Nizha Periaswamy

For those who have begun to take up yoga, getting the "right" yoga mat can be as important as engaging an instructor who make a practitioner comfortable and confident.

This is because these mats provide insulation between the human body and ground, preventing any loss of heat, charge or energy from the body to the ground. Yoga mats also protects the practitioner, preventing them from slipping down when doing asanas (poses), among others.

However, getting the right yoga mat can often be a challenge to many. Most end up getting a mat that is not of the right length, width, or even thickness or material of make.

Here are some quick tips to help you grab the mat that suits your personality and style:

1) The mat's thickness

Choosing a mat with the right amount of thickness is the most common problem of all. Most beginner youth students to get very thick mats (that measure between 8 and 10mm), which is more suitable for grounded asanas, breathing or meditation practises.

For asanas that involve standing, sitting, being on the knee, and lying down, it is best to get a mat which is around 6mm thick. The right padded mat will safeguard your knee when during the crescent lunge.

If you travel a lot and need to get a handy mat, go for a thinner and lightweight one.

2) The type of material used

Most beginners should get a mat that is anti-slip, and sweat resistant. Most yoga mats are made of PVC, but there are many other options made of rubber, fabric, and cotton, which are easily available on the market.

One consideration you should make before getting a mat is checking whether you are allergic to certain material.

3) Style, pattern and colour

Choose a colour that suits your personality or taste as the mat is going to stick with you for some time. I'm still using mine, which I bought six years ago! Besides plain ones, there are also plenty of mats with prints and patterns that you may just like.

4) The "stickiness" of the mat

Talking about sticking to you, a yoga mat should be "sticky" enough to keep you from sliding during practice, and help you maintain your alignment when assuming poses. In this sense, a mat made of PVC is the best bet. However, keeping the mat clean is crucial to keep it "sticky" for longer. To do this, wipe the mat with a clean wet cloth and dry it under the sun.

5) The price range

Last but not least, one thing those scouting for a yoga mat should look out for, is a reasonable priced product. Beginners can expect to spend between RM60 and RM200 for a PVC mat, which is around 4 to 6mm thick, and plain-coloured.

There are other types from more reputable brands that sport patterns, designs or logos, textures, be eco-friendly, or have antimicrobial properties, which can cause up to the thousands.

In this matter, it is advisable for individuals to stick to the options that are best suited for them - budget wise. Those with deeper pockets should not hesitate "investing" more on these long-lasting products.

So, if you are new to the yoga world, I hope this article will help you scout for the right mat.

Nizha Periaswamy is a freelance writer and yoga teacher.

Photo source: Pixabay