Choosing a Yoga Mat

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Yoga is a healthy practice for the mind, spirit and body, but before you take it up, you need to acquire some yoga equipment to make yourself more comfortable. Special yoga clothing is not necessary and anything loose fitting will do. Other yoga tools such as belts and blocks are optional, but any yoga studio that is worth visiting will provide them for their guests. One thing that is necessary is a good yoga mat. These are often provided by yoga studios too, but because yoga is quite strenuous and makes you sweat, for the sake of cleanliness, purchase your own mat. There are many different yoga mats available. How to pick the right one requires a little consideration.

Step 1: Consider the Material

The first priority you should have when buying a yoga mat is finding the right material. Many yoga mats are made from rubbery plastic or other types of synthetic materials. Others are made from bamboo. Which you choose is not just a matter of taste, though. Some of the synthetic yoga mats emit a chemical odor when rolled out. That is the last thing you want to breathe in when you are in the middle of your yoga routine. Selecting a yoga mat made in accordance with environmental standards is another way to avoid mats made with harsh chemicals.

Plastic yoga mats might also cause your feet to stick to it as you move through the stretches. Depending on your level of workout, you may sweat quite a bit. Neither this nor the chemical odor is a problem with bamboo or other naturally-made mats. A non-slip surface is important on a yoga mat, but you don’t want your feet to stick too much.

Step 2: Consider the Size

This is a fairly easy consideration to make, as most yoga mats come in one size. If you are taller than average, your stretched-out body may not fit on a normal size mat. In that case, look for one that is longer.

Step 3: Consider the Features

Inexpensive yoga mats are sold rolled up with a strap and piece of Velcro at most to hold it tightly together. Alternatives to carrying and storing your yoga mat include adjustable mesh bags, heftier cords and bags with shoulder straps. If you ride your bike or walk to the yoga studio, keeping your hands free might be necessary. Other features include reversibility, extra padding for added comfort, mats that come with an illustrated posture map and mats with attractive designs.

Step 4: Consider the Price

The most expensive yoga mats won’t cost much more than $30 or $40. However, if you purchase it from a trendy yoga studio, that might not be the case. You can usually find a wide variety of yoga mats at your local mall or the large box stores. For specialty yoga mats, you may have to venture into boutiques or yoga studios that have a gift shop attached.

Choosing the right yoga mat is a matter of considering the material, the size you need, its features and its price. Depending on how much you want to spend and what type of mat you desire, there are a great many varieties of yoga mat available for purchase.