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Which Yoga Mat Should I buy? What Yoga Mat Do I Need?
Frequently asked questions:
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 Bodhi Yoga Ashtanga II 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.
Can't I just use a mat at my yoga studio?
When first trying yoga classes, of course a studio mat will be fine for you. You won't want to invest in a yoga mat until you've decided that yoga postures are something you enjoy and find beneficial. Many teachers will eventually want students to purchase their own as it encourages practice on the yoga mat at home. Also, ther is the issue of hygiene. People will sweat during their yoga practice and their skin is regularly in contact with the mat. It is often also practiced with bare feet. Clearly a studio mat will have been used by many different students, so many people feel happier with their own mat. Lastly, many people believe that there are 'energetic' reasons to use your own yoga mat. Your 'energy' can be impacted by that of others on a subtle level so using a mat that has been used by many different people can impact on your energy / subtle body.
Thick yoga mat or thin, standard or extra long?
We have a variety of mats in different thicknesses and lengths. This is a personal choice as some people require more cushioning than others. The thickness will effect the cushioning provided but also the weight of the mat. Bear this in mind, as a thick yoga mat can weigh over 2 kilos. If you are over 6ft tall, you may also require an extra long yoga mat, particularly if you practice Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga. An extra long yoga mat will ensure that you don't land off the end of your mat when you jump back.
Eco friendly / Environmentally produced?
Yoga mats that have been produced to be environmentally friendly are usually free of harmful chemicals and therefore are not only kind to the environment but also kind to the skin/body. They are usually biodegradable. Care should be taken with eco friendly yoga mats as they are designed to be biodegradable and therefore should be stored carefully, out of direct sunlight. Eco friendly yoga mats are often slightly less durable than the more synthetic yoga mats but if cared for carefully, will serve you for many years. You may pay slightly more for an environmentally friendly yoga mat as they can be more expensive to produce than other yoga mats but we feel that the extra expense is justified. All of the yoga mats that we supply are either eco friendly or made without harmful chemicals.
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 biodegradeable. At Yoga Bliss we only supply quality yoga mats so you can be sure of purchasing an excellent mat.
You may often 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. We have a choice of Cotton yoga Rugs or Mats. The Shiva's Trident Cotton yoga Rug, which has a Red Shiva's Trident woven design providing a helpful reference for alignment. We also sell a Cotton Dharma mat (available in two different colours) and this has a horizontal line design which also provides a useful guide for alignment. These cotton yoga rugs provide a soft and natural surface on which to practice. 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 and no mat is not good enough for a teacher.
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.
Caring for my yoga mat.
All of the yoga mats that we supply can be hand washed in cool water. With the 'sticky' style mats, it is also often a good idea to wipe it with a solution of warm water and washing up liquid before the first use as there is sometimes a slight residue remaining from the production process and this can effect the 'grip' of your mat. It is also a good idea to wipe the surface of your mat anyway from time to time. If your yoga mat is still damp when you roll it up to leave your class, ensure that you unroll it once you arrive home to allow it to air dry before storage.