Is It Worth Trying A Yoga Towel For Hot Yoga
Another option is to use a yoga towel . These can help to keep your mat fresh and avoid the wear and tear of sweat, especially if you’re investing in a pricey number. One thing to bear in mind is that they are not as grippy as the mat itself so you may need to work out whether grip or a fresh, smelling mat is more important for your own practice.
Four: Other Buying Considerations
While the information above roughly covers everything you should know before buying a mat for yoga, there are still a few things that we have to get out of the way:
- If youre short on space, you want to look for a mat thats easy to roll up and store. Naturally, if your mat is super thick, you might have trouble doing so. However, there are mats with secure straps that can hold the mat rolled up in storage.
- ; Speaking of straps, theyre something you want to have if you want a mat you can take with you to a yoga class or on your travels. You should be able to find yoga mat models that come with adjustable Velcro straps that allow you to throw it on your shoulder and be on your way.
- Establish and budget and try to stick to it, because a mat can cost anything between $10 to hundreds of dollars. Naturally, a $10 mat is probably made of plastic, has no cushioning, and emits a strange chemical-like smell. Rubber mats are more expensive, but theyre also eco-friendly and safe for you to use.
How To Clean Your Yoga Mat
How regularly and how thoroughly you clean your yoga mat will depend on how often and how intensely you practice. For most people, its enough to clean your yoga mat once a week. This keeps stains at bay and prevents the build-up of bacteria and dirt. Follow manufacturers guidelines where given, and choose natural cleansers like lemon juice, dilute vinegar solution, or non-toxic dish soap to clean your mat.
Between practices, be sure to wipe away any excess moisture and let your mat air dry before storing it away. Avoid putting the mat in direct sun or hot temperatures though. UV exposure can speed up degradation, whatever your mat is made of. PVC, rubber, TPE, and PER mats can become flaky, brittle, and extra toxic if exposed to high heat and direct sunlight.;
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Size And Shape Of The Mat
Another key thing to consider is the size and shape of the mat. This will be a crucial factor, no matter what kind of yoga exercise you plan on doing. Some people do much practicing yoga in their cars, while others like to do it outside. When it comes to yoga on the road, you want a flexible mat that is easy to fold and store, so it can easily fit in your car or bag. The best travel yoga mats have a contoured shape, so theyre easy to use and fold.
Consider Buying From Ethical Companies And Supporting Small Business
Yoga is as much about building a healthy body and mind as it is about building community. And during this time of pandemic when weve been told to stay indoors many businesses have shut their doors. COVID-19, unfortunately, will affect many small businesses.
As a small business, it pains us to say these words. Times are inevitably tough right now, and the best thing we can all do is support each other. That means buying local. It means working with companies who develop ethical products that are good for the world. It means keeping people employed.
Were not here to preach that you should buy exclusively from us. You must do as you choose. What we are here to say, though, is this: When it comes to purchasing a yoga mat, we recommend finding an ethical small business to buy from. Not only are you helping them stay in business, but youll likely receive a higher level of service, a better-quality product, and you might even become part of a community along the way.
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Best Splurge: Liforme Original Yoga Mat
Another one of Beltchenkos picks, this is pricey, yes, but has a slew of features that justify the price. Longer and wider than many others, it gives you plenty of space to practice, plus alignment markers that are great for beginners or to help experts nail more challenging poses. The material is also super grippy, ensuring hands and feet stay put even when the mat gets sweaty, and its made of eco-friendly material as well.
What Type Of Yoga Are You Practicing
If youre practicing Hatha yoga or Yin yoga, youll be okay with a more standard mat it doesnt have to be of highest quality. Youre not necessarily getting sweaty with these styles of yoga, so the traction an average mat provides will be just fine.;If you practice Ashtanga, Vinyasa, or Hot Yoga, then youll need to invest in a mat that will absorb your sweat and will provide super-strong traction. You can also look into adding a textured yoga towel on top of your mat.;;
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Yoga Mat Cleaning & Care
Even if your yoga mat is advertised as antimicrobial, dont forget to give it a good rub every so often. This will keep bacteria and funky smell at bay.
It feels weird even to mention this but… dont wait until your yoga mat gives off bad smell or shows stains to clean it.
Taking good care of your yoga mat will also prolong its lifespan.
You can do a quick clean after every yoga class. To do that, simply wipe your yoga mat with a damp cloth or use water with a vinegar solution. There are also lots of ready-made commercial sprays that kill bacteria and make your mat smell amazing.
