Some Basics About The Yoga Mat
You have decided you want to try Taylor Made Wellness’s free community yoga classes, or really, any yoga class nearby.
Two questions you might be thinking...
- Do I really need a yoga mat to try yoga?
- What is the deal with these yoga mats anyways?
Well the first question is pretty straight forward. No, you do not need a yoga mat to take part in yoga classes. Not having a yoga mat will in no way impact your ability to fully participate in a yoga class. Though yoga mats do have a purpose and benefit to the yogi participant.
So that brings us to question number 2, and really the main purpose of this article! What is the deal with these yoga mats?
It might surprise you that commercial made yoga mats are not that old. Around the early 1990s mats for the sole purpose of practicing yoga started to be commercially manufactured. Though, the practice of having some form of material under your feet can be traced back to yoga’s ancient roots.
The biggest benefit of using a yoga mat?
Yoga mats are designed to prevent your hands and feet from slipping while forming your body into various yoga poses.
The most important aspect when evaluating yoga mats, or anything under your body when practicing yoga, is the surface should not be slippery at all. Nothing could be worst then doing your downward dog and falling flat on your face. That would definitely be the opposite of relaxing!
It’s important to note, smooth does not equal slippery.
Many non-slip yoga mats tend to use various texture patterns that create a slight rough feeling as a non-slip method.
Though you might prefer a smooth feel underneath your feet and hands. And they do make smooth mats where the material still provides a grip.
Yoga Mat Materials:
Speaking of materials. Yoga mats are made out of a variety of materials. It really comes down to personal choice.
PVC mats were once a popularly used material but it is extremely hard to recycle. So not the best for the environment.
More common today is natural rubber. This yoga mat is more eco-friendly. Most first time yogis go this route because it is easy to find and clean. These Yoga Mats are also very easy to wipe down after each class.
If you are into ultimate comfort, a padded yoga mat might be your choice. Numerous choices in this area, but at its root, padded yoga mats include some type of form inside the yoga mat. They can also be a little higher maintenance to take care of so that the yoga mat lasts you a long time.
One last common material we will mention is a simple cotton yoga mat. You will not find a lot of padding to these yoga mats, but it is very much a natural material that can provide a decent grip. One big downside is a cotton yoga mat should be tossed in the washer after every yoga session. Cotton absorbs your sweat and it can not simply be wiped down after each class.
Some final points the yoga beginner should know about yoga mats are size, thickness, and color.
Yoga Mat Size:
It is standard for most yoga mats to be about 6 feet long and 2 feet wide. This size fits pretty much all yogis, and of course, if needed you can find different size yoga mats.
Yoga Mat Thickness:
The yogi will see more range when it comes to thickness of yoga mats. Personal preference tends to dominate the decision here. As a guide, lightweight yoga mats will be about 1/16 inch. Middle range yoga mats will be around 1/8 inch. The high range yoga mat thickness tends to be considered around 1/4 inch. Thick yoga mats will give you a little bounce that some yogis find comfortable.
Yoga Mat Colors:
Yoga mat color is all about fun. This is where you can show off your great yogi personality! Today the yogi has more options around color and image of the yoga mat than at any other point in time!
So that is the deal about yoga mats. You now know the basics and it is time for you to get into a nearby yoga class!
If you are in the Indianapolis area, we encourage you to visit Taylor Made Wellness downtown! Our address is 1000 E. Market St. We offer free instructor led yoga classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
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