Yoga is a Hindu discipline or a system of exercises, which are aimed at promoting our ability to control the body and the mind. Today, yoga is considered a way to synchronize the body, mind, and the spirit, and thereby boost both mental and physical health. Yoga can not only restore mental and emotional stability by managing stress and anxiety, but can help control several physical disorders as well.
However, to practice the different types of yogas and experience their positive effects, you need a comfortable and durable mat. When choosing a yoga mat, you have to take many things into consideration, like cost, comfort, durability, and the material used in manufacturing the mat. It is better to go for a mat that is made with eco-friendly materials, and which does not emit harmful toxins into the environment.
Buying a Good Yoga Mat
An ideal yoga mat should be comfortable, and it should be able to provide support in order to prevent any kind of injury while practicing a particular yoga. You should not select a slippery mat for practicing vigorous or active forms of yoga, which can include some really difficult postures. Using a slippery mat for practicing such yogas can cause injuries.
The thickness of a mat is another important quality that needs to be considered. The mat should not be less than 4 mm in thickness. However, for practicing some yoga postures, you will require a mat that is thicker than 4 mm. The elderly people should also use a mat thicker than 4 mm.
Before buying a mat, be sure to test its compression resistance by pinching a small area of the mat. As far as the size is concerned, the length of the yoga mats can range from 62 to 75 inches, while their width is usually 24 inches. While choosing a mat, you have to consider the size of the user. For example, a smaller mat is ideal for children, but adults require a longer mat.
Apart from the size, the material used in manufacturing the mat also matters a lot. Cheap mats are made with plastic or PVC, which have raised many environmental and health-related issues. According to many experts, such cheap mats contain harmful chemicals, and they can emit toxic substances at high temperatures, i.e., when they are exposed to heat. The thermoplastic elastomer yoga mats are another inexpensive option, which are considered better than the plastic ones.
The cotton and jute yoga mats are another inexpensive and eco-friendly alternative. However, they can readily absorb sweat, which over a period of time, can weaken the fiber. This is the main disadvantage of such mats. So, jute and cotton mats are not very durable. The natural latex and organic natural latex yoga mats are considered better than the cotton and jute mats, as they are durable and eco-friendly.
The choice of a yoga mat would also depend on the type of yoga you are going to practice. To practice a vigorous yoga like 'asthanga yoga', you will need a thick mat with good padding and durability. Manduka black yoga mat is regarded by many as the best brand of yoga mats, especially for practicing asthanga yoga. However, some people prefer a rug for practicing this yoga, as it can easily absorb perspiration without being slippery. The sticky yoga mats are ideal for practicing hath yoga. They are also suitable for children. On the other hand, the light-weight portable yoga mats are designed to meet the requirements of traveling individuals.
While purchasing a yoga mat, base your decision on your needs and requirements, and consider the nature of the particular yoga you are going to practice.