polypropylene copolymer to give maximum absorbency and ultimate comfort.
Vinyl is another popular mat material because it is very durable and a thick enough layer to provide support. However, they are very thick and can cause blisters if you are walking a lot or doing a lot of bending. They are available in both thick and thin versions and are usually very good at absorbing moisture and preventing heat conduction from the top of the mat to the bottom. Yoga practitioners who practice seated yoga should try to find one with a quarter inch thickness and large holes for the feet.
Yoga mat vinyls are a little thicker than cotton yoga mats and also have the advantage of being more breathable than the former. However, they are not as soft and silky as the former. Some manufacturers use a combination of various synthetic fibres such as nylon and Lycra, which makes them appear thicker than they actually are. The holes on thick mats allow for air flow, which can be beneficial during sweaty yoga sessions.
Memory foam and latex mats are popular options for practicing yoga as these provide a firm, cushy surface for beginners and advanced practitioners alike. Most yoga teachers prefer to go for memory foam yoga mats because they are very supportive and comfortable. They come in several densities to suit all levels of practice. Memory foam mats mould to the shape of your body as you stretch thus reducing the occurrence of unwanted slip. There are no springs in this type of yoga mat and hence they are considered ideal for practicing Bikram yoga, which is essentially a set of intricate yoga postures. However, this type of sticky mat is not recommended for pregnant women and children as it may cause suffocation.
People usually opt for either rubber or vinyl mats for practicing yoga in class. Rubber mats are a very good choice for a studio because they give a very sticky feel and most participants love sticking to them. However, these mats do not have the grooves that are present on thicker mats making them less rigid. In order to achieve a proper grip, many instructors prefer to use thick-gauge sticks for the purpose. The thicker sticks are more sticky and can help decrease the occurrence of slip on the mat.
Non-toxic rubber mats are available in various thicknesses to suit the needs of different classes. They are available in plain colours and even have the option of having a glittering top layer. It is important to make sure the mat is completely dry before proceeding to use it again during the yoga session. Yoga teachers should always make sure that the mat is always dry to avoid slipping and falling.