Yoga Mats - Are They All Created Equal?
Yoga mats are a basic part of every practice. What you might not realize is that there are several types of yoga mats that you can choose from.
These yoga mats offer a covering for your practice area, as well as some stability for you when doing poses. They are thin, lightweight, and come in a variety of colors. Some of them have guide marks on them to illustrate proper hand and foot placements. In order for these mats to be sticky and prevent you from slipping and sliding, you need to sprinkle them with a small amount of water and let them air dry. You can use these mats for most types of yoga.
Ultra Double Thickness Mats
These yoga mats are basically sticky mats that are ultra thick. They provide both stability and cushioning which is useful in certain poses. They can be a great choice for Astanga practitioners who often jump from one pose to another. I personally love the ultra thick mats because of the extra cushioning they provide. It is the only type I take with me to classes.
This type of yoga mat is great to throw in your suitcase or carryon luggage when you are on the go, so you can practice no matter where you are. Travel yoga mats are very thin. You would use one either on a carpeted floor or on top of a towel or blanket on a floor that isn't carpeted.
These yoga mats are excellent for those types of yoga that traditionally cause you to sweat a lot such as Astanga or Bikram. Because they absorb sweat, they help keep you from slipping and sliding during these heat-producing practices. They work best when they are sprinkled with a small amount of water. The damp mat gives you a good amount of traction so your hands and feet stay where you place them. Many of them have lines in the patterns, which can help with your body alignment.
Cotton mats also provide cushioning. They can substitute for blankets by helping to bolster your body during certain asanas. Some people use cotton mats over sticky mats during their practice.
Yoga Mat Bag
A yoga mat bag is a great accessory for carrying your yoga mat or mats to class, work, or anywhere else you need to go. Many have extra space where you can put your keys, water bottle, and tee shirt. The bag protects your mat and helps make it easier for you to transport your yoga gear.
Now that you know about the different yoga mats that are available and what each one does, you choose the right mat or mats for you.