As a beginner, it’s always quite hard to find the perfect mat that suits you. The yoga hype is still growing and people are still finding their way to start their yogi life. For which I’m happy of course, but that also makes that more and more products are becoming available.
A lot of companies are jumping in and starting to produce beginner yoga mats. But what do you have to look for in a beginner’s yoga mat?
There are a couple of simple tips that you need to think about before buying your own yoga mat. You want something that will last you for a while, rather than have something that will serve you for a couple of yoga classes.
Are you ready? Here we go!
#1 Don’t be cheap
Basically, if someone is promoting beginner yoga mats, they’re gonna be cheap. With being cheap also comes the price that it’s not gonna be very sustainable and isn’t gonna give you the best experience during your first class.
So, if you see a mat somewhere for $5.00, basically, don’t buy it. Nothing is as bad as starting to slip when you’re in a downward-facing dog. Cheap mats can also stretch, which also doesn’t give a good feeling, believe me.
When I was doing my teacher’s course in India I saw it happen a lot with people, they bought a cheap mat for a couple of bucks as they didn’t want to take theirs on the trip, but after a month of intensive training, they had to change their mat a couple of times as it was worn out after a couple of uses.
So this also means that if you travel a lot, it might be good to invest in a good travel mat. I’ve bought myself a mat from Manduka once. It’s great and light, and even after 4 years, it’s still alive!
So, even though it was about 40 US dollars, was it the right investment? It sure was! Because even now, when it’s seeing the wrinkles of time, it’s still doing it. I can still take it places.
If you plan to travel a lot, like a couple of times a year, and you plan to continue your yogi lifestyle, it might be a great purchase. Just think about how much you might spend if you buy a yoga mat every time you go abroad.
#2 You Don’t have to be a big spender
I’m all in for a good and expensive mat.
However, as a beginner, you might want to look out for something that also isn’t that expensive. It’s gonna be the first class and you don’t know if you’re gonna like it or not.
If you don’t like it and you bought a $50 mat, then you basically wasted a bit of money and it’s not gonna feel so good for yourself. So for your beginner’s yoga mat, for your first class, it would be good if you would choose something between $10 – $25.
Most yoga brands are quite expensive, so look at the cheaper ones. I really love mats from Manduka and Lululemon, but they are crazy expensive. You might gift this yourself after a couple of years of yoga, when you know that you will continue your yoga practice.
The brand that’s really amazing for beginning yogis is Gaiam. They have different shapes and sizes and they are great for your beginning yoga journey! Prices differ from 20 dollars to 40 dollars.
Great to start and after you get hooked, you’ll be able to go to the bigger brands.
#3 Borrowing someone’s mat
You might say that it might be a good idea to borrow someone’s mat, but to be really honest, if the person is really taking his practice seriously, they’re not gonna lend you their mat.
And in a way I understand, I’m going to speak about the practical side of the whole thing, I like to keep my feet on the ground and talking about energy and muble-jumble isn’t my style.
Practically, normally, people have only one mat, they’re getting attached to the mat and if you are having a serious yoga practice then you want to do yoga whenever you want, wherever you want. Therefore, it’s not gonna be easy to borrow someone’s mat, and especially if that person is joining you for your first yoga class of course ;).
Also, hygienically, do you want to borrow someone’s mat? I’m just speaking for myself now, but it’s not the easiest object to put in the washing machine, and going over it with just a cloth is not really killing all the germs that are coming onto the mat.
And yes, there will be some germs as you are nearly always barefoot on your mat, you can sweat, gasses will be released, you can put the mat on a space that isn’t cleaned that well, etc. So, maybe it isn’t the best idea to borrow someone’s mat to begin with. I know that I don’t lend out mine so easily.
#4 What Material should I go for?
This one is a hard one for me to talk about. I haven’t really looked a lot into materials that producers use. I do know that as the moment there is a big hype for organic mats, which is really amazing. But at the same time it’s also a bit more expensive.
So if that’s what you want for your first beginner’s mat, go for it. The environment will be grateful to you! And sometimes I even wish I would’ve bought an ecological mat, but the one I have now is perfect for my size, my weight and my bad knees.
In that way I just hope I’ll do with that mat for the rest of my life so that it wasn’t a waste as least. If you’re not very into the ecological hype, then make sure you’ll buy a mat with a good grip. The one I would recommend for that is PVC.
Most non-ecological yoga mats are made of this material and it’s just the best if you need some grip. Also, when you’re a person that sweats a lot during physical activity it’s good to use this material.
#5 Size does matter
Another thing to keep in mind is the size.
Most yoga mats have the same length and width, but are different in thickness. Therefore, make sure you look closely at the dimensions before you buy a mat.
The thinner the mat, the better your feeling will be with the surface you’re doing yoga on.
The thicker the mat, the better it is for your joints and bones.
This doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. It means that one is more fit for a certain type of body than the other.
Thinner mats are great for people who are doing Vinyasa yoga as you’ll be doing more balancing poses. While thicker mats are greater for those who are injured. But this mat will be harder to keep your balance.
It’s up to you what your preference has. If you can go to a yoga studio where they have yoga mats, try them out yourself before buying one. It will really give you an idea of what is suitable for you.
It’s not always easy to find your first beginner mat. And what I didn’t talk about before is: if the studio you’re going to offers mats to use for their students, then start there!
It saves you a lot of hassle, studios mostly use amazing mats already because they want to offer their students the best experience they can get. If they don’t, then look around a bit, also see if there is one particular mat that pops out, one that you really like.
And, read reviews, there’s a whole community out their that can help you with your choice, so reach out to them.
That’s it for now, if you have questions, don’t feel ashamed to ask them and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Nama-stay wonderful everyone!