Finding the right yoga mat - what matters?

Finding the right yoga mat - what matters?

Yoga mats differ not only in appearance, but also in their manageability, material, thickness, care, price and durability. The optical aspects are a matter of taste - you can choose the yoga mat according to your personal feeling and the ambience. It is more difficult with the other criteria: Generalizations and blanket recommendations are hardly possible here, because individual requirements are too different.

Where is the yoga mat used?

Do you practice yoga at home or do you have to transport the mat regularly? If it is used within your own four walls, it is less important how heavy the yoga mat is and whether it can be rolled up easily. For mobile use, on the other hand, a lighter version is recommended, which you can easily take with you. However, the quality should not suffer, and even a lightweight must of course meet your requirements.

Size, thickness and slip resistance

The standard dimensions of a yoga mat are about 175 to 185 centimeters in length and 61 centimeters in width. However, you can also find oversized models if you feel more comfortable with them or your stature requires it. What thickness is ideal depends in particular on the style of yoga. The average standard is around four to five millimeters.

For dynamic styles like vinyasa, a thinner mat is a better choice, while for gentler variations that involve holding the postures, good cushioning is more beneficial to the bones and joints. On a thicker mat that provides a good cushion, you will have a less stable stance than on a pad that measures a few millimeters.

In this regard, slip resistance also plays a role: a non-slip underside ensures that the mat stays in place even during dynamic runs. A non-slip top surface helps you hold postures and balance. This is especially true for beginners. Advanced yogis, on the other hand, sometimes prefer a yoga mat that offers less support, since they have to use their own muscles more on it. A highly slip-resistant surface that gives you secure footing can be a hindrance when moving fluidly on the floor. Consequently, in terms of thickness and slip resistance, style and personal demands on the yoga mat are important decision criteria.

Importance of the material

The material determines various properties of yoga mats. These include the care and cleaning possibility. Models made of cotton or virgin wool are soft, easy to clean and suitable for gentle and meditative exercises. PVC is more slip-resistant and offers better cushioning. Yoga mats made of TPE are characterized by their fairly light weight and can also provide excellent slip resistance. Pay attention to whether the material is open-pored or, for example, thermoplastically sealed: an open-pored yoga mat absorbs sweat well, for example, whereas sealed surfaces are more repellent and also easier to clean with a damp cloth. However, perspiration on the yoga mat again impairs slip resistance. Other common materials are natural rubber, jute and cork - these also have specific properties that can be decisive for their suitability for your purposes.

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