The origins of yoga can be traced back to some thousand years ago in ancient India. The practice of yoga goes beyond the many physical poses and exercises – its main goal is to deliver a deeply spiritual balance and help create a strong connection between the mind and the body. Yoga has a major role in both physical and mental therapy and the whole practice consists of various postures or poses that work on both mental and physical level.
Yoga poses not only have the purpose to stretch and tone your body, but they can also calm and focus your mind as well. The postures are divided into several basic categories including standing (for strength), seated (for balance), supine (for flexibility), prone (for energy), and twisting poses ( for stretching). To do these the right way and reap the benefits of your practice, you need a quality and comfortable yoga mat which can make a great difference in the quality of the practice.
Mats are an important part of the yoga practice, so today there is a huge variety of them, making it easier to find one in accordance to your style and preference. The mat actually has a dual purpose – it is the perfect foundation to master the art of yoga, and it also helps define your personal space. Nevertheless, there are some important factors to bear in mind before you buy yoga mat.
There is no doubt that colour and design are the first things that catch the attention when shopping for pretty much anything, and mats are no exception having in mind that they come in a vast variety of colours such as red, orange, purple, green, blue, yellow and many more. But you definitely shouldn’t make a choice based only on design and colour. To help you score the best deal, here are all the features you need to consider before you buy yoga mat.
The material from which the mat is made can have a great influence on the way you do your practice, for this reason you should carefully consider all the different options. The standard material for most models of mats is PVC, also known as vinyl. It is a popular choice due to the fact that is is highly resistant and provides a great level of comfort. Foam mats are another popular option. These are made from natural materials and as a result are often considered as the eco-friendly version of PVC models. One downside of foam mats is that they contain latex and are not the ideal choice for people with allergies. Cotton mats are eco-friendly as well, they are highly absorbent and offer a great grip. Considering the fact that these mats are very thin, they are often used on top of other mats.
While the material determines the quality and the texture of the mat, it is the thickness that defines how comfortable your mat is going to be. The thickest mats provide the best comfort and support. While they do come with a lot of cushioning, they are also the heaviest, won’t fit easily in your yoga bag which makes them less portable. Mats with medium thickness on the other hand, are the ideal combination of practical features and performance. These offer the necessary cushioning and are light enough so you can easily take them to the yoga studio.
Another essential factor that can have a great influence on the quality of your practice is the stickiness of the mat. This basically refers to the ability of the mat to prevent slipping and sliding when doing all the different postures. Different models offer different level of stickiness and in this case, PVC models are the best choice. They have a special surface that is designed to prevent slipping and feature a patterned texture on the bottom of the mat.