How to Choose the Right Yoga Mat for Comfort

Last Updated on June 20, 2020 by Ellen Christian

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Do you know how to choose the right yoga mat? Or, do you think all the yoga mats are the same and choose based on style? I remember when I was younger, I thought nothing of doing somersaults and all sorts of acrobatics outside on the ground. I could spend hours rolling around or sitting under a tree with a book. The hard ground, the grass, and rocks, none of those bothered me even a little bit.

How to choose the right yoga mat

How to Choose the Right Yoga Mat 

  Now that I’m a little older, I don’t find sitting or rolling on hard surfaces to be all that comfortable and for some reason, I notice them an awful lot more than when I was a child. That’s why when I exercise, I pay particular attention to the yoga mat I’m using. 

Why should you use one?

We have hardwood floors in the living room where I exercise and I am beyond the stage that I can do floor exercises without some sort of padding beneath me. The natural choice is a yoga mat but there are so many different types and styles of yoga mats that I’m always at a loss when it comes to choosing the right one. All yoga mats are NOT created equal and it’s not simply a matter of choosing your favorite color or the one on sale. Here are a few things that you should consider.

What type of yoga mat is best for beginners?

If you’re new to yoga, you will want to look for a mat that is about 1/4″ thick for the most comfort. And, finding one that is textured may make it easier for you to keep your footing when you first start.

Make sure that you look for a yoga mat that is at least 6″ longer than you are. You don’t want to be hanging off the edge while your practicing.

woman holding a yoga mat

Best thickness for a yoga mat

A standard yoga mat is about 1/8th” thick. A thinner mat (1/16th) works better for travel because it takes up space. For those that suffer from arthritis or other joint issues, a thicker mat (1/4″) may be a better choice for comfort. Keep in mind that a thicker mat is better for floor exercises to cushion the floor. However, it can make it harder to balance for positions you do standing. My personal preference for the right yoga mat is 1/4″ thick. My back and knees thank me for it.

What is a yoga mat made of?

It used to be that the only material you could get for a yoga mat was PVC. Now there are many other choices.  PVC is fine, but it’s not an eco-friendly option. If that is a concern, look for options made of recycled rubber or organic cotton or jute instead. Remember that if you’re allergic to latex, you’ll want to avoid rubber. PVC has the most cushioning and cotton or jute have the least.

Best texture for a yoga mat

Again this is a personal preference. Most PVC or recycled rubber yoga mats have a slightly bumpy textured feel to them which helps with traction while still being relatively soft and comfortable. Cotton or jute have a little rougher texture. If your yoga workouts leave you sweaty, you will want a yoga mat that gives some traction to avoid accidents.

How to choose the right yoga mat

When it comes to the right yoga mat, there are so many options. Today it’s easy to find yoga mats in all sorts of colors and styles from neutral tones to jewel tones with polka dots, geometric patterns, and more. I tend to go with fun colors and designs. If I’m going to exercise, I might as well enjoy it.

What is the right yoga mat for beginners?

How that you know how to choose the right yoga mat, which type do you prefer?

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