fbpx

3 Key Yoga Mat Variables to Consider for Your Dayton Yoga Practice

Your yoga mat is an oasis in the desert of the daily grind. Combined, your yoga practice and yoga mat create a symbolic place and literal space where you can disconnect from the external and connect to the internal. 

In the early days of yoga asana, practitioners used soft grass or whatever cloth or animal skin they had around. My first yoga mat was made of slippery PVC and cost about $10. Over time, it started to leave little foam bits that peeled off onto the floor after every vigorous sun salutation, and the once-vibrant blue has acquired a noticeable gray/brown hue. And while I’ve moved on to a better quality mat, I have kept that one because nostalgia.

So while you still may be unrolling the same yoga mat you bought on a whim before trying your first yoga class (gotta love durability and respect loyalty), or you’re on your 12th yoga mat, or perhaps you are now in the market for your very first one—Welcome!

No matter the yogi, it’s a good idea to keep the following variables in mind when choosing this essential companion for the many future practices on your yoga journey.

Yoga mat dimensions

Thickness

In general, you want your mat to be firm yet cushion-y. The standard mat thickness falls between ⅛ and ¼ inch (3-6mm).

If you tend toward a more active yoga practice like vinyasa or power yoga, then a thinner mat will increase stability in the more intense standing and balancing poses.

If your practice tends to be more restorative, therapeutic, and slower paced, where you hold poses for a longer amount of time, then a thicker mat will provide the extra softness and cushion for tender joints. Keep in mind though that the extra thickness could add a squishiness that you sink into, which may create an extra challenge for standing balancing poses.

Length / Width

The standard mat usually ranges between 68” x 24” to 72” x 26”. If you are over 6 feet tall you may want to consider the Extra Long options which can usually go up to 79 inches or more in some cases. We suggest The Big Mat from lululemon, which is a whopping 84″ long. We always have one in stock in our Ignite Yoga retail shop!

Weight

Most mats weigh between 2.5 to 5 lbs. This, along with the previously mentioned dimensions, are important to consider with regard to portability. 

If you usually practice outside of your home, and have to carry your mat around, then you may prefer a lightweight, easy-to-roll-up or foldable mat for transport on-the-go or to pack in your suitcase for trips. But if you’re driving to your destination anyhow, to your local studio or the park, then this isn’t much of an issue.

On a related note, you may also want to consider buying a mat that includes a handle or carrying case, or you can purchase one separately at most places that sell yoga supplies, but don’t forget to check that the dimensions fit the carrier!

Yoga Mat Material

When it comes to choosing the material composition of your mat, you’ll want to consider durability, eco-friendliness, cleanability (some offer a hygienic closed-cell surface, or have anti-microbial and anti-mold additives), and grip.

Natural materials 

  • Rubber: biodegradable, good grip, but heavier
  • Cork: antibacterial, less grip when dry, but doesn’t travel well
  • Cotton: biodegradable, washable, but retains sweat
    • Pros: eco-friendly, biodegradable, sustainable, offers some body traction
    • Cons: doesn’t stick well to the floor, less durable over time

PVC: perhaps the most common material used to make yoga mats

  • Pros: it sticks to the floor well and doesn’t slide, cleans easy, is durable
  • Cons: some are not eco-friendly, can become slippery with sweat

TPE/polyurethane: contains rubber polymers and plastic

  • Pros: can be recyclable, offers solid traction
  • Cons: less durable than PVC

Grip

The grip of a mat is often related to the material of the mat, but it’s one of those variables that you may only notice once you’re already using the mat in practice and realize you’re missing it!  Many of us have been there before—you start out the practice fine, and then that first Downward Facing Dog leaves your hands sliding forward and your feet sliding back with zero traction until you find yourself down in plank pose.

For yogis who favor practices that are slower and more grounded, like hatha, yin, or restorative yoga, grip may not be as important. But it’s essential for those of us who have a more strenuous and dynamic practice, like vinyasa and power yoga. A non-slip mat design is absolutely key when sweat becomes inevitable.

For traction, some mats rely on texture, while others may utilize a polyurethane coating—take your pick to get some stickiness.

Yoga Mat Aesthetics 

Now this variable may strike you either as “super!” because visual beauty in one’s surroundings is vital and something to always consider and value in our lives.

OR 

This may strike you as super—fluous or super—ficial. And of course, no one should pick their mat based on the cuteness factor first. 

