Just like in all other things, you get what you have paid for. A less-expensive yoga mat might wear out quicker, slip when you sweat, or not have enough support. It does not mean that you need to purchase the most expensive mat in the market. It only means that you need to take time to find the mat that is right for you and your practice. Unlike other props, such as apparel or towels that are most commonly replaced, most people can use the same mat for a longer amount of time, assuming the mat is of good quality and durability. Investing a little more in your yoga mat can save you more in the long run, not to mention have a more positive impact on the earth. Some of the reasons why it is important to have a quality yoga mat are as follows:
- You are honoring your practice – Your yoga mat should be a sacred space. You must feel clear and at your best when you are on your mat, like the divine goddess, or warrior within. It’s important to respect that space inside-out so you can focus on authentically diving within. Now, what if your mat is falling apart? What if you are sliding because of your sweat? What if you are not be able to focus on your practice, and thereby, defeating your purpose of coming to your mat? Is that honoring to your practice?
- Unconditional support – Have you ever come out of a pose early due to the pressure that it has been putting on your body or joints? Perhaps you have even had to fold your mat over in order to find a comfortable position. It means that your mat is not dense enough. Check the cushioning and thickness just like you would check the sole of running shoes. Your yoga mat should be able to guide and support you comfortably in any pose.
- Size matters – Just like people, mats come in different lengths, sizes, and weights. Be certain that you would select one that can support your preference. The more cushion your mat has, the heavier it will get. It would be fine for yogis who have transportation to class or practice at home, but might not be ideal for trekking around the town. Fortunately, high quality yoga mats provide a nice balance of convenience & comfort.
- Stability – Regardless if you are practicing vinyasa flow, hot yoga, or kundalini, you need stability that you can rely on. If you sweat more excessively in hot yoga or live in humid climates, you may not be able to avoid some slipping, but a quality mat coupled with a quality yoga towel, can minimize the slippage drastically.
- Environment Consciousness – The way your mat is created and what material it is made of are also important for your health and for the wellness of the environment. Aside from the fact that quality material is going to last longer, requiring you to consume less frequently, mats made of more-environmentally friendly components can help in the reduction of landfill waste and the effects of production, as well as reduce the toxins you are exposed to.