Traditionally yoga was once practised by only a few, in ancient India as a sacred ritual. Now, it has gained much attention in the Western world for its renowned health benefits. With known support for flexibility, strengthening muscle tone and mental health, the benefits can be profound. A unique quality of yoga is its ability to be personalized for each individual’s practice — everyone can take it at their own pace. With that comes preferences to style and equipment.
The question isn’t necessarily what makes a good yoga mat, but what qualities in a yoga mat make you feel good in a practice designed to make you feel good. A good yoga mat is relative to the individual.
Does a Quality Yoga Mat Make a Difference?
Like your practice, your yoga mat should be one that you invest in, one that you keep coming back to, and one that supports you through every inhale and exhale. It should feel like a little island you want to call home for every practice. A high-quality yoga mat can provide an extra measure of comfort and support, especially when attempting to master more difficult positions.
With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to find which one meets your needs. Reviews.com recently published an in-depth guide after testing over 30 popular mat options on the market to determine which ones had the traction, support, and versatility for every yogi, from beginner to expert.
The most important features for me:
- Comfort and Support – Those unpleasant moments of pain while kneeling, for example. I have discovered that all my bones – spine, tailbone, pelvic bones, knees, etc. – need extra support when I practise yoga. Otherwise, postures like spinal rolls or Rocking bow are a real pain, which means I avoid them at any cost (what a shame). Certainly, enough padding is paramount.
- Traction and stickiness – Because you don’t want your mat to move with your every move. This could definitely destabilise my mood, and my yoga practice is supposed to be balancing my mind, right? 🙂
- Durability – I have had mats that would only last a couple of months, and then you could tell where exactly my feet had been in a Downward dog. Not nice. So now I would rather pay more for a quality yoga mat, instead of buying a few cheaper ones in a short period of time.
- Size – I am quite tall and yes, I have purchased some really unsuitable mats. A yoga mat that is not long enough to ‘accommodate’ my limbs comfortably is definitely not my mat. Note to self – Next time check the length, girl!
According to Reviews.com, there are 8 most important features of a yoga mat. Their detailed and super helpful guide explains them all, make sure you check it out.
Finally, do you actually need a mat to practise yoga? In a studio – yes. At home or outside – not necessarily. Find the best option that works for you. We are all unique, so is our yoga experience.
And don’t forget to enjoy the wisdom of Yoga every day. One piece of wisdom at a time.
*This is a collaborative post.*