You might try adding essential oil, such as tea tree or lavender oil, to make a DIY cleaning solution. Though, some manufacturers who use open-cell technology when producing their mats warn against this practice. Oils may clog the pores of the material, give off a strong smell for the first few days, stain the mat and make it less sticky.
Every so often, give your mat a deeper clean. You can either wipe it with a baking soda solution or submerge it into the bath with a bit of gentle soap. Dont get too generous with the soap, though, as some mats may absorb it and get extremely slippery for the next couple of yoga sessions.
Some yoga mats can even be washed in the washing machine. But make sure to check the manufacturers cleaning instructions on the temperature some materials can break at higher temperatures.
Mat Texture And Stickiness
PVC mats tend to be smoother and provide good grip, while eco-friendly mats made with natural materials like jute can feel rougher on the skin. Stickiness helps keep you stable in your poses and when you transition between poses.;
In general, PVC mats are best for stickiness, if theyre clean and dry. If you want to prioritize eco-friendliness but still want some traction, opt for a jute, rubber, or cotton mat that has been deliberately given a raised, tactile surface profile. These mats can help give you extra grip without the stickiness of PVC. If you find textured mats distracting to your practice, consider an organic cotton or rubber mat without the textured surface.
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Why Choose A Non
Now, you might be wondering why should you choose a chemical-free yoga mat for your regular yoga practice.
In recent years, the yoga industry has seen a huge boom which has resulted in the increased production of yoga mats. Sadly, most of these yoga mats are made from cheap materials such as PVC, TPE, etc., which have a harmful effect on your health.
Generally, the manufacturers create the mats with metal dyes and yoga mat chemicals that are toxic to your body and then sell them for dirt cheap prices. But your health pays the price for this toxicity, which is the last thing you want when you practice yoga.
PVC is the most commonly used material in cheap yoga mats and is the most toxic plastic on earth. This is why it is important to choose a toxic-free yoga mat made from natural materials.
If you do yoga to recover from an injury or disease, then you should find a chemical-free yoga mat that is good for your health and the environment.
This should be particularly kept in mind when you are pregnant too. Why? Because these cheap mats have hormone-disrupting chemicals, they can have an adverse effect on you and your baby.
For getting back in shape or if you have a respiratory issue, choosing a non-toxic yoga mat is a must. We end up spending a lot of time doing breathing exercises or face down on our yoga mat so, you dont want to be breathing in the wrong materials.
Why Choose A Yoga Mat
At first glance, it may seem like a strange question. After all, for a newbie, a yoga mat looks like a rubber rag to throw on the floor. So why should it matter the material, size, thickness and whats printed on it?
When you will bring yoga into your life, you will be spending a lot of time on your yoga mat. So, the happier you are with the look and feel of your yoga mat, the more often you will want to practice yoga. The more you practice yoga, the greater the benefits.
The type of yoga mat will depend on what kind of yoga you are planning to do and where you are going to do it. For outdoor practice, you will need something durable and easy to clean.
For a yoga session on a stony beach, look for a yoga mat with more cushioning. The thickest yoga mat I could find from natural material is a 6mm cork/natural rubber yoga mat. For a yoga session in the park, a cotton yoga mat is easy to clean.
To get the postures right, you could get an alignment yoga mat with special markings. The popular yoga mat is Liforme Original Yoga Mat.
During yoga, you are likely to be barefoot and wear light clothing. So to keep you warm on a cold floor you need to consider the material and thickness of your yoga mat. Aside from insulation, you also want your yoga mat to be comfortable and have a good grip.
You may also want a yoga mat that is made from natural, non-toxic material from sustainable and environment-friendly sources.;
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Pay Attention To The Material
Most yoga mats, especially the inexpensive ones, are made of PVC, which is not the most eco-friendly option. PVC is not biodegradable, which means the mat might last a bit longer, but its not environmentally friendly. You might consider jute, recycled or natural rubber, or even organic cotton when looking into the materials of your new mat.;Make sure that toxic glues were not used in the production process. You dont want any nasty metals, such as cadmium or lead in your mat. Yoga mat brands disclose these details, so check everything before you buy.;Note that youll want to avoid natural-rubber mats if youre allergic to latex. Go for a different natural material, such as jute or cotton.;;
How To Choose A Yoga Mat Design
You can find yoga mats in a variety of designs.; They come in different shapes, colours and prints. Yoga mats designs can be aesthetic and even practical. A yoga mat can be round or rectangular and you can pick a yoga mat colour when placing an order. Some sellers will allow you to print your name or choose an affirmation.;
Some yoga mats have posture sequences and others have grid lines to help you get into correct postural alignment or keep track of your progress.
