Thursday, February 11, 2016

How To Choose Yoga Meditation Mats (No Matter What Style You Practice)

Whether a beginner or not, having the right yoga meditation mat is essential. Why? Because the right yoga mat allows you to better perform different yoga exercises. But here pops up one important question – How to choose the right one among the many yoga meditation mats available on the market? Well, the answer is pretty simple – understand yoga meditation mats. And in doing that, we are here to help you. Let's go over the different types of yoga mats and materials and see which is the best one. 

Yoga Style

The best and easiest way to determine what type of yoga mat you need is by taking into account the yoga style. This doesn't mean that you can't use the same yoga mat for other yoga styles, but it's just easier to choose a mat that suits your practice and body type.

  • Basic Yoga Classes
    If you are a beginner or simply a person who prefers gentler practice, you don't need to spend hundreds of dollars on a yoga mat. Instead, you need to look for something that is comfortable and stable. However, if you are not sure that yoga is the right type of exercise for you, then you should choose something more affordable. Just keep in mind that the cheapest mats doesn't offer the same stability as other, but still are perfect for beginners.

  • Flow/Vinyasa Classes
    Obviously, this type of style is more advanced and requires constant movement, meaning that it requires a mat with great traction. If your mat is slippery you won't be able to focus on your exercise as you will be constantly readjusting your hands and legs, which is pretty annoying. So, what you can do is to look for non-slippery mat with great dry and wet traction.

  • Restorative Or Yin Classes
    These type of classes are more serene and don't involve active muscle engagement. Why? Because they use the force of gravity to bring about deep releases in your muscles and fascia. These classes require seated postures or even lying on the ground, so for this type of yoga style you will need to choose thicker and comfortable mat that is at least 5 mm thick.

  • Heated Classes
    If you practice one of these yoga styles: Moksha, Bikram, Hot 103, Summits, etc., then you are probably already aware that there is a lot of sweating in these classes. Because of the whole sweating, most people use a towel on top of their yoga mat to absorb the sweat. When it comes to choosing the right yoga mat for this style, consider one with "closed-cell" construction, as this type of mat doesn't absorb too much sweat.
    Instead placing a towel over your mat, you can always treat yourself with the amazing towel/mat that can be machine washed after each and every use. Amazing, right?

Yoga Mat Materials

  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
    PVC is the original and the one most commonly used material for creating yoga mats. Since these types of mats are a hydrocarbon product – plastic that contains phthalates it is carcinogen and contains too many toxins. Obviously, these types of mats are not appropriate and not the safest option for everyday use.

  • Rubber
    A great alternative to PVC mats are rubber mats, which are made from rubber which is harvested from the ParĂ¡ rubber tree. Even though classified as 99% latex free, rubber mats are not suitable for those of you who are sensitive to latex.

  • Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE)
    TPE is a type of material that contains "plastic" and "elastic" properties. These types of mats can be recycled and remade into new mats or some other product made out of TPE.

  • Polymer Environmental Resin (PER)
    PER is made from PVC, but without the phthalates and other harmful toxins that are required for turning PVC into a yoga mat. This type of material is also recyclable, and what's more important is that it releases less toxins than PVC when incinerated.

  • Cotton
    Least but not last, cotton yoga mats are the most suitable ones, if we compare them to the other types of materials. If you ask why, the answer is simple - cotton is biodegradable and doesn't contain any harmful chemicals. Generally speaking, they are the healthiest and safest option, but unfortunately, they won't provide you with the same traction, comfort and stability as sticky yoga meditation mats.

So, at the end everything boils down to one thing – your personal choice. Carefully consider all types of yoga meditation mats and choose the best option for you. In case you cannot make the final decision on your own, consult with a professional yogi.  

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