A yoga mat is like a tool that is important for any yoga practitioner. A yoga mat defines a particular space that a person has in the yoga studio. This way, a person knows where he should keep his feet while practicing yoga. Yoga is a way of silencing your mind, and it thus needs a lot of focus and concentration; therefore, the slightest disturbance can affect your practice.
A yoga mat is seen as a safe zone; it is more like the resemblance of your personal space. Most yoga practitioners will use a yoga mat, and also keep it with them while traveling. That is why yoga mats are needed; moreover, it is essential to take care of your yoga mats for various reasons. It is firstly vital to take care of your yoga mat because of your body. In 2009, research that took place at Columbia University’s College of Physician and Surgeons showed that many yoga-related injuries included the lower back, the knees, etc.
These injuries were mostly seen among those practitioners who were practicing yoga directly on the floor without the use of a yoga mat. Without using a yoga mat, more pressure is put on the body while carrying out certain yoga poses, and there is a less firm grip as well as protection to the neck and shoulders. The journal of the American Medical Association stated that cross-legged positions could cause more pressure on the knees.
The American College of Sports Medicine states that people should use sticky mats as they decrease the chances of slipping as your feet will not slide on it, and so the mat does not slip on the floor as well. Moreover, they suggest practitioners use a mat that can quickly help them from switching between different poses. Instead of seeing yoga mats as an obstacle, you should see it as a tool that will help your practice.
Yoga mats also help you stay warm rather than being in direct contact with the cold floor. Thus a thicker mat will provide more warmth to the muscles. The warmer the muscles, the more flexible they get and thus making them less prone to different kinds of injuries. Moreover, they provide more stability and an easier way to adjust from different positions. The following are the specific features you must keep in mind while buying a yoga mat.
The thickness of the mat is quite vital, as that is what defines the comfort level. If the mat is too thin, the knee may get injured while making a lunge. An average yoga mat has a thickness of 1/8th inch, whereas the thickest mat would be 1/4th inch. In addition to these, there are thinner mats, which are about 1/6th inch, known as travel mats.
The material of the yoga mat is also essential as it shows how environmentally friendly it is, how long it will take to wear over time, its texture, and a lot more. Yoga mats are usually made of PVC; however nowadays, there are many kinds of mats made that are more eco-friendly and are made out of recycled and natural rubber, organic cotton, natural cotton, and jute.
In addition to these, the texture of the yoga mat shows the traction it provides. The composition of the mat also affects the chances of slipping and sliding. Moreover, it also affects the comfort level provided to the person.