As a beginner, a printed sequence of poses can be your reminder of what to do next. A printed affirmation will come to your mind every time you face the mat. A printed name is nice personalisation, so it doesnt get mixed with other yoga mats in your class. A mandala, chakra or other symbolic prints can strengthen your focus if you strongly believe in their meaning.
My personal favourites are the alignment mats. Sure, they may not be as exciting and colourful, but they are very useful, particularly for beginners.;
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Toxic Yoga Mat Materials
In this section, I will discuss a few toxic yoga mat materials that you should avoid buying:
PVC or Polyvinyl Chloride is a highly toxic plastic. Although it offers good stickiness, durability, and is easy to maintain, it is harmful to your body.
PVC toxicity can often lead to serious diseases, which is why it is not recommended for people with respiratory issues or women who are pregnant.
Moreover, it is non-biodegradable and harmful to the environment.
PER or Polymer Environmental Resin yoga mats are also toxic. PER is made from PVC yoga mat toxic material, but due to an extra processing step, it is a little less toxic than PVC.
But it is still not the best solution for your health and the environment.
TPE yoga mats are slightly less toxic yoga mats that exhibit the property of both rubber and plastic.
TPE can be easily recycled. However, it is still a synthetic material and, as such, more dangerous and not as environment-friendly as natural materials.
Ethylene-vinyl acetate or EVA yoga mats are also toxic in nature as they are made of plastic. EVA contains chemicals, has a bad odor, and can release carcinogenic toxins.
A Lightweight Yoga Mat Would Work Good
Do you travel a lot? If so, you must get a lightweight mat for yourself that you can easily transport from one place to the other.
However, if you do your yoga activity at home in one place, then you do not really need a lightweight yoga mat. Experts claim that lighter yoga mats make you feel lighter, so it is good if you get a lighter weight one both ways!
However, do not regret if you end up getting a slightly heavier mat while you had no other options available. This point number 4 is not a MUST but an option for all those searching for the best yoga mat.
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What To Look For When Buying A Yoga Mat
If youve been doing yoga for a while, you might need a new mat to up your game. If youre a newcomer, you might not know where to start with the yoga mat. While a pretty looking yoga mat is half the battle, youll also need to pay attention to elements that will make your practice a lot more comfortable.
Are you buying your first, second, or 100th yoga mat? We compiled a few pointers to make buying your next yoga mat a breeze.
One of the most important factors to consider when buying a mat is the stickiness. If you have a yoga instructor you regularly see, ask them if they have any recommendations that can help you make your choice. If you choose to buy online and you see reviews saying your intended yoga mat is slippery, stay away from making the purchase, especially if youre a newcomer or dont want to buy grip socks in addition to your yoga mat. The surface of the mat is integral, especially where you intend to practice fast-paced yoga.
An average yoga mat is ¼ thick, and your choice should be based on your needs. Some people opt for thinner mats because its much easier to roll them up and travel with them. If you have sensitive joints, go for a thicker mat. Because its often plush and offers a bit more comfort and balance, most students go for thick mats. If youre just starting out and not sure what will be most appropriate for you, a ¼ mat is more than ideal.
For The Advanced Yogi
Youve come a long way in your practice, and youre darn proud of it, too. You cant imagine your life without yoga. You impress your friends with peacock poses, but mostly, you love encouraging them to get started on their own yoga journey.;
If youre ready to retire your old one, consider a new yoga mat that is:
- Thinner to keep you steadier in your balance practice
- Extra sticky
Yoga, for you, is not going anywhere, and you want a mat that will stand the test of time alongside you.;
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Hop On The Mat With Bis
At BÉIS, we like to keep things balanced. Were professional packers, thats true. But were also fellow yoga enthusiasts. So, what do you get when you combine the two?
A balanced, traveling yoga mat.
Like most of our bags and travel accessories, its functional and super stylish. We think it could be the perfect companion for your next trip abroad or for practicing at home with your friends and fur babies if you want to take the step and learn how to stay fit while traveling. Make sure that you have the gym bag essentials for women. Whatever your mat preferences may be, whats most important is taking care of your body in a way thats right for you.;;
Frolic and flow with BÉIS. Well see you on the mat!