Finding the right yoga mat can be hard to navigate with so many choices out there.
A yoga mat is a yoga mat, right? Yeah not so much.
For some it is great to walk into a department store and grab a mat and be done.
For others it can be a little trickier.
Here are a few things to consider when purchasing your mat.
What style of yoga are you using your mat for? Is it hot yoga? Outdoor yoga? HIIT?
How often will you be using your mat? Are you looking for longer mat? Do you prefer a thick or thin mat?
Often you don't even realize your practice can improve when you have the right mat. Perhaps you use a mat from the studio and realize you had better grip, the mat was thicker, longer. maybe you just liked the aesthetics.
Hot yoga can be tough not to slip on your mat, for this style I suggest a grippy mat that doesn't get slippery when wet, same goes for HIIT, Power Yoga. A nice thick mat for Nidra is also a great option. At the studios we like to use Bmats, we use Bmat strong for Buti classes, HIIT and Nidra. Other great mats are Lululemon 5mm or the Big Mat, Manduka Pro offers a 6mm mat as well. Jade has a Fusion XW. These mats come in a variety of colours and patterns. They can be a costly investment, and have weight to them due to the thickness, but the ability to hold your poses, align and have better grip is totally worth it.
If you are using your mat for inversions or flow, a mat that is 3-4 mm in thickness is great for this purpose, it will help you stabilize your poses and able to grip with your fingers to the floor. We use Bmat everyday for these classes. Lululemon has a 3mm mat that is comparable. Manduka has Pro Lite or their travel mat, Jade has the Harmony XW.
When it comes to the outdoors the grass can make it an uneven surface, if you are doing inversions maybe for go the mat or use a thin mat. 3mm will also work. If the weather is hot I would suggest a light coloured mat or cork mat, cork mats do not absorb the heat, black mats can get to hot to touch.
If your lucky enough to be doing yoga on the beach a towel or blanket will do.
To summarize the factors of picking a mat that works for you.
Thickness-great for those classes you need cushion.
Material-cork, rubber, eco friendly
Stickiness-grip for those poses you hold and do not want to slip
Price range- what is your budget?
Aesthetics-what draws you to your mat? the colour? pattern?
This is just my opinion on yoga mats that I have experienced in my practice.
If you are unsure of what mat works for you try different mats at your local studios, maybe borrow from a friend to find that perfect mat that helps you connect to your practice.