I’m a strong believer in not wasting money on expensive gear, equipment or classes unless there’s proven interest in the activity.
At the same time, I do believe that having the right equipment can motivate you and allow you to perform better to an extent. Therefore, I’m all about first making small purchases to support your goals and then rewarding yourself once you’ve reached a certain level of commitment. I believe first you need to put in the time and effort to show true interest before spending money on the more fun and expensive accessories.
That’s why when I first started working out a year ago, I wore regular t-shirts and shorts to group classes. I told myself that until I worked out regularly, I hadn’t earned the right to just buy a bunch of expensive workout clothes that I would end up not using. Now, a year later, I’ve rewarded my commitment by expanding my workout wardrobe (thanks to Fabletics).
Same goes for finding the right yoga mat.
My first couple of yoga classes, I just borrowed a mat from the studio (Ew, I know. To think of it now…) because I was still feeling it out. After two sessions, I went to Target and picked up a regular 3 mm printed Gaiam mat for about $20. This mat has served me well, and I was later gifted a great towel/mat to go with it, for the super sweaty sessions.
Still, a year later, I feel ready to take the next step and get a mat that is more suited to the type of yoga I do– mostly Bikram yoga, with the occasional hot power yoga session. Even with a towel mat, I find in some of the strength and endurance positions where we hold warrior and triangle poses for longer, my feet tend to slip, throwing off my focus, balance, and ultimately my alignment, which negates the benefits of practice.
After some research, I see that there are many factors to consider when trying to choose the right mat.
For instance, a team of expert researchers at Reviews.com suggests, on your end, consider the style of yoga you practice, heat level, location of your practice and whether you travel with your mat a lot.
Then, when considering mats, think about the material of the mat, its size and structure, durability, price, and portability. The Reviews.com team spoke to yoga teachers, examined many mat reviews and tested the mats themselves to come up with their analysis, and depending on your needs there’s an ideal mat out there for you.
According to them, the Manduka PROlite is a pretty versatile mat all-around, but ultimately, it comes down to finding a mat that fits your personal practice.
For me, the biggest consideration is traction, comfort, and price. Looking at their reviews, Lululemon’s “The Mat” might be the right fit for me, given its firm grip and moisture absorbency. Plus, it’s got antimicrobial properties, which is perfect since I’m a bit paranoid about the sweating and stuffy air in the Bikram studio. But it seems that one drawback to this mat is that the 3mm version of this mat could feel like you’re resting directly on the floor. In my case, that’s ok because I actually prefer thinner mats as long as they have a solid grip because the ones that are too foamy with too much cushion tend to throw me off in balancing poses. Plus, all this time I’ve been using a 3mm mat, and I prefer a steady, firm stance that’s closer against the floor.
At the end of the day, getting fit with yoga sometimes means finding a yoga mat that fits. And just as yoga teaches us, it’s about finding what feels right to you.
CHECK IT OUT:
To see the complete research done by Reviews.com on yoga mats, go to http://www.reviews.com/best-yoga-mat/
HAVE YOU FOUND YOUR IDEAL FIT?
I want to know your mat suggestions for hot yoga or power yoga and what you look for in an ideal mat! Leave me a comment or message me!