Yoga Mat FAQ
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Here are some things you may like consider when choosing which yoga mat to buy.
If your question isn’t answered below and you’d like advice about which mat would suit you, do email or call and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.
Do I need a yoga mat?
It has become traditional to practice yoga on a mat of some kind. It isn’t 100% necessary but they do serve a purpose. The positioning of the hands and feet on a mat enable the practitioner to practice yoga poses without slipping or sliding. Being able to have a firm and stable ‘foundation’ is important, not just to take the full benefit from the pose but to help prevent injury. Many people simply find it more comfortable to practice on a 'softer' surface.
Which yoga mat do I need?
This will depend on the type of yoga you practice. There are various styles or traditions of yoga 'asana' (postures) popularized by different teachers, such as Ashtanga Vinyasa (a form of Hatha yoga), Hatha, Bikram, Iyengar, Viniyoga, Sivananda yoga, Power yoga (a Western fushion of various types of yoga) Anusara yoga, Hot yoga and many more. Some of these styles are more dynamic than others. If your yoga class teaches one of the more dynamic forms of yoga such as Ashtanga Vinyasa, you'll need a combination of grip, cushion and durability. A good choice of yoga mat for these types of yoga would be our Rishikesh Premium Mat. This mat is thick and durable, providing a firm but cushioned surface on which to practice. It won't move or stretch as you jump back or forward. Other popular mats are the Lotus Pro Mat and the Eco Yoga Mat which is made from sustainable / plant-based materials and kind to the environment. If you are not sure about which yoga mat to buy, then please feel free to contact us or seek advice from your yoga teacher.
What is a ‘sticky’ yoga mat?
‘Sticky’ yoga mats have become the main type of yoga mat in the West. They are typically made with an open cell construction which provides cushioning and of materials which produce a surface providing ‘grip’ for the hands and feet. This helps prevent you slipping and gives a firmer foundation on which to practice.
What thickness of yoga mat do I need?
Generally, the thicker the mat, the more cushioning the mat provides. Not everyone feels the need for greater cushioning but some people feel that they require more cushioning to support their joints or for comfort. For example, very lean people often feel that their bones protrude enough to make them uncomfortable, in seated poses. Although thicker mats provide more cushioning, they may make for a slightly less stable surface, where the feet and hands have to work harder to find stability, especially if the mat is placed on carpet rather than a wood or tiled floor. And don't forget, when rolled, a thicker mat will take more space in your yoga mat bag.
Mat durability and eco-friendly yoga mats
A yoga mat will generally last a long time, but this will also depend on your yoga practice and how frequently you use it. Some forms of dynamic yoga practice, like Ashtanga Vinyasa, Hot Yoga or Vinyasa Flow , all include quite a lot of repetitive transitions between poses that may lead to more wear and tear on a mat, particularly where the feet land. Most man-made yoga mats will be durable and withstand years of use. However, Eco Yoga mats, usually made of more natural materials, and often designed to biodegrade, whilst much kinder to the environment will not be as durable as the synthetic alternatives. With a repetitive or dynamic yoga practice, eco-friendly yoga mats tend to break down and wear out more quickly over time.
What length should my yoga mat be?
Standard yoga mats tend to be about 183-185cm long, however, there are extra-long yoga mats for taller people, if you’re taller than about 6ft, you may feel that you require an extra-long mat.
What about size and weight of my yoga mat?
The length, width, thickness and material will all contribute to the rolled size and weight. If you’re taking your mat to a yoga class, you might want to consider the over-all weight and size of your mat, especially if you have to carry it while walking, on a bicycle or on public transport. If you mainly use your mat at home or drive to your class, the size and weight won’t be so much of a consideration.
Visual appearance of my yoga mat, does it really matter?
This is entirely personal and a matter of choice. Some yoga practitioners prefer a plain mat in a subdued, natural colour so that the mat doesn’t distract or detract from the yoga practice. Others may feel an affinity with particular colour or even prefer a yoga mat with a printed design, perhaps to express their personality. It's worth noting that sometimes the designs on a mat can act as a positioning aid which can be helpful in some circumstances. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter at all as long as it makes you feel good and enjoy the time on your mat!
How much should I spend on my yoga mat?
Your mat should serve you for several years, so it is well worth investing in a quality yoga mat that is both comfortable and suitable for your yoga practice. Some of the cheaper mats on the market are thin and not particularly durable, and may also contain chemicals which you wouldn't necessarily want in contact with your skin. They may also not be kind to the environment. At Yoga Bliss we only supply quality yoga mats so you can be sure of purchasing an excellent mat.
What is rubber or latex?
Rubber and Latex is the substance, a lectin, skillfully tapped from just below the bark of the tree Hevea Brasiliensis. Natural rubber latex, as it is tapped, is a watery substance, suspended in which is a mixture of non-rubber particles like proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and minerals. Some people can have a skin reaction to the rubber proteins in Latex. If you know that you suffer from a latex allergy you should choose a mat that is not made from Latex.
Rubber Tyres…are they not natural rubber?
Tyres are made from synthetic rubber. There are many classes of synthetic rubber but all are made from a raw material derived from petroleum, coal, oil, natural gas and acetylene.
I have heard of PER and TPE yoga mats. What are these?
TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) foam is a non-toxic plastic that can be melted down easily for reuse (unlike PVC). Commonly it is used as ear plugs, toothbrush handles and weather seals. Yoga mats are a recent application for TPE. It is soft and less durable, though more favourable, than PVC. PER (polymer environment resin) is a synthetic compound developed as an alternative to PVC. In the 1990s the popularity of PVC gave way to consumer and processor awareness of its environmental implications. PER contains no phthalates or heavy metals and has food grade skin safety.
How do I care for my mat?
When the mats are shipped there is occasionally a slightly oily residue left from the manufacturing process that can make that mat feel slippery initially. If this is the case, simply wipe the mat down with soap and water and allow to dry. Clean your mat in this way from time to time, and keep it rolled and away from direct sunlight.
You may see yoga practitioners using more than one yoga mat. People often use a sticky yoga mat for the standing postures and then place either an anti-slip yoga Towel or a Cotton yoga Rug or Durrie on top of their sticky mat for the seated postures. Some practitioners use these mats for the duration of their yoga practice. If they find they need more grip, the cotton mat can be sprayed with water to give additional grip.
Beginners and advanced yoga mats
A teacher may require a more durable mat just because they use it more often. Your choice of yoga mat will be very personal and after a while, you may find that you have a preference for a particular type of yoga mat or combination of mats. No mat is too good for a beginner.
Anti slip towels
Anti-slip towels have become one of the more popular yoga accessories in recent years. They are used on top of another yoga mat. They provide a soft upper side on which to practice, which gives good grip but is also absorbent. For this reason they are very popular with practitioners of Bikram yoga (sometimes known as Hot yoga) which is practiced in a heated room. These anti-slip towels have silicon dots on the underside to keep it in place on top of your regular yoga mat which provides you with your cushioned surface. Although these anti-slip yoga Towels are often used in conjunction with another yoga mat, they can also be used on their own as a light-weight alternative to a travel yoga mat. Another reason that people choose an anti-slip yoga towel is that it is compact and can be placed on top of a studio mat, giving a hygienic layer between you and the studio mat. It can be washed in the washing machine and will dry quickly ready to be used for your next yoga class.
Should I use an environmentally friendly mat?
Yoga mats have become the major accessory to yoga practitioners and with the ever increasing trend it means millions and millions of mats are out there being bought, used and disposed. These mats can eventually find their way to the landfill sites. We believe in protecting the environment.
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