Outdoor Gear Lab recently interviewed me about finding the best yoga mat and from personal experience discussed, which mat suits which yogi, how to clean a mat, if it is possible to bring your mat on your travels, … etc. etc.
1. Choose Quality:
From personal experience I can say that it is better to spend a little more on a yoga mat and keep it for years than to go for the cheapest option. Even if you don't practice for hours on end, it is nice to be able to enjoy the yoga class when you take it. Most high-end yoga mats have a good, non-slip surface, are made of natural material and very durable.
My pick: Manduka ProLite Mat: "the PROlite is a lighter, zero-waste, non slip yoga mat for in the studio & on the go" and comes in cool, bright colours. Check the Manduka website for more details: www.manduka.com
2. Try different manufacturers:
Usually, your studio will provide rental mats and this is by far the cheapest and best chance for you to try out different mats, different materials to see what works and feels best for you!
3. Talk to your instructor:
We spend a lot of time on our mats and are happy to share our own personal experience. Talk to your favourite teacher and see what he/she recommends.
4. Yoga & Travel:
Being involved in a yoga retreat business means traveling to exotic locations, practicing on beaches, mountain pastures, or running from studio to studio with my mat stuffed in my bag. Travel mats are perfect for the yogi on the go. They are light, durable and most of them will fit in your regular, medium size hand-bag.
My favourite: Manduka eKO SuperLite: The eKO SuperLite Mat is a superior yoga travel mat that provides superior grip, weighs about 2 lbs. and can be folded to fit easily in small travel spaces! These eco yoga mats are made of biodegradable rubber that won't fade or flake. Wherever your practice takes you, the eKO SuperLite is the best yoga mat for yogis on the go!
PLEASE NOTE that travel mats are very thin and don't provide ample cushioning. It is best to rent a mat at your studio and then put your travel mat on top. Your knees will thank you for it :)
5. Mat Maintenance:
Check how to clean your mat on the website of your mat manufacturer! Depending on the material of your mat, you can purchase specific yoga mat cleaning products there.
My cleaning ritual: I clean my mat with Dr. Bronner's Peppermit Soap and water in my shower. Make sure to rinse the mat thoroughly to get rid of all the soap!
If you would like to try making your own, all natural mat cleaner, here is a wonderful recipe found on ElephantJournal: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/10/all-natural-yoga-mat-cleaning-recipe/
1 cup distilled water
1/4 cup of vinegar or Witch-hazel (without alcohol), optional
8-15 drops tea tree oil
6-10 drops eucalyptus oil (or lavender)
Read the full Outdoor Gear Lab article HERE