Yoga is a fantastic way to lose fat and strengthen your muscles. It also helps you control your breathing and relax. I've yet to find any other form of physical activity that can do all of this! But just like any other exercise, you need the right equipment and in yoga it all comes down to your mat. Since your entire yoga practice is done on a mat, the quality, make, and feel is incredibly important.
Seriously, don't go for the cheapest option here. A cheap mat will stretch as you stretch, you'll slip as most mats don't absorb any moisture, it will fall to pieces in a few weeks and will smell foul!
Get a decent mat and just roll with it!!
Things to consider:
Size matters or thickness in this case. Most mats range from 1.5mm to 5mm and everyone has a different preference. Whether you like them thin, thick, or mattress-like, it comes down to how you like your mat to feel underneath you.
Some people love to feel rooted to the ground during poses so a thin mat is perfect and is also very easy to travel with. You can use it on its own or layer it on top of a studio mat and you can double it over to protect your knees and head when needed.
Some like the extra cushioned support of a thick mat, especially if they have bad joints or pain. A standard mat is about 3mm but keep in mind they tend to wear down over time. If you notice you're wobbling in certain postures or can’t keep your feet flat, your mat might be too thick.
Have you ever tried to do yoga without a mat? I have for about 5 mins as i saw someone else doing it with chalked up hands and feet. No. Not for me. I still slipped all over the place despite the chalk plus i like knee support. It takes a lot of additional effort to try not to slip and the yoga classes are difficult enough. Texture is essentially the main reason why we use yoga mats. Texture gives you traction so you can explore your poses without worrying about slipping and hurting something or someone. Generally, the stickiness of a yoga mat is enough to keep it in place, but if you’re finding the sweat from hot yoga is making you slip, try one made with a polyurethane top layer that absorbs moisture to help you get a grip during a sweaty practice. I take my own mat to class as i don't like using studio mats. I don't want other people's sweaty germs. No offence..
I love practising on a Manduka mat at home and use this mat. Its 3mm thick and non slip so gives me confidence I won't slip. At home I pick a practice from Yogaglo and off I go. I have a few fav teachers who i like to follow. Let me know if you want any guidance on teachers.
For yogis in the know, yoga mats don’t come any better than Manduka or with a polyurethane top layer. Peeling and flaking yoga mats are a thing of the past thanks to the high quality materials and slip resistant technology. They're so long- lasting that they even come with a lifetime guarantee. Bonus.
You can get funky if you want to and opt for a printed mat. After all, you spend an hour or more at a time planted on your little island of mat, so you want it to be a source of positivity and happiness and a plain black mat might not be the hue to do it for you. If a style, colour and pattern you love can bring you little bursts of joy throughout your practice, then go for it.
The ideal companion especially in a Restorative yoga class. I prefer this rectangular variation to the cylindrical bolster as it offers greater width and a flatter surface for supine postures. The long, flat surface supports the whole back and can also be used to raise the hips in seated postures and for support in shoulder stand variations. Place under your knees in savasana for a completely supported finish to your practice. This being the most important pose of them all to soak up all your great work.
Always cork blocks for me. The wooden versions just don't cut it as they're never there when you need them. Your sweaty hand slips off just when you're trying a new advanced pose. Plus they have no traction with the floor. The cork blocks are reliable and are always supportive. Three height options too which is handy.
and when you're finished....
MANDUKA MAT - Will transform your yoga practice.
LULULEMON - The Reversible Mat 1.5mm up to 5mm. Take your pick.
STRAPS - Use to aid your practice and wrap your mat. Double adapter!
BOLSTER - So nice and relaxing as part of a Restorative practice or in Savasana.