Shopping for a new yoga mat? When there’s so much choice available it can be hard to know where to start. Add in the complication that some days you’re sweating it out in Ashtanga and other days it’s all about Yin, it’s hard to decide which mat is the perfect one for you. Finding the right kind of surface for your sun salutations, depends on some key questions – which type of yoga do you practice regularly, where do you practice, how much do you sweat and how much cushioning you require?
At Calmia, we’ve spent the last fifteen years, developing all kinds of mats for all kinds of yogis. Read through the questions below designed to help you create a yoga mat short-list. Once you have narrowed down things a little, then you can think about the exciting things like colours and prints! Let’s get going….
What kind of yoga do you practice (most of the time)?
The form of yoga that you practice most often is always a good starting point. If you are strict Ashtanga or vinyasa flow devotee you will need a mat with excellent grip. If you attend a regular Iyengar class - a well-cushioned mat that provides enough support while you hold your pose and correct your alignment is vital. If you love restorative and yin sessions, you need a thick, soft mat so you can relax and release. So think about which type of yoga you do MOST of the time.
Ashtanga/Vinyasa Flow/Hot Yoga: Daily Practice Eco Yoga Mat, Ultra-Grip Vinyasa Mat, Flow Eternal Lotus Yoga Mat
Where do you practice yoga?
If you have an established yoga practice, you’ll have a good idea of where you do most of your downward dogs. If you like practicing in the comfort of your own home, then you can use a mat that’s thicker, heavier, and takes up more space. If you’re a yogi that loves to practice in a yoga studio, then you need a yoga mat that falls right in the middle – not too thin, but not too bulky or heavy either so you can carry it around with you. If you travel frequently for work or often pop off for weekends away or on holiday, you need a yoga mat that’s super lightweight and easy to pack, so you can take your yoga practice wherever you go.
At the yoga studio or gym: lightweight, printed Eco Yoga Mats or Eco Reversible Yoga Mats can easily be toted around in an Eternal Lotus Yoga Mat Sling. Alternatively, choose an Eternal Lotus Yoga Towel - lightweight, foldable and washable, pop one into your bag and then roll it out over one of the mats at your local gym or studio so you can practice on a clean surface.
Away from home: Eco Lite Reversible Yoga Mat, Eternal Lotus Eco Travel Mat, Eco-friendlyDouble-Sided Travel Mat
How often do you practice?
Even if you are a yoga newbie attending a beginner class once a week, you’ll still need a mat to get you started on your yoga journey. It doesn’t have to be a top of the range, heavy-duty one but it’s a good idea to buy your own mat – something mid-level and not too heavy with a good grip to get you started with perhaps an inspiring print or in a colour you just love. If you’re a more experienced yogi, you will probably be practicing more frequently, even daily, which means you should invest in a more durable mat that will last you longer.
Daily yoga: Daily Practice Mat,Ultra Grip Vinyasa Mat
How much do you sweat?
If your practice is slow and restorative, you might not sweat at all so features like ultra-grip and non-slip are not relevant to you but if you practice a faster, flowing form of yoga such as Ashtanga, vinyasa or dynamic they are key and if you practice hot yoga – finding a mat that is slip and sweat resistant is a must. The most technically-advanced of our mats deal with sweat in two ways. Firstly, we have Natural Rubber Mats that work with closed-cell technology – that is your sweat sits on the surface of the mat and you simply brush it off as you move through your asanas or wipe it away. Then, we have open-cell super grip mats, which work by absorbing your perspiration.
Yogi tip: if you already have a mat but have recently progressed to a more fast-paced, sweaty practice you might want to consider buying a yoga towel to lay over your current mat to absorb perspiration.
Do you need comfort and support?
Deciding on the depth of your mat is very much down to personal preference and often only comes with trial and experience. If you suffer with your joints (wrists or knees) and practice a slower pace of yoga and perform lots of long, deep stretches you’re probably better with added cushioning and support from a TPE mat or thicker eco mat. On the other hand, if you like to feel grounded to the earth beneath and find yourself wobbling a lot of balancing poses, a thinner, firmer mat is probably better for you.
Thicker, cushioned mats: Eco Reversible Yoga Mat (TPE), Daily Practice Mat
Thinner mats: all 6P free Eco Yoga Mats
Do you want your mat to be made sustainably?
As yogis, we care about the environment. An aspect of our yoga practice is ahimsa, or non-violence, and this concept applies as much to mother earth as it does to our own bodies. Once you’ve found a yoga mat that fulfills your first five questions, make sure it passes the final test of sustainability. At Calmia, all the mats we make are made from eco-friendly, recycled or repurposed materials.
For further advice, take a look at our yoga mat guide If you have any more questions about choosing your mat or have advice you can share with your fellow yogis please get in touch and email us at email@example.com