Yoga mat shopping is so exciting! Whether you’re just getting into yoga or you’ve been practicing for a while, the sheer volume of options out there can be overwhelming. A yoga mat is an investment in your practice, and yourself, so where do you start? Here are a few suggestions:
Know Your Budget
You can spend anywhere from 20 to hundreds of dollars for a new yoga mat. Although there is likely to be an increase in material quality as the price goes up, one of the best things about yoga is that it’s accessible to anyone. The truth is, yoga was practiced for thousands of years before yoga mats were even a thing. In fact, yogis in India still practice without a mat! Besides, coveting the fanciest mat to show off in class or spending your yoga practice worrying about your overdraft isn't particularly yogic. So, decide how much you feel comfortable spending and stick to it.
Consider Your Needs
Both the type of yoga you practice and your lifestyle will affect your choice. If you travel a lot, go for something lightweight that rolls up easily and is less bulky to carry. For Ashtanga yogis, you’ll want something durable to withstand all those vinyasas. If you’re into Yin yoga or Restorative yoga, you might seek out a softer, more cushioned mat. You can even get yoga mats that are more like small futons - although they’re not ideal for carting around, but practicing Restorative yoga asanas on them can feel dreamy.
Be Aware of Your Preferences
Different people have different tastes when it comes to yoga mats, even if they do the same type of yoga. To practice Vinyasa yoga for example, some yogis like a particularly sticky mat to give them good grip and traction. Others prefer something smoother, so they can slide into poses.
Try Before You Buy
If you can try out a yoga mat and practice on it a little before you invest, it’s well worth it. There aren’t many stores that are likely to let you do this, so your best bet is to try out the mats at your local studio, or borrow the ones you're interested in from friends. Get a feel for what you like and what works for your personal yoga practice.
Do Your Research
If you can't try before you buy, do some online research on yoga mats, particularly if you’re investing a lot of money. Read reviews and find out the pros and cons of different mats. Remember that other people’s preferences might be different than yours, but their advice can be invaluable. Once you’ve chosen your mat, it’s worth shopping around to find the best deal. There can be a lot of variation in price between different suppliers, so make sure you stick with a reputable company.