Though it’s true that you don’t need a yoga mat, this a prop that I would highly recommend. If you’re on a hard floor, a yoga mat can add some cushion for your joints. Even if you’re already on a rug, yoga mats are made out of materials that help reduce the slipping that can happen on a floor or rug.
The price of a yoga mat ranges pretty drastically. You can pick up a very basic mat at any department store for $20-$30. This is a great option for beginners! Gaiam is one well known company that produces a wide range of cheap, starter yoga mats in this range. Once you’ve used it, you’ll get a better idea of what you want in a mat. At that point, there’s a few different options you can consider:
- Lighter travel mats: If you’re often doing yoga on-the-go, you may want to consider a thinner mat that rolls up smaller and is easier to carry around.
- No Slip mats: If you find yourself slipping around a lot, especially if it’s due to sweat, you could try looking for a mat that specializes in keeping you stable. Try searching for mats that boast no-slip or wet grip features. You can also try searching for mats specifically made for hot yoga.
- High density mats: Are your knees or elbows killing you when you’re down on your mat? Consider a high density mat. These mats are thicker than your average yoga mat, which means they’re not great for balance and may not be the most slip resistant, but they give a lot of extra cushion to your joints. I personally keep a high density mat around for when I’m feeling achy, or if I have a minor joint injury. An extra tip: these are great to lay on for meditation as well!
- Eco-friendly mats: The rubber content of yoga mats can leave many feeling put-off by the whole idea. If that’s how you feel, try looking for an eco-friendly yoga mat that uses a natural rubber and leaves no landfill footprint.
- Extra long: Are you always hanging off the end of your mat? Many companies produce extra long yoga mats for our taller yogis in the audience.
If you find that you don’t have a need for any extra features in your yoga mat, you may simply want to upgrade to a higher quality mat. Higher quality comes with a higher price, but will likely last significantly longer for a yogi who’s practicing fairly frequently. Manduka and Lululemon tend to be two of the most popular brands of high-end yoga mats in the industry currently, and come highly recommended. Personally, I use a Blogilates yoga mat which I’ve been very happy with. Take your time and shop around and read reviews. If your local studio has a certain yoga mat that you’re in love with, ask them if they sell it or know where you can acquire one.
Beginners, don’t get overwhelmed. If you’re just getting started, go out to your local store and buy yourself a nice, cheap yoga mat. You absolutely don’t need a $100 mat to start a home practice. It’s likely that you’ll upgrade down the road, but that just means you’ll have two mats, one of you and one for a friend you want to get addicted to yoga!
Do you have a favorite brand of yoga mat, or any other tips for someone on the hunt? Leave them in the comments below!