What yoga mat is right for me? Given the broad range of yoga mats available, this is a typical question we get asked at Stretch Now. Mats are made of different materials, have different thicknesses and structures and their use is specific to what form of yoga you practice and what degree of comfort you want from a mat. They all have pros and cons and before you purchase a mat it’s good to do your homework so you get the mat most suitable for you.
First up, you get what you pay for. If you go for a cheapie at one of the big box stores you can never be sure of what materials they are made from or what chemicals have been used to manufacture them. These kinds of mats are also typically less durable and don’t have the grip you will find in a quality yoga mat. There’s nothing worse than doing down face dog while a strong odour is wafting up your nostrils as you watch your hands slide away from you.
All the mats we have at Stretch Now have good grip, are non-toxic and also bio-degradable—that is they are designed to decompose quickly.
4mm vs 6mm vs 8mm
Okay, what is the best thickness for a mat? 4mm is by far the most popular. It gives an adequate amount of comfort and enables the most stability out of the three. This could be important if you do a lot of standing or balance poses. If you want more comfort or you practice yoga on uneven or hard surfaces then you may prefer a thicker mat like a 6 or 8mm. The trade-off with a thicker mat is they don’t offer as much stability—but those of you who like more of a challenge, this can actually be a good thing.
Open Cell vs Closed Cell mats
What is the difference between an “open cell” mat and a “closed cell” mat? Yes—technology has also made its presence felt in the world of yoga.
Open-cell yoga mats are porous and therefore absorb more moisture. These kinds of mats like our Earth Flow are a great option for yoga practiced in hot/humid climates or heated studios that make you perspire more when practicing yoga–they also maintain better grip in these situations than closed cell mats. However they do take a bit more effort to clean because of their absorption properties.
Closed-cell mats such as the Earth Fusion and Eco mats mats are denser than open-cell mats and their impermeable surface makes them easier to clean. They are considered to be more hygienic because they don’t absorb perspiration like open cell mats. However, the surface of a closed-cell mat is not quite as grippy when there is surface moisture on the mat as a result of perspiration from hot yoga, summer practice, or any routine that's very aerobic. Closed-cell mats however do have great traction when their surface is dry and are a good choice for those with a more relaxed style and who don't perspire much during practice.
Some practitioners who practice a heavy perspiration inducing style of yoga and who like to use a closed-cell mat for better durability, place a “yoga towel” on top of their mats to absorb moisture and provide more traction. Yoga towels, with silicone or rubber grips on the back, are especially well-suited to this purpose.
Whatever your style of yoga is we have the perfect yoga mat for you. You can get more information about all of our mats on our website. If you have any questions please give us a call at Stretch Now and one of our friendly staff will be able to help you.