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4 Things to Consider When Choosing Your Perfect Yoga Mat

Yoga is a wonderful practice to increase flexibility, improve muscle strength and tone, and increase overall energy and vitality, but finding the right mat can make the world of difference. And there are some things to consider when it comes to choosing a great yoga mat, especially because there are so many different ones on the market.

Thickness: One of the most important things to consider is the width of the mat, and according to YogaOutlet, if a mat is too thin it can be hard on the knees and joints. Therefore, when ordering a mat, you want to pay close attention to the thickness.

The publication notes that in general, the thickest mat is 1/4" which will offer the best support and comfort, although the thickness makes the mat less portable. There is also an option for 1/8" mat, which can provide enough cushioning for regular yoga practice, but is also very portable. Or the 1/16" thickness is considered an option for people who are always on the go but can also allow a better feel of the floor—the con of a thick mat is that there is less connection to the floor.

Stickiness: A sticky mat keeps you from sliding on the floor. Amy Ippoliti, the co-founder of the online professional development school for yoga teachers called 90 Monkeys, places importance on the stickiness of a mat, as she explained to YogaJournal. “My favorite mats are sticky, like the name “sticky mat” implies," she said. "Soft enough to pad the knees and elbows but not so soft you feel like you're on a piece of foam and start sinking in.”

Material: The material of the yoga mat is incredibly important. According to Pure Health, many of the standard yoga mats are created from PVC, which YogaOutlet notes are good for stickiness and comfort, but also durability. But there are also more eco-friendly options that are made from natural or recycled rubber, jute, and natural cotton.

Texture: The texture of the mat helps balance and alignment, and helps to prevent slipping, which is why it’s so important to find a texture that suits your needs. According to YogaOutlet, added grip comes with raised textures, and Pure Health notes that texture also impacts overall comfort.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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