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What To Look For In A Yoga Mat

Apr 26, 2008
If you are interested in starting Yoga, a Yoga Mat is one of your essential first purchases. At many yoga studios you should be able to rent a yoga mat, or they may supply them for free, but having your own mat has several advantages. These would include allowing you to practice while at home, be more hygienic and in general should help enhance your yoga practice. If you look around there are various types of mats available, including ones specifically designed for Ashtanga Yoga, mats that have extra length or mats that roll up small and are easier to travel with. Hopefully the rest of this article will help you decide what type of yoga mat to buy.

Why Should I have a Yoga Mat

A mat will provide a soft surface for you to sit on rather than the hard floors you will find in studios and gyms. They also provide grip for your hands and feet while in a pose.

The Mats Thickness

The comfort of the mat is based on a mat's thickness and firmness. Many of today mats are too thin and provide little if any cushioning, and the last thing you want to be thinking about while practicing is how hard the floor is. Other mats are to thick and this could cause them to be too soft to provide enough you with enough support. What you should be looking for is a mat that is thick enough and soft enough to provide a good grip, yet firm enough to provide enough support and cushion you.

It should feel sticky

Grip is usually referred to as the stickiness of the mat. A quality mat will conform around your hands and feet to provide a secure grip. It should not slide around the floor, remain flat and no matter how much you sweat should provide you with the same amount of grip. Initially a new mat may not be that sticky as it should be, this can improve with use, but if it doesn't, try washing it as this can help speed up the process.

If you are prone to sweat a lot you may want to use chalk similar to that used by gymnasts and rock climbers on your hands, the chalk is designed to absorb the sweat, and stop you from slipping.

How to care for your Mat

You can get special hygienic sprays for cleaning your mat, that may be handy if you have to share your mat, but caring for your mat should consist of nothing more than occasionally wiping it down with clean cloth dampened with warm water. It is also a good idea to get a yoga mat bag to help protect your mat while carrying to and from a class. The mat bags usually have enough room to carry other belongings to and from your class, and they also usually have a strap so you can easily carry it over your shoulder.
About the Author
Gavin Dye is author & webmaster at Yoga Supplies 4u where you can learn more about the benefits of yoga or more about Yoga Mats
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