But once the research is done with regard to the above-mentioned variables of materials and dimensions, then it may be important for some yogis to consider that their mat is something that they will presumably be seeing on (hopefully!) a daily basis for years to come.

There are yoga mats of all styles, designs, patterns, prints, and colors. An aspect to consider in particular is the symbolism and psychology of color, which is deeply rooted in our minds due to subconscious cultural and biological conditioning our whole lives.

Interestingly though, the same color can have virtually opposite connotations depending on the tone and brightness, which can act as a double-edged sword. According to True Value Paint, “Warm colors like red, yellow and orange can produce feelings of warmth or aggressiveness, while cool colors like green and blue can be calming or depressing.”

Just be sure to choose something that you find inspiring and delightful. Or simply pick your favorite color and then check out what your yoga mat color says about youit’s fun! 

Our Fave Yoga Mats Available at Ignite Yoga in Dayton

These mats have been described as “indestructible,” and the Manduka ones even come with a 10-year warranty, so if quality and durability are what you’re looking for, you can find the following mats available for sale in our in-studio boutique:

Lululemon ‘The Mat’ 

  • 5mm thick
  • 71″ x 26″
  • 5.25 lbs
  • rubber with polyurethane coating
  • Sustainability: “Our products [contain fibers that are] recycled, renewable, regenerative, sourced responsibly, or some combination thereof, and/or are manufactured using low-resource processes.”
  • Why we love it: this mat has a good thickness and density to support the joints, and it is the best at providing a non-slip grip
  • Downside: this yoga mat needs replaced every 2-5 years depending on your frequency of practice

Manduka Pro Yoga Mat

  • 6mm thick
  • 71″ x 26″
  • 7.5lbs
  • polyurethane
  • Sustainability: “manufactured through a process that ensures no toxic emissions are released into the atmosphere.”
  • Why we love it: this mat will last you a lifetime and is like a good pair of leather shoes—the more you use it, the better it gets!
  • Downside: it’s heavy to carry and takes a while to break-in

Manduka Prolite Yoga Mat 

  • 4.7mm
  • 71″ x 24″
  • 4lbs
  • polyurethane
  • Sustainability: “manufactured through a process that ensures no toxic emissions are released into the atmosphere.”
  • Why we love it: it’s lighter than the Manduka Pro Mat and similarly gets better the more you use it
  • Downside: it takes many practices to break it in and is a little narrow for some practitioners

Our Fave Yoga Mats Available Online

Yoga Lab Design

  • 3.5 – 5.5mm
  • 70″ x 24″
  • 7lbs
  • Rubber and Microfiber
  • Sustainability: “Recycled PET microfiber top layer is made
    using 15 plastic bottles. Base layer is made with sustainable,
    non-Amazonian natural tree rubber. All of our beautiful designs are
    printed with water-based inks”
  • Why we love it: this mat is beautiful to look at and combines the yoga mat and hot yoga towel into one item 
  • Downside: the thicker mat is a bit heavy and the top layer towel can be slippery when not dampened with water or sweat
 

Liforme Yoga Mat

  •  4.2mm
  • 72.8″ x 26.7″
  • 5.5lbs
  • polyurethane
  • Sustainability: “Liforme incorporates the most ‘body kind’ specially engineered eco-polyurethane and rubber. These mats are PVC free, biodegradable in 1-5 years in normal landfill conditions and made using high quality non-toxic materials that keep the mat clean and hygienic.”
  • Why we love it: they come in fun colors, have an alignment pattern to help with your poses, and are eco-friendly
  • Downside: they have a higher price point than most yoga mats

Your Dayton Yoga Practice

After the careful consideration of factors based on your body, the type of yoga you practice, and your location for use, in the end, the best yoga mat for you is the one that allows you to DO YOGA.

Be sure to check out our in-studio boutique at Ignite Yoga Dayton before and after classes, as well as during regular retail hours for the yoga mats we have in stock to fit your needs and yoga practice.

Our yoga mats are the magic carpets that we roll out to support and assist us on our yoga journey, but all you truly need is your body and your breath.

Happy practicing!

Read more like this...

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Connect

SIgn up for our Newsletter

Get inspiring content to keep you going. 

Newsletter Signups


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Ignite Yoga, 669 Miamisburg Centerville Rd, Dayton, OH, 45459, http://www.igniteyogadayton.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Claim Your New Student Special Today!

Get 30 Days for $40!