Top 3 Things to Look for in a Yoga Mat

August 27, 2014

What are the most important features to look for in a yoga mat?

yoga photo


If you’re shopping for a yoga mat you’ve probably realized that there are a lot of options available, and even more opinions about which is the best to buy.  It’s important to realize that everyone has different needs in a yoga mat because our bodies are all different, as are our priorities.  So while you should definitely take product reviews into account, don’t base your decision solely on the opinions of others because what works for one person may not work at all for you.  However, the good news is that there are some fundamental things to look for in a yoga mat that will ensure you get the most out of your practice and your dollars.

  1. Thickness.  Even if you’ve only spent an hour practicing yoga you know that the floor gets really hard and uncomfortable, really fast.  Finding the best thickness of a yoga mat for you is like Goldilocks finding a bed to sleep in; it needs to be just right.  Too thick and you’ll end up falling over from lack of contact with the floor, too thin and your mat might end up just collecting dust because you’re so uncomfortable that you won’t want to practice.  A standard mat is 1/8 of an inch thick.  A slightly thicker mat, like Pogamat XL, is great for reducing impact on your joints and giving you extra comfort so that you can hold poses longer.  Travel mats usually are a mere 1/16 of an inch so that they are light and easy to pack, but may not be best for your everyday use.
  2. Texture.  Let’s include stickiness in this category as they are closely related.  Having the right texture and amount of stickiness is one of the most important things to look for in a yoga mat because it will keep you safe, yet allow you to freely move between poses.  Particularly in hot yoga, or if you sweat a lot in general, because you don’t want to go sliding off your mat.  A sticky mat, often made from PVC, will give you the proper stability and help you maintain your alignment.  Some mats are textured with bumps or ridges, which also help keep you from sliding around, but could possibly interrupt your flow into poses.  A mat made from jute has a naturally rough texture, which can act the same way as ridges.  Texture may also affect your comfort and you may find that it aggravates you while you’re lying down.  Your best bet is to test one out if you can and see how it feels.
  3. Overall design.  You want a yoga mat that is the right size for you and that is stable.  A yoga mat with rounded corners won’t roll up from the edges during your practice.  And one that is larger will give you plenty of room to maneuver freely, so you won’t have to constantly stop and rearrange your mat.


Photo by Synergy by Jasmine

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