Yoga mats are definitely one of the most popular pieces of yoga equipment. Also known as ‘sticky mats’, they are used to provide traction and cushioning. Once you start practicing yoga, you can rent one at the yoga studio you’re visiting but it is always a better idea to buy your own. These pieces of equipment can be typically found in one standard size, but there are also some longer models.
When it comes to price, yoga mats can vary from about $20 for basic models to $140 for the deluxe mats. The more expensive models use more environmentally-friendly materials and production methods and will generally last a lot longer than the cheaper ones. At first sight, most yoga mats look the same, however, the main difference between all mats yoga practitioners can buy is in the material they are made of.
- Rubber – This material is biodegradable, natural and renewable. Natural rubber is very grippy but it can have a strong smell and it can be a bit heavier. However, both of these concerns are no longer an issue thanks to the new rubber/polyurethane hybrid mats that offer great support and are very absorbent.
- PVC – This is a man-made material that is not biodegradable. It’s the type of material that typically low-end mats are made of, however, there are some brands that use PVC to produce thicker mats which are virtually indestructible. PVC mats can take some time to wear in but once they do, they provide excellent traction.
- TPE – When mats made of TPE first emerged on the market, they become a very popular option. This material is biodegradable, it is lightweight, odorless and very soft to practice on. Plus, it is very grippy and it prevents you from slipping while performing your poses. It is packed with all the right features, however, it is not very durable.
You can buy mats yoga specific models from a regular store or you can buy them online. Online shopping offers the widest range to choose from and you can also find great products at more affordable prices. Another option is to buy a yoga mat from the local yoga studio, however, keep in mind that chances are they will come at a higher price. Don’t forget to pay attention to the material, durability, and thickness of the yoga mat when shopping. Once you choose your perfect mat make sure you buy a suitable bag or a strap that will enable you to safely store it when not in use and to easily carry it with you on your classes.