With the increased interest people now take in yoga, it's no wonder that the market has been flooded with all sorts of products and accessories dedicated to yoga practice. Advertisements with the best yoga mat have become more than common; the so-called “best” mats often vary in price and quality. If you are buying a yoga mat for the first time, you may not know how to choose one. Yoga mats provide some cushion between the floor and your body, as well as, delineate personal space in a yoga class. Our yoga mats can also help to remind us of our commitment to practice when we see them rolled up by the door.
There are lots of options for yoga mats, and many factors to consider when choosing your mat. There are so many brands, names, sizes, colors, materials, thickness, etc., how do you know what's right for you? With the number of yoga mats on the market and it can be overwhelming making that choice of what to look for. Here are my top 6 tips to help you make a choice:
Eco friendly: Many basic yoga mats that you might find at your local retailer contain PVC and/or latex. Latex can be an issue for people with latex allergies. As for PVC, there is some evidence that links PVC exposure to certain illnesses like asthma. Considering how much of our yoga practice involves putting our faces and hands on and near our mats, it may be worth the extra money to buy a yoga mat made from materials like sustainable harvested rubber.
Good grip: A good grip is the most important function of a mat, so it’s important to test it before buying. There are many mats on the market which are designed for physical therapy or Pilates, so buy one specified for yoga practice. Some people sweat a lot from the style of yoga they practice like Ashtanga or Vinyasa flow; here it’s important that your hands and feet do not allow you to slide. Try a downward-facing dog, it’s THE grip test.
Thickness: Depending on the style of yoga you practice or if you have previous injuries (like your knees, back, elbows) you may be better suited to buy a thicker mat with proper padding. Though Table and Downward Dog positions don’t require much cushioning, other forms of yoga need some lining to maintain a proper balance. Extra thickness provides more cushioning for the joints especially when practicing on wooden floors however a thicker mat can prove more unstable in balance postures. Be warned, there are many cheap mats out there that say they are 6-7mm thick however the density of these mats are often very low meaning they offer little or no extra cushioning. A good tip is to check the weight of the mat to try to judge density.
Size: A standard size yoga mat is around 61cm wide and 180cm long. If you are tall like myself, you may want a longer mat that’s 68cm wide and 185cm long. Also be sure to look for an extra-long mat bag to carry it in.
Price: It’s up to you how much you want to spend on a yoga mat If you can, it is better to spend a reasonable amount on your yoga mat especially if you use it every day or if you plan to use it often for yoga classes, plus some more expensive mats will last longer than a few yoga practices. Less expensive mats may be made with less sturdy material or be made of PVC, which may disintegrate after a few sessions. Prices vary for different patterns, textures, thickness, antimicrobial treatments and eco-friendliness.
Understanding your style of yoga and your body's needs are the first steps to picking a mat that can best support you. Remember: it’s what takes place on the mat that matters most. For more information on finding a great yoga mat for your practice, check out this guide: https://www.reviews.com/best-yoga-mats. See you on YOUR mat!
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a very old way of life that came from India that encourages personal health, spirituality and wellness. It doesn’t clash with any religion but does have an influence on our spiritual path. Hatha based or alignment Yoga has been around for approximately 5000 years. More and more medical practitioners and therapists are using Yoga as a remedy for many kinds of poor health conditions. The rewards of Yoga practice are numerous and consist of increased strength and flexibility, cardiovascular vigor, healing injuries, produces mental clarity and emotional balance.
To begin practice you need discipline, concentration and attentive breathing. The effect of serious Yoga practice is a union of mind, body and spirit. No matter your age, knowledge, body shape, or physical skills,you can implement a Yoga program.
Is yoga a religion?
Yoga is a philosophy, not a religion, though it does have a spiritual component. You do not need to be religious to practice. It has been practiced by individuals of widely differing beliefs. In order to practice, you only need to believe in the possibility that we can transform ourselves, that there is always more to learn, and that there is a better way to approach life than the old habits that tie us down. At the heart is the openness to see we have not yet tapped into our highest potential as human beings. Yoga seeks to put us in touch with our spiritual core; that which who we truly are.
How is yoga different from stretching?
The aim of yoga is body awareness, and internalization of the awareness. In the very beginning, yoga was not about the body, asanas were practiced only as a tool of moving meditation.
Today, asanas, flexibility, stretching and technique seems much more important in the practice, but one should never forget the true purpose of yoga. Yoga is more than a stretching, its ideal for your mind, body, and spirit.
Should I practice Yoga?
Anyone can practice yoga; from athletes to runners, the flexible, the not so flexible, young, old and everyone in-between. Yoga requires the perfect positioning of your body; as you hold the poses you develop physical strength and stabilize your emotional and mental condition. This does not happen overnight, but when you practice daily you will begin to see results and any health problems you may have had will soon dissipate.
If your long term goal is to reclaim your energy, health and dynamism, then yoga is for you. Yoga exercise is a perfectly balanced program that can be started by anyone from age 8 to 80. Your practice can be made more challenging as you progress or take it easy on days which you are fatigued.
Why do I hear people saying “Om”?
OM is said to be the sound of the universe. It is a symbol of our connection to all living things and beings. It is a way to seal in the lessons of the yoga class. It is however, quite new to some students, and you not required to participate.
Why should I practice yoga?
There are so many benefits of practicing yoga. Here are just a few:
Yoga is a practice that is a physical exercise, helping improve toning, stamina, posture, strength, balance and flexibility, as well as a discipline that helps you de-stress, relax, feel healthier and more energetic.
No matter why you are interested in getting started with a Yoga practice, you will certainly gain self-control, understand the breathing techniques and the physical exercise you get while practicing Yoga.
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