Thursday, April 15, 2010

Choosing the Best Yoga Mat for You: Materials, Texture and Eco Friendly Yoga

For a variety of reasons, the materials used to manufacture your yoga mat can make a big difference in your practice. You want maximum comfort, cushion, and stability. You’ll need the right non-slip or absorbent surface depending on your style of yoga. And if you’re looking for an eco-friendly yoga mat, you’ll have plenty of options.

A Material Issue. Not long ago, most yoga mats were made of PVC, or vinyl. Conventional vinyl mats do have advantages. They provide ideal traction, have just enough of “give,” and are easy to clean. Vinyl sticky mats offer a slight texture, which also helps to prevent slipping, and a softer feel than others.

Eco-Friendly Alternatives. What if you practice yoga and are concerned about the impact on the environment? While PVC mats aren’t biodegradable and may end up clogging landfills, you do have options, all of which have pros and cons. Jute yoga mats, for example, have become very popular among the eco-friendly set and are made of natural plant fibers. They tend to be a bit pricier, though, and have a harder, more organic texture than traditional mats. Natural rubber yoga mats provide excellent grip, cushion and durability. But if you’re allergic to latex, stay away.

The Feel of Cotton. Depending on the specific style of yoga you practice, a cotton yoga mat might be perfect for you. Cotton mats are extremely comfortable and absorbent. And the mat of choice for that hot yoga class or simple meditation. They won’t replace a vinyl or eco-friendly sticky mat, though, as cotton mats tend to slide around on hard floors.

When deciding on the right material in your yoga mat, consider both the practical implications and your personal preference.