(OrganicJar) If you have ever tried yoga, then you know that it is an exercise as well as a way of life. Yoga can enhance your body’s physical well-being as well as your mental awareness. One of the most important purchases you’ll make for a yoga practice is your mat. It may seem self explanatory, but choosing the right mat will go far in assisting your body positioning and needs. But before you buy a mat, there are a few things that you need to take into consideration.
- Most cheap mats are made from PVC or other un-environmentally friendly materials. They tend to “sweat” a chemical smell when in use. Avoid these if possible.
- Jute or cork mats are great if you practice only once or twice a week, but any more and they will break down quickly due to their porous attributes. This is my favorite jute yoga mat.
- Most people agree the best mats are made of natural rubber. They can be smelly when first used so unfurl your mat for a day or two to release the smells. They are not recommended if you have latex allergies, though there are natural rubber options available specifically for people with these allergies. These are great, and I use them.
- Yoga mitts also called Yogi Paws. These are mittens and footies that make it so you do not have to use a mat. They’re great for travel, but tend to slip when sweating. Find more information on yoga mitts here.
- If you have injuries, or find you need a lot of support, a pilates mat can be used. It is not as sticky as a yoga mat and your standing poses might be less sturdy, but the cushioning, especially for lying poses, will be greater than any yoga mat.
Once you’ve made your purchase, take good care of your mat. A good mat should last somewhere between one to two years. Regularly clean your mat after use. It’s best to use diluted soapy water. A studio or gym should have a spray you can wipe down. Let dry before you roll your mat up to avoid mold. Roll your mat with the side you use on the outside. This will prevent the corners from curling when in use. A good mat bag is suggested to keep dust, light, and other wear away from your mat when not in use.
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