If you’re like me, you think of your yoga mat as your best friend. It encourages you through challenges, it’s there to celebrate and share your victories, and it’s that safe space you can come to at any time. It should feel like a little island you want to call home for every practice. Like your practice, your yoga mat should be one that you invest in, one that you keep coming back to, and one that supports you through every inhale and exhale.
The most important features in a good mat includes:
Durability and longevity — A yoga mat’s ability to withstand even the toughest of practices over time.
Comfort and support — Just enough cushioning for your joints can reduce squirming in kneeling postures and provide padding for impact, but not so much that it compromises support.
Stability — A firm, dense mat can help you feel stable throughout standing and balancing poses.
Portability — Consider how much travel you will be doing with your mat. A mat’s weight and size will dictate whether or not it is toteable. Since most people walk, bike, and travel to class, an easy-to-carry mat is an important feature.
Traction and stickiness — It’s important for a mat to provide traction both to keep you from slipping and in staying connected to the ground. The last thing you want is for your mat to function as a Slip N’ Slide.
Texture — Mats have different surfaces, but most yogis agree that it’s best to have a mat that feels most natural.
Environmental consideration — Buying an eco-friendly yoga mat is important to many practitioners. If this holds true to you, consider purchasing a mat made from all-natural materials.
Size — Your yoga mat should cover the length and width of your entire body. Not every yoga mat comes in various widths and sizes, so make sure to check measurements before purchasing.
Reviews.com recently compiled a study on mats that you can see here. Don’t be afraid to test a few mats on your own and ask around before making a purchase—because when a yoga mat feels just right for you, it can make all the difference in your practice, and thus your life. Happy practicing!