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How To Choose The Right Yoga Mat

First thing to ask yourself is? are you really going to deep your toes in the yoga world.

Are you going to be practicing every day? Then get a good mat that will be resistant and last through time like a Manduka or a Jade mat.  I own both and they work well.  Consider that these mats tend to be a bit heavier.

Are you going to be practicing Ashtanga Yoga? Get one that has good traction and think about the Mysore rug that goes on top as well, especially as the spring is coming around and we are all more likely to sweat more on the mat. 

ONE THING TO AVOID:  Never buy that round mat that is advertised on some magazines, you will not have enough room for it (unless you live in a mansion) and it is completely unnecessary, not to mention you might not be able to roll it out in your local studio.

Density, thickness, & weight The density of a mat will determine your comfort level, the support of joints, and stability in balancing poses. If a mat is too thin, kneeling poses may not be comfortable. Generally, the thickness of a mat ranges from 1/16 to 1/4 of an inch thick. The thickness and density of the mat determines its weight, and weight of a yoga mat can be under two pounds (making it easy to trek and travel with) and upward of 10 pounds.

Durability The durability of a mat will dictate whether it will withstand thousands of surya namaskars (sun salutations) for years to come with minimal wear and tear. Some mats, like the Manduka Pro and Manduka PROlite, offer a lifetime guarantee. Natural rubber and some eco-friendly mats will hold up well. 

Yoga Mat Materials

The material the mat is made from dictates its stickiness, durability, comfort, texture, and whether or not it friendly for the environment. Yoga mat material is a matter of personal preference, beliefs, and how it reacts to your body.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC):This is the stuff that keeps slippage to a minimum, is durable, and provides the most 'give.' 

Eco-Friendly Materials

Cotton: A cotton mat helps to absorb sweat and can increase grip when wet, but doesn't provide a lot of give. Recycled, natural rubber: It may not be as sticky as a PVC mat, but will still provide great grip. Those with a latex allergy, however, will want to avoid this type of mat.

Jute: Made from fiber of a jute plant, this stuff keeps you in place due to Polymer Environmental Resin (PER), a nontoxic material. Jute has the added bonus of having antimicrobial properties for those extra-sweaty practices.

Bamboo, cork, and hemp: These are some other natural fiber mats to consider.

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