Many factors come into play when choosing a yoga mat. The yoga practice you undertake, the thickness and material, the brand, the style, all of these determine the comfortability or strenuosity of your experience. All of which we discuss here.
Our Pick of the Best 5 Yoga Mats of Australia
Choosing a yoga mat is not an easy task and that’s why a little help can be useful. Based on our extensive online research and reading, below is what we thought is the best things to consider when purchasing your yoga mat. We’ve considered aspects like the thickness of the mat, the cost and brand factor, the material, and even the type of yoga. All key aspects you may want to consider before making a choice to buy that mat. Below are some of our favorite picks of the best yoga mats in the market today. Let us know your thoughts and suggestion if you would like to recommend a mat you’ve used and loved using!
Choosing the Correct Thickness
When practicing yoga of all types, you will need to determine the preferred thickness of your mat. Consider if you prefer cushiness, a connection to the floor, room for storing your mat, and portability, as all these are involved in the thickness of a yoga mat.
Thin mats are great for indoor use. They are sturdy, allow for a strong connection to the floor, especially when practicing balance poses, and are easily portable. Thick mats can be more comfortable, especially on your knees and joints, but the downside is stability. We recommend thin mats, between 1/16 inch and 1/8 inch thick, but if you need more support on the joints, a thick mat is better.
Selecting the Material
The material is the next consideration that will determine the stickiness, sponginess, and texture of the mat, all of which are concerns on their own.
The stickier a yoga mat is, the stronger grip it has on the yogi and you don’t have to worry about slipping or sliding. A beginner yogi may worry about how tacky the mat feels but a slippery mat is awful not to mention dangerous. Certain poses are near impossible with a slick mat. A sticky mat will help you maintain balance and rhythm, one that is too sticky, however, is just as awful. It can interrupt the flow of your poses, make it difficult to clean, and feels uncomfortable. Plus, for practices like restorative yoga that incorporate many sweeping and slow-moving poses, a sticky mat is the bane of its existence.
Texture is similar to stickiness as it affects the slipping, sliding, and traction of your mat. The texture is how the mat feels underneath your feet, whether that’s bumpy, smooth, soft, etc. A rough texture can give a more tactile grip while a smooth one can allow for free-flowing practices, it ultimately depends on what feels good for you and what you are practicing. These are made by the material, such as PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and rubber mats giving a smoother, softer feeling to the map, or it can be man-made, such as purposefully raising bumps into the mat.
Eco-friendliness is also determined by the material. The most eco-friendly mats are easily recyclable and made of non-toxic materials such as cotton, grass, and jute fiber. Manduka mats especially are very sustainable, usable, and one of the most recognisable yoga mat brands. Mats made of natural rubber are also earth-friendly, they aren’t completely friendly but are much better options than synthetic rubber mats. You will want to avoid PVC mats that do not break down and are difficult to recycle.
Considering the Price & Brand
When deciding on yoga mats, the price is usually a good tell but not great. Most range anywhere from $10 to $100, the more expensive comes with better perks and are a better investment as the best can last years. It isn’t great though, because most fall in that ballpark and it’s hard to tell if one yoga mat at $60 is better than another one at $65 from a different brand. That’s why brands are important for yoga mats.
It can be hard to pinpoint a brand you like, and some might think it isn’t a big worry, but it is. Manduka, as mentioned before, is highly recommended for their eco-friendly materials like tree rubber being used, and their incredibly long-lasting nature that some say are uncontested in the market. However, there are many criticisms of the stickiness of Manduka mats, saying that it is incredibly hard to clean and remove. Their prices depend on the specific mat, but range between $35 to $149.
Finally, the Mat Size & Appearance
The size of a yoga mat matters more than you may think. Short mats can interrupt your practice and longer ones may be too large to pack with you if you decide to travel. The standard size is 60 cm wide and 172 cm long, for a person of 155 cm tall. You will want a yoga mat that allows all of your body to be on the mat when lying down, in a shavasana for example. Generally, a mat that is 15 centimetres longer than you are tall is a nice fit. Your arms should be comfortably sitting on the mat beside you and you should be able to lay down comfortably without going over the edges.
Appearance is naturally important, more so for some than others, but a charming design is hard to pass up. In this case, pick one that shouts at you! Don’t be deterred by other yogis and go for what you like.