Yoga Mats: Which One is Best for You


If you’re new to yoga or maybe just interested in getting more into yoga exercises one essential piece of ‘equipment’ is the yoga mat also known as the sticky mat. Sure you can use the floor and bare feet but for the best yoga workout it’s wise to invest in a quality yoga mat.


Yoga mats help the user to hold poses in proper alignment and avoid the dangerous slipping that can occur without this important tool. You’ll get a better workout and be better able to execute poses in the proper positions.

Having the proper position for a pose (and holding it or moving freely to the next pose) is key in getting the maximum benefit out of any type of yoga exercise. And let's face it: laying on the bare floor during meditation is only fun as much fun.


Renting Yoga Mats


Often yoga studios will ‘rent’ you a sticky mat or yoga mat but I suggest investing in your own.  You can get a good one for under twenty dollars. This way you can use it at home, on the go, and in class. You don’t have to worry about who’s used it before you or how often they are being washed. Which leads me to an important point regarding yoga mats.


One of the best ways to get your yoga mat sticky, especially if it’s new, is to wash it. Yes, wash it. Using soap and water put it in the bathtub (that’s what I find easiest) and give it a good washing. This simple process actually increases it’s stickiness (although you’d thing the opposite) and this will help you when executing yoga poses particularly if you’re doing Hot Yoga or have sweaty feet and are prone to slipping. Be sure to only use mild detergent and just a bit. Wash the soap off thoroughly as this residue can make the mat slippery. They say yoga mats are like fine wines; they only get better and more valuable with time (and in the case of yoga mats use!)


Let’s look at the most commonly used products:


  • Yoga Rug
  • Black Mat
  • Sticky Mat
  • Ultra Mat
  • Travel Mat


The yoga rug is a bit different from the yoga mat as it’s made of cotton and all natural fibers. This is the most traditional type of yoga mat and is used widely in India today.


The Black Mat is a traditional yoga mat. This mat weighs between seven and ten pounds and easily lays flat on the floor, sand, or even grass.


The Sticky Mat is what you usually find in the Western yoga classes. These mats vary in size but are generally 1/8 inch thick. These will last a long time and are a worthwhile investment.


The Ultra Mat is just that ultra thick. It measures about twice the thickness of the regular sticky mat and provides extra padding for the vulnerable ankles and knees.


The Travel Mat is best as a second mat for the avid yoga practitioner who wants to do alignment poses when traveling. This is usually small enough to fit easily into the front zipper pocket of the average size suitcase.


Most of these yoga mats come with a bag or straps for easy carrying and storage. As you can see there are a few choices for yoga mats. Finding one that fits your needs and budget is simple. Purchasing this accessory can make a big difference in your yoga workout and you can of course use for your pilates exercises as well.




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