Updated: Oct 5
Let's talk yoga mats, is it worth spending money on or do you think any old mat will do? When it comes to yoga mats do you look for ones that have all the bells and whistles or just a plain old mat to stop your face, body or feet from making contact with the dirty gym/ studio floor...
I'll be honest with you, I have done my fair share of buying different types of yoga mats throughout the years. When I finally got inspired to start yoga and begin my fitness and wellness journey I didnt want to invest alot of money in alot of different workout items; to be honest, I wasn't sure how long this 'journey' would last. So I'll admit I went out and bought the cheapest yoga mat, if you can even call it that. At first I didnt really think it made much difference, but after a few classes, I started to notice how my knee's were painful when balancing them on the mat, my feet would often slip nearly landing me in a face plant and not a down dog. The worst thing of all, it smelt of toxic plastic fumes.... so it wasn't my lack of stamina making me dizzy after all. Let's look at a couple of things you can look out for...
Yoga mats come in all different types of materials and thicknesses, so it really depends how much or little cushioning and support you want from your mat. For example, if I'm balancing on my knees they get quite painful so I usually opt for a mat that is over 4mm to 5mm for enough cushioning.
Another tip is try and purchase mats that are made from recycled, non toxic materials and say no to toxic materials, heavy metals, or PVC. Perfect choices include mats from Pharamond Life or Moonchild Yogawear which are all made from recycled, biodegreadeable materials and contain no harmful toxins that can irritate your skin. By opting for more environmentally friendly materials you avoid that toxic plastic smell coming from your mats
Grip vs Non-Grip
Now all my yogis put your hands in the air for this one....grip or no grip? I for one am a fan of grip, give me grip and some more grip. A grippy mat can go a long way to helping you hold that pose longer, align yourself better, and give you a supportive foundation when you're practicing inversions or balances. Think of a grippy mat like a really great supportive bra, without that support you're just going to drag, sag and swing around. The Moonchild Yogawear and Pharamond Life yoga mats get grippier and gripper the more you sweat, so you dont have to worry about falling out of your poses when you're really in the zone.
"Any firm, stable structure always starts with a good strong foundation" – JMY
Plain vs Alignment Maps
Something you'll hear often in yoga, Pilates, Barre etc is alignment, alignment alignment. A little too much booty out here, a little sagging knees there and you can put your whole body up for serious injury. The slightest adjustment to your pose can make a world of difference to your overall workout.
In come the yoga mats with alignment points marked on the mats. These come in really handy when you need to gauge where to place your hands and feet, or if you want to make sure your knees are not leaning inwards or outwards by having a centre line mapped out. The Pharamond Life was created with the AsanaAlign™ system. AsanaAlign™ markings make it easy to find your balance and re-align yourself in any pose, preventing possible injury and pushes your pratice to the next level.
Tip #4 - Additional accessories?
On top of the yoga mats some opt for additional accessories like pilates/yoga socks. These socks are great if you suffer from slippy mat syndrome and need that extra grip. Moonchild Yogawear offer some great toeless yoga socks to help with your practice, these are made from organic GOT's cotton and has a five toe design for maximum control and freedom in your practice. Moonchild's toesock features their signature logo in silicon grip and are the perfect sock for both yoga and pilates