How To Find The Perfect Yoga Mat for YOUR Practice

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Sponsored by Manduka

The physical practice of yoga teaches us about our bodies. As yogis, we learn to develop a deeper connection between mind and body, as well as a deeper connection with our physical awareness. This is one beautiful by-product of our yoga practice: establishing a deeper connection with self. When you step on the mat, you embark on an incredible journey of physical and inward strength, focus, and growth.
 
This is why when you step onto your yoga mat, it’s important to have a mat that supports your unique practice. Every body is different, and every yoga practice is unique. There are all kinds of yoga mats for all kinds of yogis! We’ll help you find the mat that’s right for you. Let’s get started. ☺
 
When you’re on the market for your next yoga mat, have high standards! Your yoga practice is a big part of your life, so you should demand high standards for your yoga mat, a central ingredient to a fruitful, fulfilling yoga practice. Don’t just look for a mat – look for a soul mat.
 
There are 5 main questions to consider when you look for that perfect yoga mat:
 

1. How often do you practice yoga?

If you’re new to yoga and classify yourself as a beginner, you need a mat to get you started. It doesn’t have to be super fancy or uber pricey, because you’re still testing the waters of your practice. You’re still determining if you are drawn towards a specific style of yoga (for example, if you’re drawn to hot yoga, you want a mat that’s slip resistant). You’re also determining what your preferences are: do you need a cushy mat for extra joint support, a travel mat you can take anywhere, or perhaps a beautiful design to keep you inspired?

If you’re a more experienced yogi, odds are you practice yoga more frequently, which means you need a durable mat that will stand the test of time. Gauging how frequently you practice is the first step in finding the right mat for you.
 
 

2. Where do you practice yoga?

If you’re relatively established in a daily routine, then you’ll have a good idea of where you practice yoga most often. For instance, if you travel frequently for work, you need a yoga mat that’s super lightweight and easy to pack, so you can take your yoga practice wherever you go. If you like practicing in the comfort of your own home, then you can use a mat that’s thicker, heavier, and takes up more space. If you’re a yogi that loves to practice in a yoga studio, then you need a yoga mat that falls right in the middle – not too thin, but not too big/heavy either. Establishing where you practice yoga most is the second step in finding the perfect mat for you.
 
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3. How much do you sweat?

In yoga, this is an important question! If your yoga practice is light and gentle (take for instance a yin yoga enthusiast or a yogi-on-the-go who practices for short increments of time), you may not sweat at all. If you find that you sweat lightly throughout your practice, then this may become a factor in your yoga mat quest.

Do you sweat waterfalls? Are you a hot yoga fanatic? Then finding a mat that’s slip- and sweat-resistant is a must. If you answered yes to any of the “do you sweat” questions, then you may also want to consider a yoga mat towel to place on top of your mat for an added layer of sweat absorption and slip protection. Gauging the amount you typically sweat is an important consideration in finding your soul mat.
 
 

4. What about feeling supported?

In the physical sense, it is so important to feel supported by your yoga mat. Your body is precious – you only get one – so you take care of it the best you can. Your yoga mat should be an extension of this self-care. What do you look for in terms of support? Do you love to feel grounded to the earth beneath you, or love those balancing poses that require a lot of stability? Then perhaps a thinner yoga mat is right for you.

If you instead opt for comfort, you’re probably looking for that added support which will give your joints (think knees, wrists, elbows, etc.) the cushion and comfort they need. There is no wrong answer here – feeling grounded vs. supported on your yoga mat is completely up to the individual.
 
 

5. Is your yoga mat made sustainably?

As yogis, we care about the environment. An aspect of our yoga practice is ahimsa, or non-violence, and this concept applies as much to mother earth as it does to our own bodies. Once you’ve found a yoga mat that fulfills your first four questions, make sure it passes the final test of sustainability. Is the mat made from recycled or repurposed materials? Are those materials natural and/or organic? Was the yoga mat made with zero or low emissions to reduce the carbon footprint? Many cheap yoga mats on the market are made with harmful chemicals or even products that are known carcinogens! This is why it is so important to take care of yourself and our environment, and shop consciously for your next yoga mat.
 
When you’re ready to find your soul mat, hold yourself and your mat options to these high standards. Not only are you worth it, but your yoga practice – and your body – will thank you for it! We hope these questions will help guide you through your search for your perfect yoga mat. If you have any questions about this process, or have any experience or advice you’d like to share with the YogiApproved™ community, please do so in the comments below. Happy hunting!
 

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