In my first post on Yoga Hacks, I am going to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about yoga. This is going to be a comprehensive yoga resource for first-time yogis to improve your yoga experience. If you have any questions that you need some advice and answers to, drop me a comment below, or send me a message on tumblr! I will be more than happy to answer your questions.
So one of the most frequently asked questions I have on my tumblr is always: I am going to get my first yoga mat! I am so excited, but there are so many yoga mats and I don’t know which to choose!
Yes there are indeed many brands of yoga mats out there to choose from and it can get a little confusing especially if this is the first time you are getting your yoga mat. When picking out your yoga mat, besides your budget, there are also many other things to keep in to your consideration:
1. Thickness: This really depends on personal preference. Some people prefer thinner mats because they are more portable, and also they like to be able to feel the ground more in their practice. However, there are also other people (like me), who prefer thicker mats because it gets painful when I’m doing my boat pose, pigeon pose, or any pose causes my bones to dig into the ground.
2. Grip: You would need to make sure that your yoga mat has enough grip. Not just grip between you and mat, but the mat and the floor as well. You wouldn’t want to be sliding about or getting distracted trying not to slip during your warrior poses!
3. Environment: What is the material of your yoga mat made of? Is it made of PVC material that is environmentally hazardous? Although, some yoga mats made of natural rubber may have a strong rubber smell for at least a few weeks, and some cork mats wear very quickly if you are a regular practitioner. Which brings me to the next point…
4. Can I try this first?: I personally think that it is important for you to feel the thickness and texture of the yoga mat before you make your purchase. Of course some yoga mats are only sold online, but unless you are really sure that the yoga mat you are planning to buy is good (either from your own research, or word of mouth), I personally don’t suggest that you buy them online.
After getting these considerations out of the way, you may ask: so what brand should I consider getting? Here are the great brands that you can consider getting your first yoga mat from.
If you practice hot yoga, this is a great yoga mat for you. It has great absorbability and grip even if you’re sweating buckets in your hot yoga class. The Kulae Elite Hot Hybrid retails at $88.
The Prana revolution natural sticky mat (retails at $89) is wider than most regular mats, so it is great for those who prefer to have more space to move around. The toxic free production of the mat makes Prana yoga mat very eco-friendly. Plus, can I just say that I absolutely love their Bhakti yoga bag?
Jade Harmony yoga mat is one of their most popular yoga mats. A natural rubber mat, it provides amazing grip and stability to your yoga practice. Plus it comes with a wide range of colours! That’s always a sweet bonus. The Jade Harmony yoga mat retails at $69.95.
Manduka is one of the most popular brand of yoga mats around. In fact, Manduka is one of the first brands I’ve gotten to know some time last year. I have a few yogi friends who has a Manduka mat, and it “really changed their lives”. It is the only mat with a lifetime guarantee, and provides wonderful cushion that is pretty much unparalleled. The Manduka PRO mat retails at $100 onwards.
Besides their trendy yoga gear, Lululemon also sells a rather wide range of yoga mats. Lululemon’s ‘The Mat’ is a popular choice with varying thickness to choose from. Plus, it comes in very pretty pastel colours as well! ‘The Mat’ retails at $58 onwards.
However, I must say that they are pretty pricey (~$90), and if you are just getting into yoga and are not sure if you are going to be practicing yoga regularly, then I would say to get a cheaper one from Target, Walmart, Watsons, or any of the sports store near you. They often sell brandless yoga mats for around ~$35.
My personal experience?
I bought a Lululemon’s ‘The Un Mat’ and I didn’t like it at all. It was too thin for my liking, so it hurt a lot when I practiced on it. Plus, despite wiping down my mat after every practice, there is a very strong rubber smell that I didn’t like at all. It didn’t have a very good grip either, even using the towel didn’t help. I am not too sure about the other Lululemon mats they have, but I didn’t have a good experience, and definitely wasn’t worth my money. It’s now sitting in my room untouched (unless I’m going to travel), and I am using my $30 brandless yoga mat which provides great grip and cushion, and it’s been with me since my very first yoga class 1 year ago.
It really depends on your personal preference and what you want. A good mat is definitely a great investment, and I will consider one of these when my current yoga mat spoils. If you are getting a $10 yoga mat which barely lasts for a few months, then getting a mid-range mat (~$60) would be a great investment and would save your wallet in the long run.
I hope this clears up any questions that you may have about getting your first yoga mat! If you are a yogi and you have any other great suggestions on brands of yoga mats, comment below and I’m sure the other yogis will find it really useful. Have a great weekend everyone! <3