It’s easy to think that yoga mats are only for those who practice hot yoga or Iyengar. But they can be used in many other types of classes, like vinyasa flow, and even for the occasional home workout.
If you want to know how to use a yoga mat, here is everything you need to know about them.
What Is A Yoga Mat?
A yoga mat is a thin piece of material that is placed on top of a hard floor (like wood) and it provides more cushion than a towel would.
The most popular type of yoga mat today is made from rubber (usually natural latex), which is why this article will focus mostly on rubber mats. However, there are some benefits to using a foam or cork mat as well.
When buying a new yoga mat, make sure to buy one that is thick enough to support your weight while doing poses. The thickness of a mat can vary, but a good rule of thumb is at least 3/4-inch thick if you weigh 140 pounds or less, and about 1-1/2 inches thick if you weigh over 140 pounds. Also, make sure the mat is thick enough so that it won’t become uncomfortable after extended periods of time. If it becomes uncomfortable after a few hours, you may not be getting the full benefit out of it!
Another important thing to consider when looking for a mat is its durability. Some people prefer mats that aren’t too expensive, but have a low quality, since they don’t care as much about whether their yoga mat holds up over time. Others prefer higher-quality mats that last longer and cost a bit more money. It’s best to go with what feels comfortable for you.
Types Of Rubber Yoga Mats
There are three main types of yoga mats:
Latex Yoga Mat –
Latex yoga mats come in both single and double layers. They are usually thicker than other types of mats because they contain natural latex. Some yoga studios also offer these mats in a special “smooth” version, which makes them smoother and easier to clean. These mats are thicker, heavier, and more durable than standard yoga mats.
Therapy Yoga Mat –
Therapy yoga mats are similar to regular yoga mats, except they often include therapeutic features like deep grooves or ridges. This allows you to receive extra traction in certain poses by gripping the mat, especially when balancing yourself on all four limbs during poses like downward dog.
Pillow Pad Yoga Mat –
Pillow pad yoga mats are typically sold as a set with two pads that measure approximately 10 x 12 inches each. Because these mats are soft and squishy, they provide a lot more cushioning than other mats and are perfect for stretching exercises, restorative poses, and other movements where you need to be more supported. Some yoga studios also sell pillow pad yoga mats separately.
Buying Your First Yoga Mat
Once you decide that you want to get into yoga, the next step is to purchase your first mat. There are several things to keep in mind when purchasing a yoga mat:
Make sure you buy a mat that fits your size. There isn’t a right or wrong size, but you should avoid buying a mat that is too small, and you shouldn’t buy a mat that is too large, either.
Another thing to consider when buying a yoga mat is its thickness. Thicker mats are better when you weigh more than 140 pounds. Thin mats tend to break down quickly, especially if they are in direct contact with the ground.
Durable mats are great for yoga class because they last longer, hold up better over time, and generally feel more supportive than cheaper mats. The downside is that they are more expensive.
Many yoga mats are made of rubber, but there are other options available, such as foam mats or cork mats. Cork mats are softer, but they are also lighter. It’s a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer the feeling of cork versus rubber because it doesn’t give off the same heat that rubber does during hot classes.
Finally, make sure you choose a mat that has a nice balance between weight and price. Don’t pay too much for a heavy mat that is too expensive, but don’t skimp on the price tag because you need something sturdy that lasts a long time!
Don’t forget to check out our list of yoga clothing and gear to help you stay stylish and safe in your yoga practice!
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